Neutrality in Family Systemic Therapy

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Master of Science Family and Systemic Psychotherapy Term Paper NEUTRALITY (A historical review of a theoretical concept/idea in working with families and couples) Submitted by: Cheryl Lim 13 April 2007 Counselling and Care Centre, Singapore The Institute of Family Therapy, London, UK Validated by Middlesex University, London, UK As a learning therapist, I am often being reminded of the concept of neutrality when reviewing one’s relationship with the clients. This gives rise to my interest to review the development of neutrality in the field of family therapy, its relevance in clinical work, and its value and limitations. To trace the origins of the development of neutrality, one would have to begin with the Milan…show more content…
Like a neutral therapist, the Bowenian therapist supposedly remains sufficiently detached, thereby staying on top of the situation. In the strategic and structural family therapies, the therapist’s position was not extensively discussed. However, there has been an emphasis for the therapist to be respectful and empathic in session. For instance, a structural family therapist, in order to produce change, needs to first join with the family members. In joining, the therapist conveys acceptance and respect of family members and their ways of doing things. In this manner, the Milan group’s concept of neutrality is connected with the structural therapy’s concept of joining. The intent for both therapists is also to allow the family members to listen to each other’s stories. While in neutrality, it is a stance that is undertaken throughout the therapeutic process, the structural therapist may move into realigning the boundaries and restructuring the hierarchies in the family. To achieve that, the structural therapist may at times align with one family member. This is where neutrality ends for the structural therapist. Into the 1980s, the Milan team splits into two pairs where Cecchin and Boscolo continued to develop their systemic ideas in clinical work, the concept of neutrality also took a different form. Along with the movement into post-modernism,

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