In this issue


Systemic resources
Interview with Peter Stratton, Professor of Family Therapy

The reflecting team
Four-stage questioning in family therapy supervision

Backwards and forwards
Refugee families need a dual focus in therapy

First person
How therapy helped one family to communicate better

Reconnecting families
Use of genograms and networking to improve outcomes

Physical representations provide information about the system

Seeing and listening
Are all of us metaphorically veiled in some way?

Hot and bothered
Challenges for menopausal therapists

Integration revisited
Ivan Ellingham on the idea of an organismic metatheory

Touch me never?
Is avoidance of touch the best way to work?

Racial identity and training
Students need to explore black-white dynamics

Cover of Therapy Today, November 2006


Some of therapy’s harshest critics (Fay Weldon for one!) have cautioned against the dangers of nurturing personal transformation without reference to a person’s close relationships and social networks. At our recent BACP training conference – ‘It’s the relationship that matters’ – Ernesto Spinelli called for therapists to start taking account of the impact of therapy on the client’s existing relationships. Only by moving away from focusing on an individual’s needs in a vacuum and considering how therapy affects the client’s external world, he suggested, would counselling and psychotherapy survive in the future.

Coincidentally we had been in the process of preparing a series of articles looking at family therapy which is of course all about working with complex relationships and multiple perspectives. ‘Where therapy fails to take account of anything but the client’s internal world,’ says Peter Stratton, ‘the process will be little more than fishing a drowning man out of a river, teaching him to ride a bicycle and then throwing him back in again.’ Peter Stratton thinks that practitioners who work with individuals have a lot to gain from learning about systemic thinking, such as how to mobilise the resources of the client’s family to support their change which can be much more powerful than the therapeutic relationship alone. And of course the interpretation of ‘family’ by today’s family therapists is much broader than the nuclear family that Blair and Cameron see as the answer to all our social ills.

Sarah Browne