By Rudi Dallos
A serious mirrored image at the rules that experience formed systemic and kinfolk treatment during the last years.
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Extra info for Interacting Stories: Narratives, Family Beliefs and Therapy
Iii) The system with a symptomatic member may be better described as an open, complementary one, with the power diferential between the symptom bearer and the other(s) escalating over time. A symptom can be seen as giving the symptom bearer some temporary token of power or influence on other family members. In the long term, the efect may be the reverse so that they become increasingly more powerless as a pathological identity and its many negative consequences are established. An awareness of the inequalities of power in families need not be inconsistent with an analysis of the systemic nature of symptoms.
She might suffer distress and humiliation . . but she controlled those situations and thereby controlled what was to happen. Similarly, her husband could provoke her to drink at any time, either by exhibiting some anxiety himself or forbidding her drinking. Each partner must make a contribution perpetuating the symptom and each has needs satisfied by it. [pp. 15-16] The link between attempts to exert control, unconscious communication, and symptoms is fairly clear and explicit here. The system is the way it is because it functions so that each partner has "needs satisfied by it".
How will they divide up the housework? when to have children? who will take the burden of responsibility for child care? and so on. Such broad questions, apart from the more detailed day-today-even minute-to-minute-decisions that face family members, suggest that we need to incorporate within systemic approaches an analysis of people as potentially autonomous, capable of reflecting on their circumstances, and continually making choices and decisions (Dallos, 1991). However, a dilemma is apparent in that despite our capacity to reflect on our actions and make our own choices, despite our best intention not to repeat certain behaviours in our relationships, we may find ourselves acting in the "same old ways".