Paradox and Counterparadox introduces the English-speaking public to the first results of a research plan drawn up my the Milan Center for Family Studies at the end of 1971 and put into practice at the beginning of 1972. The book reports the therapeutic work carried out by the authors with fifteen families, five with children presenting serious psychotic disturbances, and ten with young adults diagnosed as schizophrenics in acute phase. Though accepting the Bleulerian term schizophrenia, by now in general use, the authors have used it to indicate not the sickness of an individual-as in the traditional medical model-but a peculiar pattern of communication inseparable from the other patterns of communication observable in the natural group (in this case, the family) in which it manifests itself. Starting from the position that modern sciences concerned with communication emphasize the central role of paradox as the source of paralyzing disturbances as well as of creative transformations, the authors demonstrate that it is possible to intervene in a family in schizophrenic transaction by devising original and paradoxical methods in order to release the action-pattern from disturbance to transformation. The counterparadoxes generated in this process, illustrated through a great number of examples, are rigorously analyzed in accordance with the conceptual models provided by general systems theory, by cybernetics, and by the pragmatics of human communication. The reader will recognize, in the cases presented, the stimulating originality and efficacy of this approach, one whose interest exceeds the purely clinical and which offers new points of departure for an ecologic vision of human relationships. A Jason Aronson Book
This volume is a treasure chest of new and interesting ideas. The most luminous jewel in the collection is a paradigm, a new epistemology that takes seriously the revolutionary perspectives on human behavior introduced by Gregory Bateson, Watzlawick, Jackson, Haley, and others...Mara Selvini Palazzoli and her Milanese colleagues have labored with courage and humility and have provided us with a book of stellar magnitude.--Donald A. Bloch, M.D.
Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Working Method Chapter 3 The Couple and the Family in Schizophrenic Transaction Chapter 4 The Identified Patient Chapter 5 Therapeutic Interventions: A Learning Process Through Trial and Error Chapter 6 The Tyranny of Linguistic Conditioning Chapter 7 Positive Connotation Chapter 8 The Prescription in the First Session Chapter 9 Family Rituals Chapter 10 From Sibling Rivalry to Sibling Sacrifice Chapter 11 The Therapists Take Upon Themselves the Dilemma of the Relationship Between Parents and Child Chapter 12 Therapists Accept Without Objection a Questionable Improvement Chapter 13 How to Cope With the Absent Member Maneuver Chapter 14 Getting Around the Disconfirmation Chapter 15 The Problem of Secret Coalitions Chapter 16 The Therapists Declare Their Impotence Without Blaming Anyone Chapter 17 The Therapists Prescribe to Themselves the Ultimate Paradox Chapter 18 The Therapists Give Up the Parental Role, Paradoxically Prescribing It to the Members of The Last Generation