We will be following one particular case to illustrate our thinking in this book. This is the Johnson family, whose family tree is given opposite (all names have been changed to protect the privacy of the family):
Mrs Johnson telephoned a local family therapy centre for an appointment after finding that another agency had a long waiting list. She was concerned about her son Ian, who, she said, was bright at school but "doesn't seem to be handling adolescence very well". He had been very close to his elder sister, Colette, but she was now away at university and Ian saw little of her. He was getting on very badly with his brothers, particularly James. He was described as "totally unbearable" at home but was doing very well at school. He was lying to his family and also stealing. Mr Johnson's mother was spending every Sunday with the family and disapproved on Ian's behaviour.
The team began to organize the information and consider the hypothesis that the mother had something to lose as the family began to leave home; the index patient, Ian, might be needing to draw some attention to another relationship in the family. We also asked ourselves what were the advantages in accepting the position