Academic journal article Family Relations

Book Reviews -- Tales & Transformations: Stories in Families and Family Therapy by Janine Roberts

Academic journal article Family Relations

Book Reviews -- Tales & Transformations: Stories in Families and Family Therapy by Janine Roberts

Article excerpt

Roberts, Janine. (1994). Tales & Transformations: Stories in Families and Family Therapy. New York: Norton. 230 pp. Hardcover ISBN 0-393-70174-3, price $27.00.

Muriel Rukseyer once wrote that "the universe is not made of atoms, but stories." Undoubtedly, Janine Roberts would agree. There has been a recent surge of interest in "narrative therapies" in the mental health professions in general, and particularly within marriage and family therapy. The idea that people organize their lives into stories is the central premise of Roberts' work. By functioning as catalysts for change, these stories can be used as powerful therapeutic tools in helping clients understand themselves and others in their families. Roberts believes the act of telling the stories is important, but she also systematically examines the contexts in which they are told.

The first three chapters provide one of the best overviews of narrative theory as applied to marriage and family therapy currently in print. Chapter 1 categorizes stories into six styles and discusses their significance for clients, in addition to exploring some of the ways therapists can respond to different story styles. Chapters 2 and 3 provide a historical summary of the use of stories in family therapy and are filled with rich case examples providing practical information about how stories can be used to promote change in family systems.

In chapters 4 and 5, Roberts distinguishes between oral traditions of spoken, written, and enacted stories. These chapters provide concrete techniques that can be used across models of therapy, differing age groups, and presenting issues. …

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