It is with real pleasure that I write this Foreword to the second edition of Rudi Dallos and Ros Draper’s book, An Introduction to Family Therapy. I wrote the Foreword to the first edition, so I trust I am well placed to observe the changes made to the second edition – the expansions, illuminations, amendments and the introduction of new material. The second edition is more than an update. It is an extensive rewriting of what was already an impressive and relevant text, designed for those relatively new to systemic thinking and its applications. This revision has moved the book into a different position, of one that meets the needs of introductory level and intermediate level learning and practice. This is no mean feat. It is to the authors’ credit that they have managed this transition without losing sight of the needs of both groups, elegantly weaving the introduction of theory, with worked examples, with specific applications in different contexts.
One of the strengths of the first edition was the inclusion of three chapters devoted to tracing the history and integration of systemic ideas and practices, grouped into three broad developmental phases. These chapters have been retained and extensively updated and reworked in the light of a growing rapprochement within the broader systemic field. These chapters provide a clear and helpful introduction to a complex arena, such that more recent innovations in thinking and practice can be clearly grounded in their ancestral origins. Thus will we build a field of scholar-practitioners.
The chapter on emotions, attachments and systems has been retained and elaborated in the light of further research and Rudi Dallos’s work on attachment narrative therapy. Its inclusion in the first edition has been vindicated as both a serious attempt to put emotion back into systems thinking and practice, and as a herald of a growing and widening interest in the potential for integration between these two major systems of thought.