Wednesday, April 26, 2006
FAMILY THERAPY: AN INTIMATE HISTORY
By Lynn Hoffman
- A Book Review By John Walter
....The final chapters include her reflections on the new developments of Michael White and David Epston as well as the implications of John Shotter's "knowing of a third kind". This knowing Hoffman describes as a knowing from within a situation, group or social institution. Different from knowing that or knowing how, this knowing comes from sensed feelings and emotions. This latter knowing seems to fit Hoffman's preference for metaphor and poetics rather than strictly linear language. This advancement also allows her to conceptualize emotion as performance and interaction rather than as a state of an individual or one-way expression of something from within. Hoffman also cites her enthusiasm for the current concepts of "generous listening" from Lois Shawver, embracement in place of positive connotation, relational responsibility from Gergen and McNamee, and communal practice.
As I said before, what makes this book an experience rather than an historical account is Lynn Hoffman's making this a personal narrative. The stories of her experiences working with different leaders of the field, as well as the stories of the differences new ideas brought to her cases makes the last forty years come alive. The changes in the field over the past forty years become not just an intellectual development but a personal change....
Book Review by John Soderlund
...Newman's work is a marriage of theatre and psychology, in both of which he has been immersed for many years. "At some point, it got through to me that there was a profound connection between the theatre and the therapy I was doing," he says. "what is happening when speaking or writing, is that we are not simply saying what is going on but are creating what is going on."
Drawing heavily on the work of Vygotsky, he notes that if children simply learned who they were on the basis of being who they were, they would never go anywhere, and would stay fixed in the state in which they first appeared. With that analogy in mind, Newman proposes performing exactly who we aren't, getting away from what we think we are to become much more of who we are.
"The process of looking for our deepest self is nondevelopmental process and a painfully frustrating one," he remarks, adding that this may be because "there ain't nothing there". What is there for Newman is the potential for an active involvement in the world as player on a stage, which is demonstrated most powerfully in his own engagement of the political and social world in which he moves...