Therapy concerning the traditional family.

Dean Gotcher

The very method of therapy is destructive to the traditional family structure.  The following quotes from counseling material makes this very clear.

    "Much stress is laid on the creation of an atmosphere of freedom and spontaneity—voluntary attendance, informality of meetings, freedom of expression in voicing grievances, emotional security, and avoidance of pressure."  "Carl Rogers' emphasis on self-decision by the patient stresses the same point for the psychotherapy of the individual."  "A feeling of complete freedom and a heightened group identification are frequently more important at a particular stage of re-education than learning not to break specific rules."  (Kenneth Benne,  Human Relations in Curriculum Change)

    "Prior to therapy the person is prone to ask himself  ‘What would my parents want me to do?' During the process of therapy the individual comes to ask himself ‘What does it mean to me?'" (Carl Rogers, On Becoming a Person)

    "What better way to help the patient recapture the past than to allow him to reexperience and reenact ancient feelings toward parents in his current relationship to the therapist? The therapist is the living personification of all parental images.  Group therapists refuse to fill the traditional authority role: they do not lead in the ordinary manner, they do not provide answers and solutions, they urge the group to explore and to employ its own resources. The group [must] feel free to confront the therapist, who must not only permit, but encourage, such confrontation. He [the patient] reenacts early family scripts in the group and, if therapy is successful, is able to experiment with new behavior, to break free from the locked family role he once occupied. … the patient changes the past by reconstituting it."  " . . . a patient might, with further change, outgrow . . . his spouse . . . unless concomitant changes occur in the spouse."  (Irvin Yalom, Theory and Practice and Group Psychotherapy)
    "A group which reaches an autonomous decision based on a thorough exploration of the pertinent problems will employ all of its resources in support of its decision: Members must develop a feeling of mutual trust and respect and must come to value the group as an important means of meeting their personal needs. Once a member realizes that others accept him and are trying to understand him, then he finds it less necessary to hold rigidly to his own beliefs; and he may be willing to explore previously denied aspects of himself.  One of the most fascinating aspects of group therapy is that everyone is born again, born together in the group. He must help the patient solidify the change and he must encourage generalization of the change, from the group setting into the patient's larger life environment. How can one propose crisp, basic guidelines for a procedure which has such complexity, such range, such delicate timing, so many linguistic nuances. … herein lies the art of psychotherapy; it will come to the therapist as he gains experience; … As the comments become more complex and more inferential, the author of the comments becomes more removed from the other person; in short, more a therapist process-commentator. [The patient] bears the responsibility for the creation of his world, and therefore, the responsibility for the transmutation of this world. … the patient with a homosexual orientation often adds breadth and depth to the group."  (Irvin Yalom, Theory and Practice and Group Psychotherapy)

    "...we have described roleplaying as diagnostic method but it can also  be used as 'role therapy' to improve the relations between the members of a group."  "... the origins of my work go back to a primitive religion and my objectives were the setting up and promoting of a new cultural order." "Parents have no right upon their offspring except a psychological right. Literally the children belong to universality."  "I could well imagine a world of a reversed order, opposite to ours, in which ethical suicide of people after 30 or 35 as a religious technique or countering overpopulation is just as natural as birth control has become in our culture.  In that society the love of life would be carried to its extreme. 'Make space for the unborn, make space for the newborn, for everyone born, Every time a new baby is born make space for him by taking the life of an old man or an old woman." (J. L. Moreno, Who Shall Survive?)

    "Unfreezing. This term, also adopted from Lewinian change theory, refers to the process of disconfirming an individual's former belief system."  (Irvin Yalom, The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy)

    "Freud referred to ... the group's ‘need to be governed by unrestricted force . . . it's extreme passion for authority . . . it's thirst for obedience.' Among the strongest of these is man's need for an omnipotent, omniscient, omnicaring parent, which together with his infinite capacity for self-deception creates a yearning for and a belief in a superbeing."   (Irvin Yalom, The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy)

    "It is important that the therapist attempt to screen out patients who will become marked deviants . . . deviants because of their impersonal behavior in the group sessions and not because of a deviant life style or past history.  There is no type of past behavior to deviant for a group to accept once therapeutic group norms are established."  (Irvin Yalom, The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy)

    "Without exception, patients enter group therapy with the history of a highly unsatisfactory experience in their first and most important group--their primary family."  (Irwin Yalom, The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy)

    ". . . 'to expose the patient, under more favorable circumstances, to emotional situations which he could not handle in the past.  ... undergo a corrective emotional experience suitable to repair the traumatic influence of pervious experience.' (Franz Alexander, 1946 in Ibid., p. 25)

    "Through the therapist's continued willingness to verbalize and to confront the calamity calmly, patients gradually realize the irrationality of the feared calamity."  Ibid., p. 183

    "The therapist assists the patient to clarify the nature of the imagined danger and then ... to detoxity, to disconfirm the reality of this danger."  Ibid., p. 158

    He reenacts early family scripts in the group and, if therapy is successful, is able to experiment with new behavior, to break free from the locked family role he once occupied.  ... the patient changes the past by reconstituting it."  Ibid., p. 98

    "The theme underlying much of the research is that once you can identify a community, you have discovered the primary unity of society ABOVE the level of the individual and the family that can be moblized to take concerted action to bring about POSITIVE SOCIAL CHANGE."  Dr. Robert Trojanowicz, et al.

    "In the group not only must the individual strive for autonomy but the leader must be willing to allow him to do so. … an individual's behavior cannot be fully understood without an appreciation of his environmental press.  …one member's behavior is not understandable out of context of the entire group. …there is no more important issue than the interrelationship of the group members.  … few individuals, as Asch has shown, can maintain their objectivity in the face of apparent group unanimity; and the individual rejects critical feelings toward the group at this time to avoid a state of cognitive dissonance.  To question the value or activities of the group, would be to thrust himself into a state of dissonance.  Long cherished but self-defeating beliefs and attitudes may waver and decompose in the face of a dissenting majority. One of the most difficult patients for me to work with in groups is the individual who employs fundamentalist religious views in the service of denial. The ‘third force' in psychology … which emphasized a holistic, humanistic concept of the person, provided impetus and form to the encounter group …"  (Irwin Yalom, The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy)