Online-Journal für systemische Entwicklungen

Family Process 1968

Heft 1

Anshin, Roman N., Edgar H. Auerswald, Robert Bales, Gregory Bateson, John E. Bell, Norman W. Bellet al. (1968): Editorial. In: Family Process, 7 (1), S. 1–6. 

Abstract: There are an increasing number of moves toward forming a national organization of the people involved in family therapy and research. Those of us who have signed this statement believe that such an organization will inevitably come, but we recommend that it be delayed while the people in the field consider both the merits and possible consequences of a formal organization of the field at this time.

Fox, Ronald E. (1968): The Effect of Psychotherapy on the Spouse. In: Family Process, 7 (1), S. 7–16. 

Abstract: Since the days of Freud the relatives of patients have proved a nuisance. They want to convey to the therapist important information about the patient, they wonder how the treatment is progressing, they are uncertain about the changes noticed, they seek to counteract the therapist’s influence, they encourage the patient’s resistance and termination, and occasionally they become ill themselves. Because the locus of the patient’s difficulty was seen in terms of his own inner conflicts, the therapist’s position was clear although difficult: to aid the patient in the revelation and resolution of emotional conflictsan endeavor which required a non-threatening, neutral atmosphere secure from the concerns of the everyday world. Any intrusions into this sanctuary were not tolerated and family members who maintained anything less than a discrete distance from the entire process were regarded with suspicion as potential treatment saboteurs. Therapists were more or less successful in keeping the family members at arm’s length, but they could not influence their reactions. Frequently family members would develop symptoms themselves and, thus, command indirectly what they were unable to obtain directly: aid for the difficulties highlighted or caused by the identified patient’s therapy. It was this problem as much as any other which compelled therapists to accept some contacts with the spouses of patients.

Ferreira, Antonio J. & William D. Winter (1968): Decision-Making in Normal and Abnormal Two-Child Families. In: Family Process, 7 (1), S. 17–36. 

Abstract: The investigation of the process of decision-making in families (2, 7) has disclosed a number of variables of considerable interest to the understanding of family interaction and the nature of psycho-pathology. Of particular note have been the variables called Spontaneous Agreement, Decision-Time, and Choice-Fulfillment, on the basis of which important differences were found between groups of “normal” and “abnormal” families. Since measurements along these variables were shown to have an unusually high degree of stability (8) it seemed worthwhile to pursue this line of investigation and to attempt to generalize the findings to larger family groups. Two questions arose: so far, research had been confined to family triads, i.e., father, mother, and childwould the findings hold for family tetrads, i.e., father, mother, and two children? Previous investigations had defined “abnormal” families as those where the child in the tested triad had been identified as a patientnow, would the findings hold for a much looser definition of family abnormality, for families where simply emotional problems were acknowledged, whether attributed to any individual member (identified as “patient”) or to the family group (e.g., marital problems)?

Coughlin, Flora & Herbert C. Wimberger (1968): Group Family Therapy. In: Family Process, 7 (1), S. 37–50. 

Abstract: Professionals working with the emotionally disturbed quickly realize the vast discrepancy between the number of children and families needing help and the amount of therapeutic personnel and time available. In response to the rise in clinic population and the needs of a new type of clinic patient, innovations in treatment approach are necessary. Growing knowledge of communication theory, family interaction and group therapy seem to offer the greatest possibilities for responding to family discomfort and conserving therapeutic time. Rather than the predominantly middle class, self-motivated, neurotic individuals formerly treated, clinics now see many more families with individual members who have a major character disorder and who experience difficulty in multiple areas of functioningsocial, economic and psychological. Many families come in response to a none-too-gentle nudge by the schools or the court. Not ready to make the commitment of time, effort and money therapists prefer, and often seeing little hope of benefit from thinking, feeling and talking about their problems, these families seem to require some help and “pressure” to make behavioral changes which provide for them some new satisfaction in their life situation and which are readily visible.

Lindsay, J. (1968): Types of Family and Family Types. In: Family Process, 7 (1), S. 51–66. 

