MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS OF NEW YORK
Our Theoretical Approach To Therapy
Therapy involves exploring person's various current socially constructed individual,couple, and family scripts and relating them to the social worlds in which they are anchored.
Social Constructionist therapist collaborates with clients to co-create new stories, new possibilities, new ways of seeing and being.
Together they work, fostering awareness and growth that will affect both. Their agreement is nothing more than to come together for a time: one human being to another, to work together to talk to each other about their realities and ultimately, through trust and mutual respect, they will "see" with expanded vision.
The process that is generated is one where both are motivated to mobilize processes in each other that will ultimately promote psychological growth and expand realities.
There is no therapist client dependency; both therapist and client are equal and they are both equally dependent, for all things are dependent on all other things imperfect balance; they have connected with each other on a different plane.
There is only process dependency and this is for both. The process works; they feel its power. Both know when it is operating because they become one, and like the particles and waves, they become each other.
They connect with a reality that holds no bounds, yet they feel their boundaries. At that moment they experience the human condition, and its force is healing, nurturing, and loving (See Atwood, 1995, 1996).
Our Therapeutic Approach is Based on Social Constructionism
Social Constructionism is the theorectical basis of our therapy. This is leading edge therapy. When weconsider knowledge is rooted in our way of seeing the world, when we accept a given item as known, we arealso accepting the validity of many rules for establishing the reality of truth as something that exists outside of ourselves.
Generally, we are unaware of these rules, or the particular "world" in which they belong. And generally we do not think about the means by which these worlds become established and how they can be challenged and overturned (see Berger and Luckmann, 1967 and Gergen, 1985).
The examination of such social constructions- - definitions of reality under which individuals and their families operate- - is the underlying basis of therapies rooted in Social Constructionist assumptions.
Assumptions of Social Constructionism
That we co-construct reality through language with another in a continual interaction with the socio-cultural environment. Thus, what is "real" is that which is co-constructed through language and interaction by individuals, couples, families in continual interplay with the surrounding socio-cultural environment.
that knowledge is a co-construction of a world through languaging with other people.
that there are no absolute truths and there are no absolute realities
that our inner world is a construct, colored by the past and our past is a construction.
That people who come for therapy are experiencing problems in living. They have tried many solutions- - most of which have been unsuccessful. The problems they report are not seen as being functional in maintaining their systems or as a manifestation of underlying pathology. They are seen as problems- - problems which have negative effects for them. The way that people language about problems is the way they can use language to co- construct a new story.
that people tend to re-create an image of their world by noticing behavior in others that confirms their self-definitions and definitions of situations and by selectively ignoring disconfirmatory behavior. Thus every description made by an observer is seen as a projection of themselves.
that through joining, the therapist creates an optimal safe environment in which change might occur.
that repetitive knowledge of behavior that is discrepant with persons' perceptual views will esult in changes in their perceptual views (Atwood, 1995).