14164 Chapters
Medium 9781855757783

CHAPTER ONE: Culture and the reflexive subject in systemic psychotherapy

Karnac Books ePub

Any history or genealogy must remain incomplete, because it depends on the starting point of the author and how much context he or she includes. History and genealogy are themselves contingent, and I do not pretend to be able to offer a comprehensive account of the life of reflexivity in systemic psychotherapy. I do offer punctuations, which I hope will give food for thought. Much hinges on what we consider a system to be. Do we consider a system to be like a mechanical or a physical body, or a language structure with attributes, which wholly or partially exists outside the consciousness of the persons who engage in it? Or do we consider a system to be a series of transactions with attributes which are wholly accessible and transparent to those who consciously are engaged or choose to be engaged in it? Or a bit of both? And what are the implications for reflexivity of these two positions?1

An incomplete history of reflexivity in systemic psychotherapy

A historical account of reflexivity in relation to cultural differences in systemic psychotherapy must begin with Bateson and particularly with his two postscripts (1936 and 1958) to his ethnographic study Naven (Bateson, 1958; Krause, 2007). This starting point also allows us to draw parallels between systemic psychotherapy and anthropology. I think that we want to do so not only because Bateson was an anthropologist, but also because there are similarities in what systemic psychotherapists and ethnographers do. For me this also articulates two feelings of bewilderment. The first relates to my discovery (as an anthropologist) that Bateson’s ethnographic work among the Iatmul people, despite yielding extraordinary insights (Bateson, 1972a; Berger, 1978; Nuckolls, 1996; Strathern, 1988; Wilder-Mott & Weakland, 1981), held no interest for trainers and teachers of systemic psychotherapy during my own training twenty years ago. The second relates to the more recent disappearance of the concept or the idea of a “system” from much teaching and writing in systemic psychotherapy. This is a subversion, because one way or another, and whichever particular school of systemic psychotherapy one follows, the notion of “system” is still a central assumption, theory, or concept in the discipline. It is what distinguishes us from other psychotherapies.

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Medium 9781855755598

CHAPTER TEN: In the thick of culture: systemic and psychoanalytic ideas

Flaskas, Carmel; Pocock, David Karnac Books ePub

Inga-Britt Krause

In the introduction to a book about cross-cultural psychother-I apy, I made the comment that any cross-culturally practising psychotherapist, in some way, must feel compelled to adopt a systemic perspective (Krause, 1998). This was a statement that traced and documented my own personal journey from social anthropology to family therapy, but I also wanted to call to mind the historical connection between the two disciplines via Bateson (Krause, 2006), “culture” as a systemic idea (Krause, 2002), and the contribution of social constructionism to contemporary systemic psychotherapy.

In the same book I worked my way through different areas in which cultural patterns, symbols, and meanings impinge, constrain, and are implicated in the behaviour and experience of persons. These included kinship, emotions, ritual, taboos, and secrets. My argument was that much cultural material is outside the realm of individual awareness in the form of different types of knowledge and structures, some of which seem unquestionable and natural to individuals. (I used Bourdieu's terms doxic and habitus to refer to knowledge, which is imprinted on the body and the mind as the result of the operation of structures that are unconsciouslyregulated and that incorporate culturally structured patterns, routines, improvisations, and meanings. I quoted Bourdieu as saying, “It is because subjects do not strictly speaking know what they are doing that what they do has more meaning than they know” [Bourdieu, 1977, p. 79].) I referred to material that is “implicit”, “outside awareness”, and to those aspects that are not articulated verbally, but I did not use the term “unconscious”. This was partly because of the technical meaning of this term in psychoanalysis, but also because I felt a need to be cautious. The evidence of cultural diversity in areas outside consciousness is abundant, but questions about how this works, how we may understand it, and what kind of model or theory we may choose to use are complex. Ultimately, we all have to answer the same ethical questions about our own relationship to that with which we are engaged and to the models for which we make claims.

