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Do We Still Need Attachment Theory?

Jerome Kagan, Daniel Siegel, and Salvador Minuchin Weigh In

Mary Sykes Wylie

By Mary Sykes Wylie - In the world of psychotherapy, few models of human development have attracted more acceptance in recent years than the centrality of early bonding experiences to adult psychological well-being. What on earth could ever be wrong with emphasizing early bonding, connection, and relationship as the foundation of all good therapy? According to some critics, attachment-based therapy neglects a vast range of important human influences.

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VIDEO: Esther Perel on the Legacy of Salvador Minuchin

From the Symposium's Celebration of a Family Therapy Visionary

Esther Perel

A maverick and a visionary in the ’60s and ’70s, Salvador Minuchin put forth a brand new model of psychotherapy—family therapy. In the following video clip from the 2017 Symposium dinner event celebrating Minuchin's work, couples therapist Esther Perel shares her memories of working alongside Minuchin when she was just beginning work as a young therapist.

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Family Therapy Pioneer Salvador Minuchin on the Therapist's Self

Reflections on a Life, Legacy, and Growing Older

Salvador Minuchin

By Salvador Minuchin - A maverick and a visionary in the '60s and '70s, Salvador Minuchin transformed the very idea of what a therapist was supposed to be—a brash interventionist willing to make people change regardless of what they were feeling, or even knew they were feeling. Beyond that, he put forth a brand new model of psychotherapy—family therapy. In the following article, he reflects on his journey as a therapist and what clinicians need to do in order to master their craft.

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When Jailers are Prisoners, and Prisoners are Jailers

Salvador Minuchin on Helping Families Redefine Their Stories

Salvador Minuchin

By Salvador Minuchin - In most cases when a child carries a problem, the goal of family therapy focuses on transferring the ownership of the symptom from the intrapsychic machinery of the child to the interpersonal drama of parents and child affecting each other.

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A Novel Approach to Treating Troubled Kids

Multi-Systemic Therapy Treats the Overlapping Worlds of Childhood

Wray Herbert

By Wray Herbert - As its name suggests, Multi-Systemic Therapy is focused on the many overlapping worlds of childhood and adolescence. It emphasizes treating problem kids in their own natural environment, and practitioners routinely use genograms to visually depict the stresses and sources of support in a teenager's life.

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Fearless Foursome

The Women's Project Prepares to Pass the Torch

Rich Simon

By Rich Simon - For two decades, the members of the Women’s Project in Family Therapy were the outspoken feminist conscience of psychotherapy and, with their humor and warm camaraderie, became beloved role models in a field that had long been dominated by male leaders.

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Three Tips for Boosting Your Clinical Wisdom

Strengthening the Therapeutic Alliance with Concern, Reflection, and Insight

Ronald Siegel

Within the older traditions originally inspired by psychoanalysis, self-knowledge had a place of honor in both treatment and training that it no longer occupies. The question our field faces at this point is whether this older tradition that revered clinical wisdom is still relevant. Here are some of the characteristics of wisdom identified by both researchers and therapists alike.

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Giving Therapy Clients a Little Push for Big Change

Balancing Long-Term Therapy Goals with Instant Remedies

David Waters

What first made me fall in love with being a therapist was the idea that I could make a living by having conversations that cut through everyday pretenses, got directly to the heart of the matter, and helped people change their lives. That was then, and this is now. Today as a profession---and as a society---we're much more fearbound and rule conscious than we used to be. Yet the sacred space of the therapy room is the ideal place to really exercise your creativity. It's taken me more than 30 years to realize that it's the combination of two strange bedfellows---imagination and repetition---that holds the key to change.

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Recovering the Lost Roots of Child and Family Therapy

Using Family Therapy's Origins to Fix a Broken Mental Health System

Cloe Madanes

During the height of the family therapy movement, the healing power of the family was respected, and medication and out-of-home placements were considered a last resort. For a variety of reasons, that era has passed, and countertherapeutic economic forces have come to dominate treatment decisions. We need to reexamine our values as a profession and rediscover the activism of the days when the DSM didn’t so thoroughly limit our perspective and clinicians were encouraged to think beyond narrow diagnostic categories and embrace the fuller complexities of human systems.

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Marianne Walters and the Women's Therapy Movement

How One Woman Brought Feminist Insight into Clinical Practice

Mary Sykes Wylie

Marianne Walters didn't invent a brilliant new therapeutic paradigm, publish a large and magisterial body of research, or establish her own unique school of clinical practice. Yet Walters probably had as great an impact on the overall clinical zeitgeist of family therapy as any of the master theory-builders and gurus. Along with her three comrades in arms---Betty Carter, Peggy Papp, and Olga Silverstein---she formed The Women's Project in Family Therapy in 1977, once called "the first, biggest, longest-running feminist road show." It was a combination feminist think tank and SWAT team, which, in public workshops all over the country, challenged the underlying sexism in some of the most basic notions of family therapy.

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