Abstract: That the theory of probability and the theory of logical types can be stated in generalized form relating to items in groups of size n was presented in a previous paper (7). The subsequent discussion focussed upon probabilities in human groups, the hypothesis that a person can belong to the “null class,” and the apparent agreement between this “null class” and schizophrenia.

In this approach, the variables were reduced to the factor of number. This is surely one of the basic variables in interpersonal transactions. The deductions made depend only on probability theory, the number of the class or classes and the number in the total group. While it is easy to fit interpersonal data into other relevant and useful frames of reference, there still remains a need to try and reduce such data to the simplest basic termsentia praeter necessitatem non multiplicanda sunt.

Hansen, Constance Collinge (1968): An Extended Home Visit with Conjoint Family Therapy. In: Family Process, 7 (1), S. 67–87. 

Abstract: I have used conjoint family therapy for the last six years and during this time many family problems have been resolved to the satisfaction of the concerned family members. Among the families I treated, however, there were a small number who seemed to be trying seriously to changethey attended sessions regularly, admitted some personal responsibility for the family problems, and used suggestionsbut whose efforts were not effective. In these families, the identified patient increasingly developed serious symptoms such as overt schizophrenia or delinquency and was institutionalized.

What further efforts could be made to help such families keep the identified patients out of institutions? One implicit suggestion in the literature is that successful therapy simply takes more time, that many additional hours are necessary. Another suggestion is that the therapist needs to have first hand knowledge of the family’s interaction and environmental influences in order to make an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for the family (5, 6, 20, 21). A final suggestion is that the therapist needs to form a more equal and participating relationship than is usually achieved or perhaps can be accomplished in the clinical or agency setting (16, 27).

Although following the first suggestion would not necessarily change the structure and organization of therapy, implementing the second and third would seem to suggest a home visit.

Kempler, Walter (1968): Experiential Psychotherapy with Families. In: Family Process, 7 (1), S. 88–99. 

Abstract: Upon these two commandments hang all the lawupon which experiential psychotherapy within families stands: attention to the current interaction as the pivotal point for all awareness and interventions; involvement of the total therapist-person bringing overtly and richly his full personal impact on the families with whom he works (not merely a bag of tricks called therapeutic skills). While many therapists espouse such fundamentals, in actual practice there is a tendency to hedge on this bi-principled commitment. This paper is offered as a hedge-clipper.

The extant interactionthe current encounterdemands constant constant vigil. It means attention to the here and now, not to the exclusion of past and future but to the extent that any pertinent deviation from the here and now be considered a transient, though necessary diversion, and that each detour be succinct and promptly returned and integrated into the current interaction.

Safilios-Rothschild, Constantina (1968): Deviance and Mental Illness in the Greek Family. In: Family Process, 7 (1), S. 100–117. 

Abstract: The labeling of an individual’s behavior as “mental illness” includes two different stages: the defining of the behavior as deviant, which may or may not be followed by the desire to do something about changing or eliminating this behavior; and the labeling of this behavior, already defined as deviant, as mental illness. There seems to be considerable agreement that the definition of behavior as deviant is more influenced by the societal reaction it creates than by the nature of the behavior itself (1, pp. 9-11; 2, p. 88; 3, p. 11; 4). Thus, the defining of behavior as deviant will depend upon cultural definitions of what is customary and socially appropriate behavior (1, p. 1; 5), as well as by the “definer’s” idiosyncratic, normative or moral standards (6, p. 103), which are often informally agreed upon rules regulating the interaction between the definer and the deviating person (1, p. 2).

After the label of deviance has been attached to someone’s behavior, the kind of action taken in order to remedy the situation may vary according to the type of relationship between the definer and the deviant, the definer’s degree of satisfaction with this relationship, the degree of harmfulness perceived in the deviant’s behavior (1, p. 12), as well as cultural or subcultural beliefs about appropriate and efficient means of handling deviance.

