Academic journal article Family Relations

Book Reviews -- Metaphors of Family Systems Theory: Toward New Constructions by Paul C. Rosenblatt

Academic journal article Family Relations

Book Reviews -- Metaphors of Family Systems Theory: Toward New Constructions by Paul C. Rosenblatt

Article excerpt

New York: Guilford. 239 pp. Hardcover ISBN 0-89862-321-9, price $26.95.

As a marriage and family therapist, I often hear or participate in claims of allegiance to some ubiquitous theory of family systems. Frequently this takes a sort of religious tone where families and relationships are discussed in broad and somewhat undefined terms. Often it involves taking a conceptual and moral high ground that assumes we do not label, limit, or make judgments about persons with our models. I admire these aspirations but I have felt a need for a more thorough and critical consideration of family systems theory. Paul Rosenblatt provides us with an excellent vehicle for this process.

After introducing the reader to the relationship between metaphors and theory, in subsequent chapters the author addresses topics related to the family as an entity, the family as a system, family boundaries, family structure, system control, communication in family systems, and family systems therapy. He explores circularity, input and output, feedback, metacommunication, roles, the circumplex model, triangles, paradox, and intervention. By framing each of these concepts as metaphors, he helps us see them more completely. He ends with a chapter calling for the use of multiple metaphors and greater recognition of multiple realities.

Rather than conveying a negative tone that is characteristic of some deconstructions, Rosenblatt is hopeful. Even so, the book may disturb some because he forces the reader to consider what he refers to as the "shadow realities" associated with concepts many hold dear. …

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