If family therapy is like a camera through which clients are able to view their lives, then the treatment method used by clinicians could be considered the lens, offering different ways of seeing. In Metaphors of Family Systems Theory, Paul C. Rosenblatt explores the metaphors of family systems theory that form the conceptual foundation - the lens - of a great deal of therapy, research, theory, education, and policy making in the family field. He demonstrates the value of testing out theoretical or alternative metaphors - other lenses - to provide new perspectives and a fresh means of gaining clarity.
The literature that informs family therapy is rich with striking accounts of how therapeutic metaphors have helped to move families into healthier, energizing, freeing, and more satisfying relationships, yet little attention has been devoted to the development of alternative theoretical metaphors. This innovative new work investigates the uses and limitations of the standard metaphors of family systems theory. Perhaps more important, it also provides the means to generate alternative theoretical metaphors to stimulate new thinking about family systems.
Rosenblatt asserts that the capacity to recognize metaphors will enable clinicians and clients to identify biases, hidden implications, and reification, as well as what may have been overlooked. He shows the way this ability also helps us to organize and remember information, and to better appreciate the multilayeredness of "reality."
Initial chapters define metaphor and discuss family systems theory, as well as the uses and limitations of standard therapeutic metaphors. The chapters examine the notion of the family as an entity, the metaphor of "system," and the major systemic metaphors. Rosenblatt extends his analysis to the idea of family boundary and to the closely related metaphors of family subsystem, family boundary permeability, and family boundary ambiguity. He also analyzes the metaphors of family structure, systems control, family rules, and negative and positive feedback.
Later chapters apply these ideas to the metaphors of communication, therapeutic goals, the therapist in the system, and family response to intervention. Rosenblatt Illustrates new insights with a variety of experience-based metaphors and presents strategies for the evaluation and development of new theoretical metaphors for family systems.
Unique and innovative, this book offers a fresh perspective for anyone working with metaphors of family systems theory. Of special interest to family therapists, family researchers, social workers, and other mental health professionals working in the family field, it is especially useful as a text for courses in family systems theory, theories of family therapy, and theory construction.