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An accessible introduction to family therapy, in which an account of the Brice family's experience alternates with commentary on the process and its implications for patients and therapists. Napier and co-therapist Whitaker, believers in the family as a system of interdependent parts, met with the five Brices when teenager Claudia's battles with her mother became intolerable. Gradually they learned to recognize what Napier calls the steps in the family dance: mother and father avoiding both intimacy and confrontation; Claudia's victimized position in the triangle; son Don, at eleven, harboring false perceptions of his own strength; Laura, just six, decidedly quiet (and, some will charge, a questionable presence). Claudia's scapegoat status is quickly relieved, Don's arrogance is literally wrestled to the floor, mother Carolyn's self-esteem is upgraded on her own initiative, leaving the central issue of a cooled marriage to be resolved. Napier, wary of therapeutic dazzles which rely on technique (Atica, Rolfing, etc.), offers his own interpretations of Brice family events and discusses family patterns generally, referring respectfully to the work of pioneers like Bateson and Satir and comers like Salvador Minuchin. His own effort here tunes into the larger rhythms of psychotherapy, offering a more rounded and instructive view than Pomeroy's Fight It Out, Work It Out, Love It Out (p. 474).

Pub Date: Jan. 25th, 1977
Publisher: Harper & Row