Title: Avoiding Colonizer Positions in the Therapy Room: Some Ideas About the Challenges of Dealing with the Dialectic of Misery and Resources in Families
Authors: Rober, Peter ×
Seltzer, Michael #
Issue Date: Mar-2010
Publisher: Wiley-blackwell publishing, inc
Series Title: Family process vol:49 issue:1 pages:123-137
Abstract: Some authors have argued that certain acts of family therapists-despite their best intentions-may represent a form of colonizing the family. When acting as a colonizer, a therapist is understood as becoming overly responsible for the family and focusing too strongly on change. In so doing, the therapist disrespects the family's pace, and neglects their own resources for change. This paper aims to highlight the need for therapists to be hypersensitive both to the resources of families entering therapy as well as to the impact of prevailing ideologies on their own positioning in the session. The kind of sensitivity advocated here is dialectical in the sense that every family is understood as having potentials promoting dynamism, happiness, and well-being as well as potentials contributing to stagnation, unhappiness, and misery. In this article, using illustrations from clinical practice, we present some ideas for resisting the tendency by the therapist to assume a colonizing position as a professional solver of problems for families. Our main aim here is to redirect the therapist toward connecting with the family's suffering, as well as with the resource repertoire it has developed for navigating and negotiating its way through life.
ISSN: 0014-7370
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Interfaculty Institute for Family and Sexuality Sciences (-)
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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