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Friday, 02 January 2009 10:39

It's More Complicated Than That - Page 7

Written by  Annika Land
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FTN: So you think we're always "recovering" memories?

MINUCHIN : I think so.

FTN : So what do you think about the criticisms of "recovered memory therapy?"

MINUCHIN : The mistake some therapists make is to believe in the immutability of memories. I think that we always create memories that's a very normal, natural process. What I don't agree with is that once these memories appear in therapy, they represent truth or reality. Therapists must be very careful not to see memories as immutable truth.

FTN: Since the last interview we had 12 years ago, what have you discovered about being a good therapist?

MINUCHIN : During these 12 years, the certainty that I had when I was younger has disappeared. I no longer believe that I own the truth and I have become more accepting of other points of view. I know myself better and realize that when something new happens in the field, my first response is to oppose it and only later do I begin to incorporate it. My first response to the feminist group was to respond negatively to what I saw as its stridency, especially since I was the target of much of its criticism of the field. But I learned to incorporate many of the feminists' ideas. And even though I still have problems with the constructivists, as I was saying earlier, the same was true of the work of Michael White and Steve de Shazer. I begin with polemical opposition and move toward assimilating what I find useful.

FTN : So, for example, what do you find useful in solution-focused therapy?

MINUCHIN : I like looking beyond problems to solutions, saying to clients, "What if one day you get up in the morning and your problem disappears? What would that look like?" I use those questions sometimes, just as I have incorporated pretty much everything that has been written on family therapy, particularly the ideas of Jay Haley and certainly all the thinking of Carl Whitaker. Today, technically, I am much more complex than I was as a younger therapist. A lot of that, of course, is a result of age. As you get older, all certainties become question marks. You also begin to ask yourself fundamental questions like, "Would the world be different if I did not exist?" So you become less attached to your particular contribution.

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