I just finished two books for my Family Therapy class and I have to write a “process” paper on them. For all of you not in the touchy-feely type majors, a process paper is the equivalent of a book report. You still fluff your way through a process paper, but you fluff based on how you feel this book impacts you or may or may not impact your practice (or should I call it a ministry since I go to a seminary). I actually take these papers seriously because I am still fairly impressionable and naive, and the books I read often mess me up. Especially when you read about certain schools of therapy written by the founders of those therapies, it is hard for me to remain objective—their passion for their theory makes me want to believe it.
Without making this a long blog, which I am against, because people don’t read long blogs (they just say they do), I’ll just say Change by Watzlawick, Weakland, and Fisch and The Tactics of Change by Fisch, Weakland, and Segal through me for a spin. These guys come from early in the Family Therapy Movement (which many probably never knew existed) with some radical ideas. One main idea they have is divorcing their therapy from focusing on why something happens (“tell me about your mother” stuff) and focus on what is happening (what are your attempted solutions that keep failing). They find that more often than not, the problem is maintained by faulty solutions, and finding a new solution outside the usual set of unhelpful solutions is key. For you math or science nerds, their basis for a lot of this is the Theory of Groups and the Theory of Logical Types.
What does this all mean? Not much to anyone but me. Poor Monica has had an earful lately, especially when I start to apply this theory to theology, and even worse, to our marriage. For example, the other day she got mad because I did not answer her, and I told her it was because she wasn’t asking the right question (this is bad application of the theory on several levels). She’s heard enough about paradox, reframing, and mathematical theory to last her a lifetime. And yet, she listens like it matters, and that makes me feel good. In fact, she is so smart, because she uses these new theories against me.
Alas, this is a long blog after all. However, the remedy for a long blog is obscure quotes at the end, which is about the only part I read in long blogs.
“While we pursue the unattainable we make impossible the realizable.”—Robert Ardrey
“The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes the creative mind to spot wrong questions.”—Antony Jay
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