Affect and Attachment in the Family: A Family-Based Treatment of Major Psychiatric Disorder

By Jeri A. Doane; Diana Diamond | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
Intergenerational Interviewing
and Parent-Child Rapprochement:
General Principles

WHILE THE INTERGENERATIONAL family interview is a technique that has been developed and utilized by previous family theorists and therapists, most notably, Boszormenyi-Nagy and Spark (1973), Framo (1992), and Stierlin (1974, 1977), the focus of such interviews in previous work has been on the processes of unbinding homeostatically enmeshed families, rather than on reconnecting unattached or relationally fragmented families. As Stierlin (1977) points out, most refinements of multigenerational family therapy techniques have revolved around binding, or in our system, high-intensity families, because it is often easier to treat families that have a transgenerational bedrock of attachments, regardless of how enmeshed, than to treat families that have a legacy of ruptured or disrupted attachments. Because "primary binding seems an even more difficult therapeutic task than unbinding" (p. 330), we will focus our discussion of the intergenerational interview on techniques with the disconnected family. However, although the intergenerational interview as described in this chapter is usually most appropriate for treatment of disconnected families, the general principles outlined would be, with some modifications perhaps, for any family in which there are severe conflicts around attachment and separation. Since the goal of therapy with disconnected families is to achieve parent-child rapprochement, the crux of the interview is a dyadic session between parent and child, in which the therapist interviews the parent about his or her early attachment experiences in the family of origin, and thereby fosters the development of mutuality and empathy in the dyadic.

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