American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
Journal of Marital and Family Therapy vol:31 issue:4 pages:385-397
There are not a lot of conceptual tools that can help a family therapy teacher to talk and teach about the importance of the therapeutic relationship in family therapy practice. The idea that family therapy can be conceived as a dialogue might offer afresh and promising perspective. Mainly inspired by the work of Bakhtin, Voloshinov, and Shotter, the author considers if the concept of dialogue can help us to talk about something that is there all the time in our family therapeutic practices, although sometimes unnoticed, and that is hard to talk about because we lack the necessary conceptual tools. When we choose to conceptualize family therapy as dialogue, the focus of the therapist is not primarily on data collection, information processing or problem analysis. The therapist is not primarily concerned with knowing, or with not-knowing. Instead, the focus is on the idea that first and foremost therapy is a meeting of living persons, searching to find ways to share life together for a while. Clinical vignettes that feature children's drawings in family therapy are used as illustrations.