Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Book Reviews -- Peace, War, and Mental Health: Couples Therapists Look at the Dynamics Edited by Barbara Jo Brothers

Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Book Reviews -- Peace, War, and Mental Health: Couples Therapists Look at the Dynamics Edited by Barbara Jo Brothers

Article excerpt

While I review this collection of papers on peace, war, and mental health, I am tracking the development of the Israeli-PLO accord and its unsettled possibilities. The two factions reached their agreement with uncertainty about the soundness of the foundation upon which a final pact will rest. In family systems terms, their "extended families" are pulling in all directions to destabilize the proposed peace.

Much like the editor of the book in review, my reflections on the Middle East conflict and family systems were stimulated by the dramatic impact of themes of war and peace. The opening chapter of Barbara Jo Brother's book, an interview with Virginia Satir, sets the stage for what follows. Satir's humanistic reflections reenforce the belief that peace and war are determined by the will of individuals. As one reads on, it becomes apparent that the editor selected articles that address war not as it is usually defined, but by the way people do battle in a variety of contexts--nations, couples, families, and neighbors.

Most of these articles loosely address the war, peace, mental-health connection promised by the editor and would nicely stand alone as editorials on war and peace or in a collection of articles on couple work. Some of the authors do look at how war on the macrofront parallels the daily battles that take place on the microfront of personal relationships. Few of the authors consistently tie these phenomena together, and while this does not necessarily interfere with the book's merits, it does distract the reader who anticipates a more cohesive collection. …

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