Academic journal article Family Relations

Family Scripts

Academic journal article Family Relations

Family Scripts

Article excerpt

Atwood, J.D. (Ed.). (1996). Family Scripts. Washington, DC: Accelerated Development. 330 pages. Paper ISBN 1-56032401-5.

This book is designed as an introduction to family script theory for mental health and human service professionals and for graduate students. It also provides information and practical techniques relevant to common situations in family therapy.

Family script concepts are based on social construction theory, i.e., that scripts flow from socially constructed meaning systems, which include the repertoire of sets and statuses recognized, expected, and sanctioned by social groups. They delineate how family life "should" unfold. Individuals internalize these scripts and make efforts to follow them, at times even reinterpreting reality to produce a fit. This internalization is reinforced by social routines and roles, by development of social institutions, by socialization largely through family interaction, and by meaning systems principally maintained through language use. Individuals and families usually subscribe to the dominant scripts in society (e.g., the "good mother"). These scripts may, however, be malevolent or benevolent depending on the circumstances of the particular family or client. One strength of script theory is its ability to account for generational transmission of behavior like violence. Nevertheless, script transmission is not automatic; each individual may choose which script to adopt. All clients have nondominant scripts-although these may not be conscious currently-which can provide opportunities for therapeutic change.

The first two chapters in the book present a theoretical introduction to family script concepts, including a foray into evolutionary theory. …

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