Laskin, Eva R. (1968): Breaking Down the Walls. In: Family Process, 7 (1), S. 118–125. 

Abstract: Today, with family therapy, we freely expand into the extended social community of the patient. One reads also of a reciprocal expansion, that of permitting the patient to be included in the therapist’s life to some extent. This paper will discuss a recently terminated family therapy case for the dual purposes of (a) illustrating the many variations of expanding techniques useable with, and useful to a family; and (b) serving as a generalizable indicator of possible use of such techniques with other families. Expansion will be discussed at several levels: who is to be included in the therapy of the patient’s social and familial milieu beyond the nuclear family; where the therapy can take place outside the confines of the therapist’s office; what techniques of therapy might be employed; how the therapist may productively involve his personal life and his own social milieu in the therapy.

Therapeutic expansion into the extended community of the patient is by no means unheard of in the literature. Speck (1) describes social network therapy including the relatives, friends, and neighbors of the identified family in a single group, with rapid positive results. Various writers describe programs of experimental togetherness living of therapist or therapist’s family with that of patient family in the latter’s home or elsewhere (2, 3). At Esalen Institute it has become routine to involve therapists, patients, and their families in extremely intensive, personal experiences. As psychotherapy becomes increasingly reality oriented and the therapist moves away from the god-like superbeing of his original conceptualization, the need grows for us to expand the psychodiagnostic unit to include the group with whom the patient works and plays as well as the entire extended family, and to put ourselves as therapists under the psychodiagnostic microscope (4) to try to account for the large number of our therapeutic failures.

Mendell, David, Sldney E. Cleveland & Seymour Fisher (1968): A Five-Generation Family Theme. In: Family Process, 7 (1), S. 126–132. 

Abstract: The communication of maladaptive behavior within families over multi-generations was described in a series of earlier studies by Fisher and Mendell (1, 2) and Mendell and Fisher (3, 4). From the analysis of psychological tests administered to two and three generation family members, it was possible to identify fantasy patterns common to a given family. A key motif or family atmosphere could be discerned in the responses of each family studied. Themes characteristic of a family were apparent in the Rorschach and TAT fantasies elicited from family members across as many as three generations. For example, in one family the grandparents, parents and children were found to be unusually concerned with a sense of unworthiness and a need to sacrifice oneself for others. In this family the Rorschach and TAT records were filled with references to dirt, uncleanliness and repulsiveness. Other families were seen as struggling with a problem of handling aggressive feelings, or the wish for unlimited passive gratification or control of exhibitionistic impulses.

Although in these studies by Fisher and Mendell it was the single family member who was presented for psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, examination of other relatives across generations revealed concern with a central behavioral problem even though these other family members reported no personal problems and were not themselves seeking psychiatric assistance. The investigators speculated that the nominal patient serves as a representative for an entire family struggling with some central and disturbing problem. Mendell and Fisher (3) conclude: “When the individual comes to a therapist for help, we assume that he is admitting the failure of his group as an effective milieu in which to find the solution he seeks (to his problems). Our data suggest that the individual seeking help frequently approaches the therapist in protest against the ineffectiveness of the group to which he belongs.”

From the analysis of clinical interview data and the developmental histories on these families, it became apparent that the fantasy themes unique to each family represented aspects of family interaction that were forbidden or concealed. It was the disturbing and disruptive elements of the family interaction that appeared in the projective test responses of individual members. Each family seemed to deny to its members or forbade the expression of certain important kinds of behavior. It was conjectured that tension and concern over these hidden issues are transmitted in some unexplained fashion from member to member and even from one generation to the next.

Glick, Ira (1968): Abstracts of Literature. In: Family Process, 7 (1), S. 133–138. 

Terrill, James M. (1968): Review – The Search for Authenticity, by J. F. T. Bugental, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York. In: Family Process, 7 (1), S. 139–140. 

Ferber, Andrew (1968): Review – Treating the Troubled Family, by Nathan W. Ackerman, Basic Books, New York, 1966. In: Family Process, 7 (1), S. 140–141. 

