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April 1963

Methodology for Studying Family Interaction

Author Affiliations

Assistant Director, Mental Research Institute (Don D. Jackson, M.D., Director) of the Palo Alto Medical Research Foundation.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1963;8(4):343-348. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1963.01720100033004

Much of clinical psychiatric research and therapy has been traditionally oriented towards the individual patient, in particular toward the "intrapsychic meaning" of his behavior. In recent years, however, there has been increasing attention devoted to the interpersonal aspects of an individual's behavior, especially his interaction with other members of his family. This shift in emphasis has paralleled the development of the therapeutic technique of conjoint family therapy, in which the identified patient and his family meet together with a therapist.2

Along with the therapeutic implications of this change in focus, much more explicit attention has been given to the complex relationships between the specific patterns of family interaction and the developing personalities of the children. In only a few years much clinical material has been gathered, suggesting the specific kinds of family environments in which a child learns those

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