client to endlessly explore their problems adds
weight to the reality of the problems. In this
light, it is more produc-tive to focus the
therapeutic conversation on the future, and
those ac-tions that would lead in a positive
direction. A further example is rep-resented in
the work of Jakko Seikkula and his colleagues on
open dia-logue. If psychiatric diagnoses are only
one of many ways of under-standing people?s
anguish, and these diagnoses are now favoring
psy-chopharmacological ?cures,? and filling beds
in psychiatric wards, then why not develop an
alternative to diagnostics. And as we find, if we
open discussion on a problem case to a number
of stakeholders, exploring together ?what?s
wrong,? and ?where do we go from here,? fewer
prescriptions are written and fewer hospital
beds occupied.
Finally, a constructionist orientation offers to
therapists a gen-erative orientation to practice.
Constructionism places a major em-phasis on
how people together create understandings of
their world. This is in contrast to the more
traditional therapeutic concern with in-dividual
psychological functioning. As my friend John
Shotter was fond of saying, ?let?s not ask what?s
inside the head, but what social world is the
head inside of.? Of course, you can quickly see
a major reason for the constructionist dialogues
with family therapists. In my view, the
emergence of family therapy was of enormous
historical importance, precisely because of its
unique focus on relationships among people. As
I have experienced it, the constructionist
emphasis on language provided a fruitful
alternative to structuralist, cybernetic, and
biological metaphors of relational process.
Many of my own dia-logues with family
therapists, have been focused on family therapy
as a process of meaning making.
Wh at is you r view on t h e developm en t of
f am ily t h er apy an d w h er e it is h eadin g?
This is a difficult question, in part because I
don?t find that family therapy is a unified field,
either within any country, or across nations.
This is not at all a criticism, as the greater the
unity in a field of study or practice, the more
limited its capabilities. In the contemporary
Metaforum - September 2019


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