Global Perspectives in Family Therapy: Development, Practice, and Trends

By Kit S.Ng | Go to book overview

Preface

This book is intended to serve as a basic and yet informative text for individuals who seek to understand the “growing pains” of family therapy from a global context. This context poses very different types of family dynamics, presenting problems, intervention techniques, cultural variations, and clinical diagnoses compared to the United States.

Even though some of the originators of family therapy have their roots in other countries (i.e., Minuchin, Boszormenyi-Nagy Madanes), the development of family therapy was primarily confined to the United States until a couple of decades ago. Possibly, the earliest group that engaged family members in treatment outside of the United States was the Milan group from Italy. They developed a unique blend of family therapy and training. Further north, the Norway group developed their Scandinavian style of conducting family therapy and the internationally known “Reflection Team” approach to clinical supervision. Moving to the west, English therapists have historically developed their own brand of family therapy, influenced primarily by psychiatry and psychoanalysis. Other European countries witnessed the emergence of family therapy with their traditional individualistic approach to clinical work.

In Asia, the Japanese struggled to integrate systemic family therapy with their homogeneous culture. Family therapy has indeed been a very slow moving force in Asia. A couple of thousand miles south, the development of family therapy took on a very exciting genesis. In Australia, White, Epston, and Durrant at the Dulwich Family Center developed the “Narrative Approach” to family therapy which eventually dominated the postmodern clinical practices. The New Zealanders also developed a multicultural approach to treating families with initial work with the Maori families. In every aspect, the push for the development of family therapy beyond the boundaries of North America has been both gradual and challenging.

Historically, because most, if not all family therapy training institutions started in the United States, trainees from abroad flocked here to receive the best training in some of the more traditional systemic (i.e., structural, strategic) approaches to therapy. The trend began to reverse in the 1980s and

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