December 1968

Prompting Change in Family Therapy

Author Affiliations

From the Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, Philadelphia.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;19(6):727-736. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740120087012

ONE reason I think families change in therapy is because, in wishing the good regard of the therapist, they follow his direction. Thus it is important that the therapist seek to guard and enhance his prestige when he can in order that families will have the greatest desire for his approval and be amenable to his direction.

Families, however, tend to oppose any direction of the therapist that raises the specter of change in the status quo. Thus, paradoxically, while wishing to please the therapist and follow his direction, families will balk when his direction involves what they perceive as a clear-cut threat to the status quo. One of the great problems for the therapist is to find means to bypass this resistive tendency of families.

From the perspective of the family therapist, I find that a useful definition of family status quo may be

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