Neutrality in Family Systemic Therapy Essays

3614 Words May 3rd, 2011 15 Pages
Master of Science Family and Systemic Psychotherapy
Term Paper

(A historical review of a theoretical concept/idea in working with families and couples)

Submitted by:
Cheryl Lim

13 April 2007

Counselling and Care Centre, Singapore
The Institute of Family Therapy, London, UK
Validated by Middlesex University, London, UK As a learning therapist, I am often being reminded of the concept of neutrality when reviewing one’s relationship with the clients. This gives rise to my interest to review the development of neutrality in the field of family therapy, its relevance in clinical work, and its value and limitations. To trace the origins of the development of neutrality, one would have to begin with the Milan
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The position of neutrality stemming from a stance of curiosity explains clearly the state of the therapist’s mind in conducting a session. The neutral therapist seeks to know each and every family member’s reality and not for the absolute truth. In the earlier definition of neutrality, it implied that to be non-neutral means one family member’s reality is privileged over the other. However, in Cecchin’s paper, he clarified neutrality in curiosity as taking the individual family member’s reality as one of the many realities and emphasized that the therapist has to understand the families’ beliefs and meanings that form their realities. By doing so, the therapist stops seeing the client’s reality as dichotomous. Neutrality then is no longer viewing issues raised as good or bad, right or wrong. It is to understand the meanings that family members attach to their experiences and the patterns that fit in their system. By adopting the attitude of curiosity, the therapist sees the family as a whole and takes away labels. Describing the neutral therapist as one who accepts all the perspectives presented by the different family members and not seeks out an absolute truth connects to the concept of multi-partiality contributed by Harry Goolishian. In order to be multi-partial or curious, the therapist needs to operate from a

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