A reflexive stance
L eaving my island and embarking once more on my river steamer, it felt clear to me that a postmodern framework supported my vision of a different voice for family therapy. It was also extremely useful for another project I had: to challenge the clinical discourse of the field. A medically minded mental health establishment and a medically minded public had begun to locate, describe, and normify every facet of human thought and behaviour. There seemed to be no community that did not have its trauma, no family that was not dysfunctional, no woman who was not codependent, and no activity from love to work that could not be thought of as an addiction.
To this psychologized outlook was added an ever-lengthening list of negative terms for people who were really in trouble. And for every new problem that came to light, a new industry sprang up to treat it. The uncovering of family violence, this most hidden of our social ills, had been long overdue, but solutions were elusive and sometimes seemed to compound the original horror. Given the increasing confusion, I felt it was high time to "deconstruct" psychiatry, psychology, and the proliferation of psychotherapies that had grown up around them, including family therapy.