Family Therapy: First Steps towards a Systemic Approach

By John B. Burnham | Go to book overview
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Interviewing I

The evaluation of systemic hypotheses requires systemic interviewing techniques. This chapter introduces and illustrates circular questioning, a technique devised by the Milan group (Palazzoli et al. 1980a), which primarily elicits information through verbal enquiry. The next chapter looks at enactment and sculpting as two of the main action techniques which ‘make patterns visible’ (Gorrell Barnes 1984).


Please refer to the introduction that you drafted during the last chapter and compare it to the one that follows:

‘Hello, as I said in reception my name is X. To start with I would like to explain the way in which we work [pause]. I work as part of a team, and my colleagues are sitting behind this [gesturing], which is a oneway screen. They watch the way in which I work in order to help me to help you. From time to time they may knock on the door to call me out of the room, so that we can share our opinions. I may also choose to go out [pause]. We make a videotape-recording of the session, using those two cameras that you can see [gesturing]. This is so that I don’t need to take notes and can pay full attention to what you have to say. I look through the tape in between sessions to work out what is the best way to proceed [pause].

We have a consent form which explains your safeguards about the confidentiality of the information on the videotape. I’ll give you the form later in the session. I’d like you to read through it and sign


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Family Therapy: First Steps towards a Systemic Approach


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