Joining theory to practice
I In the next two pieces -- the "Foreword" to Tom Andersen The Reflecting Team ( 1990), and Richard Simon's 1988 interview with me in The Family Therapy Networker -- I was focusing on ways to apply my Zen-like philosophical ideals to clinical work. Basically, I was looking for elements of practice that would not only fit within a non-objectivizing and non-pejorative framework but also offer a style of working that was congruent with my "different voice", even though at the time I did not know exactly how the details of that practice would look.
Some aspects of the work of the two Milan men, Luigi Boscolo and Gianfranco Cecchin, were already moving towards this style ( Boscolo, Cecchin, Hoffman, & Penn, 1987). I liked their emphasis on questioning as a substitute for interventions and their focus on beliefs instead of structures. However, I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the secret discussions of the team behind the mirror and also with the so-called positive connotation, which was often experienced as the reverse.
Another problem for me was what was called the "orgy of negative connotation", in which the backstage team made funny jokes at