The Evolution of Family and Couple Therapy

Authored by: Jay Lebow , Thomas L. Sexton

Handbook of family therapy

Print publication date:  December  2015
Online publication date:  December  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415518017
eBook ISBN: 9780203123584
Adobe ISBN:


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It all started with a simple observation. By expanding one’s “lens” from the individual to the entire family, new treatment opportunities and new ways of understanding the seemingly mysterious mechanisms of relationships emerged. By moving the focus of attention from the individual to a relational focus came a new clarity in defining and understanding the “space between” the people in families. In doing so, therapy became a process in which behaviors and interactions were described in terms of a recursive process of mutual influence. For most early family therapists, this also meant “an emphasis on what is happening in the here and now rather than why it is happening or in terms of a historical focus.” Thus, the patterns within relationships became the primary target and goal of most early family therapies.

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