THE ROLE AND CURRENT
PRACTICE OF PERSONAL
THERAPY IN SYSTEMIC/
The traditions of family therapy and systems therapies are diverse. This is nowhere more evident than in their approach to the role assigned to personal therapy for therapists.
The concept that unites family-centered approaches lies in the core importance assigned to interaction and to interaction in the family as a focus for and vehicle toward change. Gurman, Kniskern, and Pinsof (1986) offered the following classic definition of family therapy: “any psychotherapeutic endeavor that explicitly focuses on altering the interactions between or among family members and seeks to improve the functioning of the family as a unit, or its subsystems, and/or the functioning of individual members of the family.”
Beyond the common goals and some notion of a systemic process in which the behaviors of family members affect one another, there is much that varies across couple and family therapies. Specifically, the role and salience accorded personal therapy also ranges enormously, from viewing personal therapy as at the very core of becoming and being a family therapist to regarding personal therapy as irrelevant or even possibly coercive.
THE MODELS OF FAMILY THERAPY
Underlying the many models of systemic and family therapy are a diversity of worldviews. The most radical set of concepts about personal therapy for therapists emanated from those family approaches that grew exclusively as