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Scott, R.D. (1967). I. Boszormenyi-Nagy and James L. Framo (eds.): Intensive family therapy. New York, Harper and Row, 1965. pp. xix + 507. 94s.. J. Anal. Psychol., 12(1):86-88.

(1967). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 12(1):86-88

I. Boszormenyi-Nagy and James L. Framo (eds.): Intensive family therapy. New York, Harper and Row, 1965. pp. xix + 507. 94s.

Review by:
R. D. Scott

Fourteen authors provide a perspective on the rapidly growing field of family therapy and research, a field which has been pioneered mostly in the United States over the last ten years. The title refers to families with a schizophrenic member and distinguishes a professional realm requiring serious commitment. From my own experience, once one has been gripped by the drama enacted in family sessions, one cannot be other than ‘intense’ and committed. The authors are clearly gripped and most of the contributions bear the marks of having sweated through it with their families.

It may seem extraordinary that these families, which are characterized without exception as being static, circular, dead systems highly resistant to change, should arouse such a degree of intensity, but it is dangerous work. The danger to the therapist is of being drawn into the symbiotic maw of the family. For this reason, two therapists usually participate in family treatment sessions. One can then rescue the other. In view of this intense involvement, the editors have wisely included three contributors who are not family therapists but who sat in on therapy groups.

The anthropologists, A. F. C. Wallace and R. D. Fogelson, give a more spacious view of the typical scene of therapists wrestling with families bound in close-meshed alienation by formulating ways in which sections of society manage those dangerous issues when a person's identity is at stake through the actions of others.

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