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Gardner, L. (1977). Systems of Family and Marital Psychotherapy. A. C. Robin Skynner. New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1976. 360 pp. + Appendixes.. Psychoanal. Rev., 64(2):311-312.

(1977). Psychoanalytic Review, 64(2):311-312

Book Reviews

Systems of Family and Marital Psychotherapy. A. C. Robin Skynner. New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1976. 360 pp. + Appendixes.

Review by:
Leonard Gardner

Family therapy is similar to individual therapy in that both fields contain a wide spectrum of theoretical perspectives and therapeutic techniques: Freudian, neo-Freudian, and non-Freudian. However, the two fields differ in that the practitioners of family therapy seem more responsive to theoretical diversity, indeed, more excited by that diversity than their counterparts in dyadic therapy, who more frequently tend to exhibit qualities of parochialism and orthodoxy. Why this difference exists is probably due to a number of reasons, some having to do with the distinctive character of the respective therapeutic enterprises themselves, others with historical conisderations.

It is certainly the case that the major theoretical developments in psychotherapy have taken place in the context of the therapeutic dyad and that much of family—and group—therapy theory is an extenison of what has been learned in the dyadic relation. If practitioners of dyadic therapy appear to be “parochial” and “orthodox,” that posture may indeed be necessary to the systemtic development of a theory. On the other hand, the willingness of family therapists to employ multiple theoretical perspectives very likely results from the historical circumstance in which many child therapists—who had been trained in the classical psychoanalytic mode and in ego-psychological theory—found themselves in need of additional conceptual tools as their work with children led them into considerations of the total family constellation.

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