The Family as an Information- Processing System
In part II of this book, the family-cultural concepts relevant to diagnosis and treatment are defined and illustrated in informal, ordinary English. In this chapter, a theoretical language is introduced, which enables therapists to apply the same concepts in their work in a more explicit, exact, detailed and systematic manner.
Admittedly, a culturally competent diagnostic evaluation, a therapeutic strategy or a treatment description can and usually will be formulated in informal, everyday language. Why a specialized technical language then? There are a number of reasons why such a language is needed.
A stage is reached in the development of every science, in which the insights, findings and techniques that have been accumulated since its inception are explicated, synthesized and systematized in the framework of a formal theoretical language. Such a language facilitates the construction of a unified, coherent body out of the existing heterogeneous pieces. Fuzzy concepts and propositions can be explicated and defined in rigorous, exact terms in such a language. The logical interconnections among them and their corollaries can be explored and defined. Only then can their empirical validity be tested.
Therefore, a diagnostic evaluation and a treatment description formulated in such a language is likely to be more exact, more detailed, more profound and more testable than an evaluation or description expressed in informal, everyday language. Although ordinary language formulations seem on the face of it more communicable, they are in fact less so, because they are characteristically vague and ambiguous. Furthermore, formalized concepts and propositions are more susceptible to empirical research.
Once a therapist has mastered the theoretical language, understood the