Volume 26 (2015)
Issue 2


Within the Editorial Board we have been thinking of this Issue as one of “Author Perspectives”. The great variety in the scope of this collection of papers seems to correspond to ways the authors have taken their own perspectives on a significant issue and offered a personal but very usable exploration.  Author’s Perspective became especially salient with the sad and unexpected death of Ray Traube in April 2013. He was an amazingly positive man, genuinely creative in his practice with a mischievous sense of humour but very committed to systemic family therapy in Switzerland and throughout Europe. He had sent me two papers just a couple of weeks before he died, asking if I could help him get them into a form for publication in Human Systems. We have been rather unsure how to deal with the papers but have decided that the theme of the current issue makes it an appropriate place for them. They are characteristic of his imaginative practice and imaginative writing. We have felt it appropriate to offer them in their original form and in French so as not to lose his style.

We start with Anna Varga & Grazhina Budinayte’s exploration of marriage in a post-modern era. They review societal processes that have changed the meanings and roles of marriage and attempt to discuss how therapists can take a more systemic understanding of the current tribulations of married couples. I am not totally convinced that the rise of post-modernism had a direct effect on the conceptions of marriage of the people we see in our clinics. Even so, it is effective in helping us to conceptualise and understand these changes. But when you read the article you may recognise a ‘Zeitgeist’ that has, through many different channels, brought substantial changes to traditional views. I was intrigued by the final post-script’s suggestion that there is evidence of a move away from postmodernism and the idea that this would bring with it threats to its achievements of such as “tolerance” and “pluralism”.

Chiara Santin continues the exploration of the effects of an ‘ever-changing socio-political context and a time of financial crisis’ on public services. Chiara takes on the task of unravelling the dominant discourses within children’s social services, with a focus on forms of power relations. The ‘author’s perspective’ is particularly salient because she presents the situation through the lens of her experiences in the system over an eight year period. We have a long history of struggle in systemic therapy with issues of power and here we have an illuminating analysis of different aspects of power during restructuring. It is a further strength of this article that after analysing changes in the services, it moves to making concrete recommendations about a functional systemic stance for anyone involved in such systems.

Michel Wawrzyniak and Samuel Rassinon move us from power to resilience, in the very particular context of a French court process in which a young woman came to confront her abuser, her father. The paper presents resilience as an emerging part of a systemic and contextual process while describing in detail the way different systems came together to support the victim. They describe it as a necessary convergence of the fields of social (child) welfare, psychotherapeutic care and the judiciary. The article describes in detail how the resilience of these systems became the resource by which the child could build her own resilience. In other national contexts we may be envious of the way the three components cooperated to support the victim.

Building an analysis based on experience is undertaken in the form of a qualitative research study by Katie Stuart, Cordet Smart, Rudi Dallos and Fin Williams. Their analysis of the treatment of psychological explanations by adolescent sufferers from ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’ and their families extends the valuable paper in this area by Crix et al 2012. Reading the paper I was impressed by the sensitive drawing out of underlying processes in the talk. Which are presumably well rehearsed and understood within the family but difficult for an outside listener to identify. Hence the need to use powerful qualitative research methods. In addition to the insights into how psychological talk is managed in the families, the report offers a model and valuable detail for anyone conducting similar research. Meanwhile the sensitive and detailed analysis of talk shows just how much can be learned from a small amount of material. Even outside the research context, this paper is a reminder of how a repeated listening to a recording of the first few minutes of therapy can be amazingly informative.

We complete this Issue with the two papers by Raymond Traube mentioned at the start of this Editorial. In the first he describes how, and why, this psychiatrist invited himself to dinner with the family of a child who is having and presenting difficulties. And finds the process not just therapeutic but much appreciated by the family. While this article perhaps has resonances with Chiara Santin’s description of empowering people at lower levels of the hierarchy, in his second article he provides a further alternative form of detailed accounts. He describes in detail a phase of focussing only on the child, using techniques of relaxation, a ‘directed waking dream’ and sometimes, subsequently hypnosis. We hope these two articles give some impression of the vitality, freedom from constraint and creativity that were so characteristic of Raymond Traube.

Crix, D., Stedmon, J., Smart, C. & Dallos, R. (2012). Knowing “ME” Knowing you: The Discursive Negotiation of Contested Illness within a Family, Human Systems: The Journal of Therapy, Consultation and Training, 23(1), 27-49.

Peter Stratton                          

Joint Editor                              

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Chiara Santin Dominant Discourses about Change and the Impact of Restructuring on Power Relations in a Statutory Agency in UK Download Abstract ACCESS FULLTEXT 
Katie Stuart, Cordet Smart, Rudi Dallos and Fin Williams Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: How Families Talk about Psychological Phenomena, a ‘Delicate’ and ‘Protected’ Topic Download Abstract ACCESS FULLTEXT 
Anna Varga & Grazhina Budinayte New Marriage Trends: The Contemporary Marriage Download Abstract ACCESS FULLTEXT 
Michel Wawrzyniak & Samuel Rassinon The Necessary Convergence of the Fields of Social Welfare, Therapeutic Care and the Judiciary as a Resilient System Resilience Factors in a Teenage Girl Facing her Sexual Abuser in a French Assize Court Download Abstract ACCESS FULLTEXT 
Raymond Traube Relaxation et Hypnose en Thérapie Systemique de l’Enfant Download Abstract ACCESS FULLTEXT 
Raymond Traube « C’est ce Soir qu’il Vient Dîner ? » LA VISITE À DOMICILE en Pédopsychiatrie Courante Download Abstract ACCESS FULLTEXT 
Translated Abstracts Bulgarian, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish Bulgarian, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish FREE ACCESS 
Showing 7 items