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Medium 9781855757783

CHAPTER SIX:Cultural and family ethos in systemic therapy

Karnac Books ePub

Paolo Bertrando

“The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity. (One is unable to notice something—because it is always before one’s eyes.) The real foundations of his enquiry do not strike a man at all. Unless that fact has at some time struck him.—And this means: we fail to be struck by what, once seen, is most striking and most powerful”

(Wittgenstein, 1953, p. 29)

In this chapter, I will outline the evolution of my own practice in the light of my experience with other cultures, both in supervision of cases around the world, and in my everyday work— however limited—with minority or ethnic groups. Such experiences have made me slightly suspicious of my own attitude toward “simple” or “taken-for-granted” cases—cases where I think I know everything about clients because I have the (erroneous) feeling they are “just like me”. In order to deal with this phenomenon, we have to reflect on the nature of families, on the one hand, and of culture, on the other.

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Medium 9781936763191

CHAPTER 9: Developing Individual and Systemic Belief in Next-Level Performance

Casey Reason Solution Tree Press ePub


Developing Individual and Systemic Belief in Next-Level Performance

When it comes to making even modest changes, many schools struggle with the inability to get unstuck. So, how do you get your school to perform at that next level? This chapter is specifically devoted to steps you can take as the principal to push the envelope of innovation and create a culture where reaching those new levels becomes a hallmark of your school.

When using the Leading for Excellence and Fulfillment model, it isn’t hard to imagine why the capacity to break through these sticking points and the ability to increase levels of performance are important skills to develop. Chances are, if your school’s results are good, you can likely imagine that with some effort those results could become outstanding. Taking it to that next level of performance would not only demonstrate the excellence available in your school but would also bring a great deal of professional fulfillment to everyone involved. Even negative and dysfunctional schools have, at their core, a deep desire to perform at a much higher level. It may have been awhile since that sensibility was stirred, but it no doubt exists. Being unable to move the bar or consistently working at an unproductive level discourages everyone. Fortunately, thanks to what we’ve learned about psychology, learning, and human performance, there are things leaders can do to create this climate of breakthrough performance and help ensure that it becomes a cultural expectation.

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Medium 9781855752900

4: Ethnic sameness and difference in family and systemic therapy

Karnac Books ePub

Lennox K. Thomas

The question of same-culture or cross-culture practice in psychotherapy is interesting and has not seriously perplexed British-based therapists, yet it is a timely issue and needs to be debated. It is more likely that American colleagues are better acquainted with the issues because of their social and communal structures, which differ considerably from those in the United Kingdom. The question is not as simple as it first appears; the issues are, among other things, about the degree to which white therapists have an understanding of the internal and systemic effect of racism on black and ethnic-minority peoples, about the power of the majority to define the minority, as well as about the current and prevailing politics that determine the social proximity of black people to white people. If there are barriers between black and white people in our society, then the situation in therapy would reflect this. One of the problems with so-called inter-group relations is the fact that black and white are not perceived as equally different. There is a power hierarchy. The same issues about therapy and power hierarchies could be debated in relation to gender, sexuality, or disability. “Each to their own” therapy is not necessarily better, yet this therapy is the status quo in the United Kingdom. It is the case that overwhelmingly large numbers of white therapists work with white families and individuals. This, coupled with a lack of curiosity, has led to an impoverishment of the profession of psychotherapy. The unquestioning closed loop had been the norm in therapy for a very long time until the pioneering work of family therapist Annie Lau (1984). This paper was ground-breaking work in British family therapy. While issues of culture have, for a long time, been a feature in the clinical papers by African-American writers, references to cultural issues in the British context were to do with culture and social-class structures. The work of Lau (1984), Kareem and Littlewood (1992), and Boyd-Franklin (1989) were welcome voices that annotated practice and the theories on which this depend. The interests of black and white therapists have led to some invigorating questions that are, from time to time, aired at professional conferences designed to address issues around culture and ethnicity. For sustained change to take place, these questions need to be asked in the workplace and, more importantly, at conferences that are not designed with culture or race in mind. In order for the profession to progress, we have to adopt a position that affords greater success to black, mixed, and ethnic-minority families, who are not offered therapeutic help as often as majority white families. Similarly, this group has made few demands on family and systemic therapy, but this might not remain the case for too long.

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