To the Memory of Don D. Jackson, M.D. 1920-1968.  (1968): In: Family Process, 7 (1), S. 141–141.

Heft 2

Langsley, Donald G., Frank S. Pittman, Pavel Machotka & Kalman Flomenhaft (1968): Family Crisis Therapy – Results and Implications. In: Family Process, 7 (2), S. 145–158. 

Abstract: Mental Illness is traditionally considered a disease of the individual. Its causes have at various times been ascribed to devils, bad genes, chemical errors and early psychological traumata. The family of the mental patient is pitied for the occurrence of such an affliction. As a consequence the psychotic has usually been “alienated” from his family by banishment to a mental hospital, often one far away from his home, and this hospitalization of one member of a family reinforces the belief that the problem is within that individual rather than within the family. In recent years hospitals have changed their custodial function to a treatment approach. One rationale (rationalization?) for hospitalization has been protection of the nominal patient and others. It has been claimed that specific therapies can be better given to the “inpatient.” Such claims have almost never been systematically tested. Comparisons between hospital and outpatient treatment for similar groups are extremely rare (8).

The Family Treatment Unit, established at Colorado Psychiatric Hospital in 1964 by Langsley and Kaplan, has been concerned with studying some of the relationships between mental patients, their families and psychiatric hospitals. Crisis therapy has been developed for families which include a member who would ordinarily be admitted immediately to a mental hospital (Colorado Psychiatric Hospital). The 186 cases treated by this approach are a random sample of all patients admitted to C.P.H. who live within an hour’s travel of the hospital and who live in a family. After the first year’s experience with 36 pilot cases, 150 such families were treated in this experimental fashion and compared with 150 “control” families drawn from the same population. In the control families, however, the identified patient had been admitted to the hospital. Baseline measures of individual and family adaptation, previous crisis management, and other ratings are obtained prior to treatment. They are repeated along with clinical evaluations by independent raters at six and eighteen months, and annually thereafter. At the time of this report, baseline and six month follow-up data on the first 75 experimentals and 75 controls are available.

Whitis, Peter R. (1968): The Legacy of a Child’s Suicide. In: Family Process, 7 (2), S. 159–169. 

Abstract: The act of dying by suicide is difficult for the surviving family members to comprehend and its pathologic emotional sequelae may be enduring for the survivors. Suicide occurring in young people and children can be especially demoralizing, and even catastrophic, for the bereaved family. Juvenile suicide presents the mental health worker with a special challenge in preventive psychiatry.

In the last decade, increased attention to the problem of suicide has culminated in the establishment of a new profession, suicidology, which concerns itself with the study of suicidal phenomena and their prevention (1). Suicide, seemingly an intensely personal act, has come to be seen as an act with interpersonal dimensions. One of the relatively unexplored areas is the response of persons intimately affected by the suicidal act. Cain and Fast reported on reactions of children to parental suicide (2) and have also studied the pathogenic impact of suicide upon the surviving marital partner (3). This paper describes the impact of a child’s suicide upon the surviving family members.

Brodsky, Carroll M. (1968): The Social Recovery of Mentally III Housewives. In: Family Process, 7 (2), S. 170–183. 

Abstract: This report describes the results of a study of the relationship between social recovery and role among mentally ill housewives. Both the concept of social recovery and the concept of role are fuzzy and difficult to define. One psychiatrist’s “social recovery” might be another’s “cure,” and still another’s “failure.” Nevertheless, in the common usage of this expression by those in the mental health field it does have some specificity. Social recovery is included in the notion of “complete recovery,” but it may also represent a behavioral and psychological state much inferior to full recovery. A person who has had an acute psychotic episode but who no longer has symptoms and signs of the disturbance is considered to be fully recovered. If symptoms or signs of the illness are still present but are diminished to a point where the person can function in a milieu resembling his usual environment, then he is considered to be socially recovered. In this state he is able to perform well enough not to provoke those who supply him with the wherewithal of existence into excluding him from their group. Deviations from acceptable limits of behavior must be infrequent and of short duration, occurring only in private or public situations where he and other members of the group either are unknown or are not related to the observing public.

