as the head of the family and as her husband's father. What made her transgression even graver, through the culturally calibrated lenses of Oved and his father, was that she talked back in the way she did when she was a guest in Oved parents' home. She should have respected their rights in their own territory. According to Oved's culture, it was not just his father's right, but also his duty to reprimand Nicole, criticize the way she was brought up and suggest the idea of divorce.
Oved and his father did not understand that, for Nicole, throwing her shoe at Oved was just an act of anger and frustration and had no symbolic meaning. In the way she was brought up, at least on the declarative level, men and women, older and younger people, parents, parents-in-law and their adult children were equal. Speech was free. Everybody had the right to talk back and express his or her view everywhere. When a couple was married, they became a separate, independent unit, and nobody had a right to interfere in their relationships, least of all in-laws or parents, unless asked by the couple to do so. A husband's loyalty was first of all to his wife and not to his parents, and, if necessary, he had to protect her from his parents.
The therapist suggested that the situation described above, with the father, his son Oved and Nicole be simulated in a role-play with Nicole, playing herself, Oved his father and himself, and the therapist playing, alternately, as the double of each of the three. The participants were asked to replicate the original scene, but also to voice their unexpressed inner thoughts. The therapist, as a double, explicated their culturally determined premises. Afterward, the three summarized, together, the misunderstanding that were created by cultural naiveté in that situation.
The main purpose of this chapter is to explicate the notion of culturally influenced family dysfunction and to suggest hypotheses as to how such dysfunction comes into being. Another purpose is to suggest principles for healing or reducing such dysfunction.
Dysfunction occurs when the information-processing system loses its simplicity and is unable to restore it. This can happen when the family's ecological environment changes considerably, as a result of immigration, war, invasion, industrialization or the like. The notion of simplicity is defined as the systems "preference" to process information in the simplest possible manner, without complications, incompleteness and inconsistencies. Simplicity can be explicated by the notions consistency, completeness, and parsimony. When the family has to process a great amount of unfamiliar information (e.g., when the natural or demographic environment changes considerably, when the family emigrates to a new country or when strangers invade the family's territory), information can no longer be processed in the simplest, most complete and most parsimonious manner. The system loses its simplicity. And then the system, as it were, attempts to adjust to the new conditions and restore its lost simplicity by changing. It changes in manners that allow it to process the new information in the simplest possible ways. In this model, the accommodating changes are said to be governed by metaprograms