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What happens when the barriers between therapists and clients are removed, when they all participate in a dialogue about change, and when therapists and clients even trade places? As Lynn Hoffman says in her forward to this remarkable book, it dramatically alters a family's position in relation to the professionals they have come to see. In the process, it changes the roles, rules, and expectations of therapy.
Operating within the reflecting team format, professionals meet clients without preexisting hypotheses. Together they engage in a conversation that becomes a search for the not-yet-seen and the not-yet-thought-of, as well as for alternative understandings of what has been defined as problematic. As clients and therapists trade places and various members of the entire group participate in conversations, the possibilities for change open wide.
This book describes the evolution of this radical strategy in Tromso, Norway, and its adaptation by various family therapists in the United States. It begins in Part I with a description of the settings in which the reflecting team developed and its history and evolution. Then basic concepts, practical considerations, and guidelines for practice are detailed.
Part II contains Dialogues About the Dialogues, that is, reflections on the client-therapist-consultant-team dialogues that distinguish this innovative approach to therapy. As roles shift and various participants offer definitions of the problem and possible solutions, traditional ideas about the boundaries of a case study are shattered. Readers will find that this fluid, encompassing perspective stimulates their own thoughts about therapy, shaking them from outgrown assumptions.
Since this approach is still evolving, the final chapter is, appropriately, a reflection on the changes that have taken place since the European edition of this book was published.