Ostby, C. H. (1968): Conjoint Group Therapy with Prisoners and Their Families. In: Family Process, 7 (2), S. 184–201. 

Abstract: Therapy directed toward the amelioration of family problems has been conducted with a variety of methods and in a diversity of settings for at least the last three decades. While a considerable literature has evolved, references to family oriented therapy in correctional institutions has been sparse. In the past this was due to the repressive and regressive nature of many penal systems. More recently, the gap between knowledge and application of treatment methodology has been closing. A number of correctional institutions and systems, recognizing both the utilitarian and the humanitarian aspects of treating the prisoner as well as his family, have been moving in the direction of using conjoint family therapy in their treatment programs.

Auerswald, Edgar H. (1968): Interdisciplinary versus Ecological Approach. In: Family Process, 7 (2), S. 202–215. 

Abstract: The explosion of scientific knowledge and technology in the middle third of this century, and the effects of this explosion on the human condition, have posed a number of challenges for the behavioral sciences that most agree are yet to be met. The overriding challenge is, of course, the prevention of nuclear holocaust, but such problems as crime and delinquency, drug addiction, senseless violence, refractive learning problems, destructive prejudice, functional psychosis and the like follow close behind.

Practically all behavioral scientists agree that none of these problems can be solved within the framework of any single discipline. Most espouse a putting together of heads in the so-called “interdisciplinary approach.” The notion is not new, of course. The “interdisciplinary team” has been around for some time. Some new notions have emanated from this head-banging, but there have been few startling revelations in the last decade or so.

However, a relatively small but growing group of behavioral scientists, most of whom have spent time in arenas in which the “interdisciplinary approach” is being used, have taken the seemingly radical position that the knowledge of the traditional disciplines as they now exist is relatively useless in the effort to find answers for these particular problems. Most of this group advocate a realignment of current knowledge and re-examination of human behavior within a unifying holistic model, that of ecological phenomenology. The implications of this departure are great. Once the model of ecology becomes the latticework upon which such a realignment of knowledge is hung, it is no longer possible to limit oneself to the behavioral sciences alone. The physical sciences, the biological sciences, in fact, all of science, must be included. Since the people who have been most concerned with constructing a model for a unified science and with the ingredients of the human ecological field have been the general systems theorists, the approach used by behavioral scientists who follow this trend is rapidly acquiring the label of the “systems approach,” although a more appropriate label might be the “ecological systems approach.”

Eist, Harold I. & Adeline U. Mandel (1968): Family Treatment of Ongoing Incest Behavior. In: Family Process, 7 (2), S. 216–232. 

Abstract: A number of recent papers and monographs have discussed the problem of incest behavior (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 13). Fathers, mothers and children have been examined and family dynamics have been explored. However, most of these reports have dealt with individuals or families in which the incest was a past event. Consequently, specifics of treatment of families in which incest behavior is current have not been available. Such specifics will likely be of ever increasing importance as larger numbers of very disturbed families come into treatment. Following is a description of the family treatment of an ongoing incest case. Critical factors in the development of incest behavior are elucidated and techniques for dealing with them are discussed.

Ryder, Robert G. (1968): Husband-Wife Dyads versus Married Strangers. In: Family Process, 7 (2), S. 233–238. 

Abstract: What if anything, is demonstrably distinctive in interaction between husbands and wives? Partly this is a matter of determining whether married couples specialize or do not specialize in particular kinds of content. Heiss (2) and Leik (3) interpret their results to suggest that as people become more closely acquainted with each other they behave less according to cultural role prescriptions, in that men act less instrumental, and women less affective. The actual data of the Heiss and Leik studies do not strongly support this view, and moreover, in the case of Heiss, they confound acquaintanceship with the kind of personnel used as subjects. For example, a population of engaged individuals is not the same as a population of individuals who are casually dating, and might behave differently regardless of any pairing arrangements. The present study seeks to overcome this kind of confounding by comparing pairs of strangers with married couples, where all subjects are drawn from a common sample of married individuals.

