The Functional Dialectic System Approach to Therapy for Individuals, Couples, and Families

The Functional Dialectic System Approach to Therapy for Individuals, Couples, and Families

MOSHE ALMAGOR
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 344
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttt0qq
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  • Book Info
    The Functional Dialectic System Approach to Therapy for Individuals, Couples, and Families
    Book Description:

    The functional dialectic system approach to therapy has been widely embraced and is now used internationally, with individuals, couples, and families. In this book, Moshe Almagor offers a comprehensive view of the contemporary system approach—from theory to practice—and shows how it can be applied to a variety of psychological problems and in a variety of therapeutic modes.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7851-8
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  5. THE KYBALION
    (pp. xix-xx)
  6. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. xxi-xxxii)

    Family therapy has gained its rightful place among the major therapeutic approaches as a viable and effective alternative. According to the system approach, the individual is not considered the focus of interest but part of a context, the social context. Glass (1971) phrases it poignantly: “Man is inescapably a social being; he becomes human only through interaction with others and the world he finds himself in. . . . To believe that the individual can achieve fulfillment as an isolated person is sheer folly” (170). For example, when an individual comes for therapy, the system therapist usually inquires about relationships...

  7. Part I. The System
    • 1 SYSTEM: NATURE, ROLE, STRUCTURE, AND COMMUNICATION
      (pp. 3-24)

      The system approach has its origins in fields such as engineering and mathematics. Theoreticians became aware that biological and mechanical structures did not exist in a vacuum but were related, and this led to the idea of a system.Oxford Student’s Dictionary for Hebrew Speakers(1993) defines a system as “a group of related things or parts working together” (782), so a system consists of at least two elements. These can be of diverse origins, such as chemical, physical, sociological, or psychological ones, to name but a few.

      Once formed, a system produces a whole, which is more than its...

    • 2 DIALECTICS
      (pp. 25-36)

      Pervin (2003) divides theories of personality in reference to a person’s behavioral motivation process into three categories:

      Pleasure or hedonic motives, emphasizing the pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain. Psychoanalytic theory (Freud 1964) ascribes its dynamics to instinctual forces (Rapaport and Gill 1959). These are reduced to Eros (the sexual instinct or libido) and Thanatos (the destructive instinct). The two instincts operate together and against each other, and they influence everything we do. The energy emanating from the instincts, or psychic energy, is used to achieve instinctual goals, namely maximization of pleasure, through cathexis, which is balanced by anti-cathexis,...

    • 3 HOW THE SYSTEM PROTECTS AND PRESERVES ITSELF
      (pp. 37-50)

      The goal of the system, once formed, is to preserve itself. This means that the system is able to fulfill its mission: providing its members with a sense of order, security, belonging, and identity.

      The need for system preservation supersedes the existence of its individual members. The well-being of the majority surpasses that of the individual. A family member might sacrifice himself to save the system.Self-destructive behaviors—such as failing academically, abusing alcohol or drugs, developing or intensifying a medical problem, and at times even threatening suicide—are common examples of how family members attempt to save the system. This...

    • 4 SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT AND LIFE CYCLE
      (pp. 51-68)

      The system is an entity that has a structure and interacts continuously with the intrasystem and extrasystem environments. This interaction leads to a change in the system, making it a process rather than stationary, so it can be understood only within a time dimension. Like a living organism, the system develops and changes over time. These changes occur in a systematic series of phases that correspond partly to the individual’s development. The change is not so much evolutionary as revolutionary. Transition from one developmental stage to another is likely to involve a life event crisis (Haley 1973) that demands a...

    • 5 HOW THE SYSTEM CHANGES
      (pp. 69-74)

      A change is a core concept in the system approach. As outlined earlier, the dialectic nature of the system’s dynamics entails change as an inevitable and continuous process. Nature and people change all the time. It may be difficult to predict the exact nature of behavioral or other changes, but we know for certain that a change will take place. Unfortunately, we cannot predict a particular and significant behavior of an individual, such as suicide or mental breakdown. Prediction of behavior at the individual level appears more difficult than prediction of behavior at the couple or family level. Often I...

  8. Part II. The Intake
    • 6 JOINING AND ESTABLISHING THERAPEUTIC ALLIANCE
      (pp. 77-100)

      This is a typical appointment-setting call. The future client inquires about the therapist, his qualifications, and his experience in dealing with the client’s particular problem; this provides the therapist with a clue as to what the problem is.

      It is also the beginning of the intake but not of therapy itself. This begins earlier, when the client becomes aware of having a problem. This awareness usually leads to an attempt to change the situation. Having concluded that things are still not working well, the client turns to the professional. This usually happens after a triggering event, the straw that breaks...

  9. Part III. Treatment Structure:: The Envelope
    • 7 THE ENVELOPE: JOINING
      (pp. 103-116)

      The preceding chapters dealt with the theory behind the functional dialectic system (FDS) approach and its application to problem formulation and treatment planning. Understanding problematic behavior, its function, and its dialectic meaning is essential for comprehending and defining the problem and for setting goals and planning therapy.

