Online-Journal für systemische Entwicklungen

Migration and the Disruption of the Social Network

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In einem Kapitel mit diesem Titel für den 1998 bei Guilford in New York erschienenen und von Monica McGoldrick herausgegebenen Band „Re-Visioning Family Therapy: Race, Culture and Gender in Clinical Practice“ hat sich der Altmeister der Familientherapie Carlos M. Sluzki (Foto: anhand einer ausführlichen Fallstudie mit den Auswirkungen der Migration auf die sozialen Netzwerke beschäftigt, die eine wesentliche Rolle für die Entwicklung einer stabilen Identität und das eigene Wohlbefinden spielen. Sluzki ist Argentinier mit eigener Migrationsgeschichte, der als Psychiater seit Mitte der 60er Jahre seine Ausbildung in Familientherapie beim Mental Research Institute MRI in Palo Alto machte und seit 1971 in den USA lebt. Bis heute setzt er sich intensiv mit kulturellen und interkulturellen Fragestellungen auseinander. Das Manuskript des Kapitels ist online zu lesen. In der Einführung heißt es: „Our personal social network – that rather stable but continually evolving interpersonal fabric constituted by close and distant family members, friends, work and study connections, and relationships that result from informal and formal participation in community organizations (religious, social, political, health-related, etc.) – constitutes a key depository of our identity, our history and our well being (Sluzki, 1996). Countless research projects have evidenced the tight correlation between quality of the personal social support system and the individual’s health and chances of survival (Berkman, 1984, House et al., 1982; Schoenbach et al., 1986), including such a varied array of factors such as frequency of myocardial infarctions (Orth-Gomer et al, 1993) and recovery from that disorder (Medalie et al., 1973), tuberculosis (Holmes, 1954), accidents (Tillman and Homes, 1949), likelihood of rehospitalization after being discharged from a psychiatric hospital (Dozier et al., 1987), et cetera, et cetera. The personal social network is a dynamic, evolving system. It affects, and is affected by, each of the normative stages in a person’s life. In fact, most of the rituals that recognize life passages, from birth to marriage to death, include active network participation. It is also extremely sensitive to cultural and gender variables: different cultures have different norms and expectations in terms of network involvement into people’s every day’s life, and females and males show markedly differences in network development and network maintenance skills and in network utilization. In the increasingly mobile society that characterizes our industrial and post-industrial eras, relocation (within countries) and migration (between countries) constitute a frequent, almost normative, phenomenon that unavoidably entails a major disruption in the social niche of the individual. (Sluzki 1979, 1992). Normativity notwithstanding, there is little explicit recognition of this disruption, and of its effects, in either the public or the professional eye. As a result, little is done by people who migrate to manage those processes (and when they suffer the consequences of that disruption, they experience it as their failure), little is done by public policies and public practices and, alas, not enough is done by therapists unless they are sensitized to those issues. The purpose of this chapter is to illustrate the severe effects of the disruption of the personal social network during migration with a poignant clinical case2 , and to use this case to underline some therapeutic stances that may contribute to ameliorate their effect.“

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