While content is more easily studied and of interest, a more challenging issue is that of dyadic emergents. The issue is whether married couples are demonstrably more dyadic than pairs of strangers, in the sense that the utterances of a husband and wife are more intimately related to each other than are the statements of two people who have never seen each other before. If the answer is yes, that there is demonstrably more of an interactive dance between spouses than between strangers, the finding would be consistent with common sense. But if no such demonstration is achieved, unless the failure is to be totally attributed to method, some doubt is cast on the common sense view, and the distinctive attributes of interaction in marriage may be more simple than might have been supposed.

Sussman, Marvin B. (1968): Adaptive, Directive and Integrative Behavior of Today’s Family. In: Family Process, 7 (2), S. 239–250. 

Abstract: The incessant thrust of social change and alterations in the structure and function of modern institutions prompts a critical review of various tenets of the social sciences. In need of particular reappraisal is the assumption that the family and its kin network are largely dependent upon and continuously adjusting to other societal institutions wielding superior potency, that in essence, the family must either respond with appropriate adaptive behavior or be destroyed as a substantive concern.

Such a notion lacks validity since it does not give sufficient consideration to the independent side of the family’s behavior. The theoretical posture of this paper is that dependent, integrated, and independent conditions of the family in its relationships with other social institutions can be demonstrated. The urban family and its kin members, through varied activities, influence or are influenced by the activities of educational, health, economic, welfare, and other societal institutions. In some instances its influence is felt directly by producing specific changes in the policy, structure, and activities of these institutions. In others, influence is less directional but more reciprocal and blends the normative requirements of the family-kinship structure with other societal institutions; and, in certain situations, the family has minimal influence and is, in fact, dependent upon other social realms for its existence.

Ferreira, Antonio J. & William D. Winter (1968): Information Exchange and Silence in Normal and Abnormal Families. In: Family Process, 7 (2), S. 251–276. 

Abstract: With noteworthy consistency, previous investigations of the process of family decision-making (7, 11, 12, 13) have disclosed that some important differences exist between normal and abnormal families in the variables denoted as Spontaneous Agreement, Decision-Time, and Choice-Fulfillment. Defined in terms of the families’ responses to culturally “neutral” items on a questionnaire, Spontaneous Agreement (SA) measured the initial attitudinal similarity among the individual members of a family, Decision-Time (DT) referred to the time required by the family to reach family decisions, and Choice-Fulfillment (CF) indicated the degree to which those family decisions coincided with the previously expressed wishes of the individual family members. In these investigations, abnormal families, by comparison with normal ones, were shown to have less SA, and (even when differences in SA were taken into account) longer DT and lower CF. These findings corroborated the general assumption of something “pathologic” in abnormal families inasmuch as these families seemed to suffer from some functional impairment which rendered them less efficient in decision-making than normal ones. In the face of these observations two questions seemed most pertinent: Why, and by what mechanisms, do abnormal families require a longer time to reach family decisions? Why do these decisions fail to provide as much choice-fulfillment as do those made by normal families?

Family Affairs.  (1968): In: Family Process, 7 (2), S. 277–278. 

Glick, Ira (1968): Abstracts of Literature. In: Family Process, 7 (2), S. 279–282. 

Rabkin, Richard (1968): Book Reviews. In: Family Process, 7 (2), S. 283–287. 

Review – On Dreams and Animal Behavior, a fragment of a metalogue by Gregory Bateson which will be published in Thomas A. Sebeok and Alexandra Ramsay (Eds) Approaches to Animal Communication, The Hague, Mouton & Co.  (1968): In: Family Process, 7 (2), S. 287–290. 

Bloch, Donald A. (1968): Review – Techniques of Family Therapy, by Jay Haley and Lynn Hoffman, New York, Basic Books, 1967. In: Family Process, 7 (2), S. 290–293. 

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