THERAPEUTIC CHANGE IN FAMILY SYSTEMS: A COMMUNICATION APPROACH TO THE STUDY OF CONVOLUTED INTERACTIVE PATTERNS
This dissertation addresses the issue of change in problematic family interaction. The main purpose is to integrate a systemic model of family therapy (the Milan model) with a systemic theory of human communication (the Coordinated Management of Meaning Theory, or CMM). The argument advanced suggests that CMM theory, which has developed within a research tradition, might aid in understanding the therapeutic process; particularly the therapeutic task of implimenting change using the Milan method.
Consistent with this focus, it is argued that a theory which emphasizes the reflexive relationship between the creation of a system and acting within that system provides an elegant and sophisticated method for examining dynamic family systems. This reflexive feature of socially created systems, however, is also what makes the study of and intervention in human systems problematic and complicates explanations of change. In the following chapters, the concept of structuration is used to describe the reflexivity inherent in all human systems. Structuration refers to the mutual dependence of structure and agency and is a concept that both the Milan model and CMM theory embrace.
In the second chapter, the Milan model of family therapy and CMM theory are presented. The discussion highlights the focus on reflexive features of human systems. It is argued that the integration of CMM theory and the Milan model allows for a different view of change--a view highlighting the creative and purposive nature of actors. The chapter concludes with a rationale for such an integration.
In Chapter III a case study is presented. This case describes an initial, qualitative attempt to apply CMM theory to a Milan style therapy session. This chapter provides an initial justification for the exploratory research proposed in Chapter IV. It suggests that successful therapy is therapy that moves family members from systems in which they see their behaviors as prefigured or influenced by higher level constructions to systems characterized by intentional behavior. . . . (Author's abstract exceeds stipulated maximum length. Discontinued here with permission of author.) UMI