world, this very lack of standardization may be
one of family thera-py?s greatest assets. If
therapy is fundamentally a process of
co-creating meaning, then the more routes to
significant dialogue the bet-ter. Consider here,
for example, the vast numbers of immigrants
mov-ing across the world, along with the rapid
changes in our forms of life resulting from
technology. Values, beliefs, traditions, and
ideologies are in a continuous state of
transition. We need continuous develop-ment
in ways of speaking meaningfully and
consequentially together. The evidence-based
institutionalization of certain forms of therapy,
to the exclusion of alternatives, will be the
ultimate demise of therapeutic efficacy.
However, in thinking further about the future,
let me return to what I said earlier about the
most significant feature of the family therapy
movement: its emphasis on relationship.
Much of my work in recent years has been
attempting to work out an account of
relational process and its applications. Much
of this work is contained in my book,
Relational Being: Beyond Self and Community.
So, I have been especially interested in how
and where various groups in the family
therapy field have extended thinking and
practice in a relational direc-tion. And, while
there are any bright spots, I also feel the
potentials are under-estimated. If one
becomes sophisticated - both conceptually
and practically - in working with relational
process, working with families is but a limited
application. Obviously the focus on families is
limited, but so is doing therapy. Relational
process is crucial in me-diation, and conflict
reduction, and restorative justice. It is also
central to peace building, community building,
organizational development, political policy
making, and more. We might then envision a
field of study in relational process, with
degrees that might offer specializa-tion (as in
the field of medicine) but in which there is
major transfer of knowledge and skills across
specialities. Family therapy might con-stitute
one such specialization, but one?s professional
life might ex-tend over multiple sites of
application. There is movement in this
My hope is to see major acceleration. The
world is much in need.
Kenneth Gergen og Erna Henriette Tyskø
Metaforum - September 2019


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