Academic journal article Family Relations

Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods

Academic journal article Family Relations

Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods

Article excerpt

Nichols, Michael P., and Schwartz, Richard C. (1995). Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon. 662 pp. Hardcover ISBN: 0-20516395-5, price $57.00.

Back in 1984, when the first edition of this text appeared, it stood alone as a text designed to survey the field of marriage and family therapy. Many of us read it then to gain an overview of the field and ended up requiring it in our master's level theory and techniques courses. More than a decade and two editions later, in his foreword to the third edition, Minuchin asserts that Nichols and Schwartz's book still stands alone as the best of the survey texts. In that same statement, he also takes a potshot at the narrative therapies that have won widespread attention in the mid-1990s. Although his comments do not necessarily set the tone for the book, they do communicate that the book will present the field openly and critically, warts and all.

The book has three major sections covering (a) the history of the field, (b) eight modality descriptions, and (c) an evaluation of the field. Each modality description is made up of the same sections: leading figures, theoretical formulations, normal family development, development of behavioral disorders, goals of therapy, conditions of behavior change, techniques, and evaluating therapy theory and results. This similarity of organization, of course, makes for easier comparisons between modalities, a considerable advantage for the classroom.

Overall, the book is conceptually strong but somewhat limited on procedure. Of course, no student could read any text and then walk into the consulting room and run a session to rave reviews by a supervisor, but more specificity and detail on the procedures that make up the modalities would improve students' understanding. …

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