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Culture and System in Family Therapy (Systemic Thinking and by Inga-Britt Krause

By Inga-Britt Krause

Beginning with the MacPherson record and its pronouncements on racism in Britain and particularly 'institutionalised racism', Dr Krause makes a speciality of the perform of relations remedy and attracts on her services as either anthropologist and systemic family members psychotherapist to formulate a cogent serious review of the sphere.

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Sample text

Guesswork and assumptions In view of our own partial knowledge of ourselves and the partial knowledge that our clients have about themselves, what of Bateson's guesswork in the passage quoted above? H o w can we, with more than random success, grasp the old meanings—that is to say, the patterns—from which the events or experiences that our clients bring derive meaning? A n d how can we do this w h e n there are obvious cultural, linguistic, and social differences between us and our clients? To repeat, we cannot always ask our clients, be­ cause they may not necessarily know.

H o w are meanings discarded? Benjamin agrees with Bateson: contrary to the story, w h i c h may be told again and again and still live on to captivate the listener, information does not "survive the moment in w h i c h it w a s new" (Benjamin, 1936, p. 89). This is because it "lays claims to prompt verifiability" and because we require it to "appear understandable in itself" (p. 88). Information does not allow suspense of under­ standing; it calls for an explanation and the choosing of a meaning.

It is perhaps this latter version that is most often identified with the label narrative/constructionist in systemic psy­ chotherapy, and with it has also followed the notion that other aspects of the traditional systemic approaches—such as the thera­ pist as expert and of the therapist as being outside the system and in some way "objective"—should be rejected (Andersen, 1991, 1992; Anderson & Goolishian, 1988, 1992). Everyone can agree that what happens in therapy depends quite a lot on what the therapist does and what she does not do.

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