      The system’s structural aspect is particularly important because it constitutes an envelope for system dynamics and the therapeutic process. The structural elements are nonspecific. They apply to any therapeutic approach, not to FDS exclusively. They are closely related to and interactive with the application of any technique or therapeutic intervention. Creation of an...

    • 8 DISCLOSURE
      (pp. 117-124)

      Joining is a process of creating and maintaining a sincere relationship between the client and the therapist. The newly created therapeutic system is based on and functions through mutual trust. Trust in the therapist enables the client to reveal things about himself that he would not reveal under any other circumstances (even to the most intimate friend or spouse). It enables the therapist to be empathic and understanding and to use knowledge and experience to help the client. This openness is bolstered by the knowledge and assurance that information shared in therapy is kept confidential and will not be divulged...

    • 9 RESISTANCE: IMPEDING AND FACILITATING THERAPY
      (pp. 125-142)

      This chapter focuses on interference in the therapeutic process—not necessarily intentional or conscious, but nevertheless stalling, subverting, or blocking the process. Such interference takes the form of resistance, power struggles, anger, and stuck therapy. Nevertheless, the therapist can use resistance to better understand the client and to facilitate therapy.

      Resistance is defined as anything (done by the client or therapist) that blocks the therapeutic process (Greenson 1967). Scaturo (2005b) characterizes resistance as an unconscious intrapsychic influence that acts against the therapeutic process. Resistance results from the patient’s unconscious wish to avoid the anxiety associated with dealing with her traumatic...

  10. Part IV. Treatment Process:: The Dialectics of Therapy
    • 10 FUNCTIONAL DIALECTIC SYSTEM VIEW OF SYMPTOM AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
      (pp. 145-174)

      Chapter 9 dealt with the envelope of therapy, the nonspecific issues that facilitate, foster, and maintain joining and a working alliance. Joining facilitates inquiry into different, less familiar, or foreign terrain. The client in therapy understandably focuses on the negative, distressful aspects of life. The client’s ticket to therapy is the negative feelings and the distress or demoralization associated with his current situation. Exploration of the functional aspect of the symptom and the situation is far from the client’s mind at that point. In fact, if clients were initially able to see both sides simultaneously, they would probably not need...

  11. Part V. Selected Treatment Issues
    • 11 INFIDELITY
      (pp. 177-196)

      People marry to ensure provision of their basic needs for safety, security, belongingness, and identity. They create a system based on mutual loyalty that is expected to last a lifetime. The marital bond is based on trust, which is crucial for closeness, safety, and intimacy. The marital bond is traditionally secured by a contract and a wedding ceremony. The contract is a private commitment, and the wedding is a public one. The marital vows are made so that each partner publicly abandons the option of quitting the relationship. To preserve the system, society imposes a variety of sanctions (e.g., religious,...

    • 12 ADOLESCENT SUICIDE
      (pp. 197-216)

      A chill engulfs the therapist who hears the word “suicide” or the sentence “I want to kill myself.” The mind shifts to emergency mode. Priorities are changed, the wait list is waived, and the person is moved to the front of the line. The removal of the threat becomes the primary goal for the intervention. This is a life-or-death situation that is not taken lightly.

      We are in a profession that aims to improve life, ease suffering and distress, and make people happy. The idea of suicide sharply contrasts with these goals. As in medicine, we view suicide as a...

    • 13 ENRICHMENT AND FACILITATION OF THERAPY
      (pp. 217-230)

      The functional dialectic system’s construal of reality is not trivial and may be counterintuitive. Rarely do we find ourselves in a situation where we need to attend to the complexity of an issue and to the myriad possibilities emanating from extending and expanding our view of the issues. In fact, we often try to shy away from situations that appear complex, and we fear that they may complicate our lives. We usually leave the complex and complicated views to the experts. Only in times of dire need or when we are challenged do we resort to complex thinking. We want...

  12. Part VI. Termination and Follow-Up
    • 14 ENDING THERAPY AND FOLLOW-UP
      (pp. 233-242)

      The therapeutic relationship is a significant interpersonal encounter. As in any other significant interpersonal situation that we come across throughout our lives, we meet new people whom we happen to know quite intimately for a short or a long time. When the time for separation arrives (e.g., graduation, moving, changing jobs or workplace), we move on with our lives. We may stay in touch with some people or lose touch with most of them regardless of how significant or intimate the relationship was. The separation is not done without sadness and feelings of grief and mourning, but we accept and...

  13. CLOSING COMMENT
    (pp. 243-246)

    This book introduces a unique approach, albeit not necessarily new in all respects, integrating individual, couple, and family approaches in a way that makes the differences between them less distinct and enables the therapist to shift from one to the other with conceptual ease.

    That is not to say that the various approaches become equally easy to carry out. There are differences between the approaches that result from the different client constellations. Nevertheless, with the use of the functional dialectic system (FDS) approach, problem conceptualization is similar for all these approaches. The basic premise is that behavior is functional and...

  14. APPENDIX: THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPY CODE OF ETHICS
    (pp. 247-254)
  15. NOTES
    (pp. 255-258)
  16. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 259-292)
  17. AUTHOR INDEX
    (pp. 293-300)
  18. SUBJECT INDEX
    (pp. 301-308)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 309-309)