No other book in the field so fully combines vivid clinical examples, specific details of technique, and mature perspectives on both effectively functioning families and those seeking therapy. The views and strategies of a master clinician are presented here in such clear and precise form that readers can proceed directly from the book with comparisons and modifications to suit their own styles and working situations.
Salvador Minuchin presents six chapter-length transcripts of actual family sessions—two devoted to ordinary families who are meeting their problems with relative success; four concerned with families seeking help. Accompanying each transcript is the author’s running interpretation of what is taking place, laying particular stress on the therapist’s tactics and maneuvers.
These lively sessions are interpreted in a brilliant theoretical analysis of why families develop problems and what it takes to set them right. The author constructs a model of an effectively functioning family and defines the boundaries around its different subsystems, whether parental, spouse, or sibling. He discusses ways in which families adapt to stress from within and without, as they seek to survive and grow.
Dr. Minuchin describes methods of diagnosing or “mapping” problems of the troubled family and determining appropriate therapeutic goals and strategies. Different situations, such as the extended family, the family with a parental child, and the family in transition through death or divorce, are examined. Finally, the author explores the dynamics of change, examining the variety of restructuring operations that can be employed to challenge a family and to change its basic patterns.
There is no doubt that Minuchin has written a splendid book on family therapy. His thoughts are presented clearly and systematically, without short-changing conceptual and clinical sophistication. The book is a rounded, self-contained statement of structural family therapy that has much to teach the advanced therapist, of whatever theoretical persuasion, and perhaps equally as much to teach the beginner.
Families and Family Therapy is far and away the most important single unified book to have emerged to date from the field of family therapy. Published by Harvard University Press, it is a landmark textbook that will greatly facilitate the task of the teacher of family therapy and theory. The student who is learning to work with families will find it easy to understand, fascinating, and richly rewarding at many levels… [Minuchin] has combined the most sophisticated of conceptual approaches with simple, direct exposition, achieving a creative synthesis that, in this reviewer's opinion, will stand as the definitive textbook in this field for perhaps another generation… Among family therapists, Minuchin is recognized as a most original innovator, a superb clinician, and an outstanding teacher. He has been able to transmit all of his background and experience into this excellent book. Anyone who has a serious interest in family therapy today will want to have and to know this book.
This book is simply magnificent. Both novice and experienced family therapists can learn much from it. Just as Dr. Minuchin becomes quickly engaged with families, so the reader will become quickly engaged with his book. This will be a major and lasting contribution to the field of family study and therapy. I for one will make it standard reading with my students, psychiatric residents, and other trainees, as well as faculty.
This book will be interesting to a variety of readers, and particularly useful for mental health professionals working with groups, family counselors interested in the dynamic of family process, and scholars of social psychiatric phenomena.
[The book], developed out of Salvador Minuchin's acute clinical observations, presents a map of structural theory and a set of guidelines which have led to astonishingly effective changes in dysfunctional families. What may seem simple in Minuchin's approach is often uncommon common sense or the deep clinical wisdom that emerges out of intensive, repetitive study of family interactions and communications.
- Harvard University Press
From this author
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