Volume 28 (2017)
Issue 2


These combined issues of Volume 28 Parts 2 and 3 have, at their core, two major contributions: one by Christopher J. Kinman and Martin Miksits. In addition we have three papers based on joint prize winning Posters at the 2016 Congress of the European Family Therapy Association (EFTA) in Athens, and submitted papers by Ferdinando Salamino and Esteban Ezama, Yolanda Fontanil, and Yolanda Alonso.

It has been a mission for Human Systems as well as a personal mission for Peter Stratton, to encourage wider perspectives by drawing on systemic advances wherever we find them. Quoting from our first Volume as far back as 1990: “Theoretical excitement has always been part of our field and it is interesting how close we have stayed to Bateson's inspiration by taking biological studies as sources of insight and metaphor. Recently other themes have been picked up: social constructionism is the most visible but sources as varied as the Frankfurt School, Foucault, the many approaches to analysing discourse, and a whole range of areas being tackled through artificial intelligence, are also being drawn on. This is not all a matter of systemic family therapists pulling in raw material from a widening range of sources. Most of these areas have come to recognise the necessity of a systemic perspective for progress within their discipline and so we are finding formulations which can be very readily incorporated into our own theoretical frameworks. One objective of the Journal is to make stronger reciprocal links with these areas so that benefits work in both directions and progress can be speeded by being cooperative. “ (P. Stratton (1990) Perspective: Why does systemic therapy need a new journal. Human Systems: The Journal of Systemic Consultation And Management. I. p.129).

Chris Kinman’s very substantial contribution to this Volume offers us a major opportunity to develop our thinking and consider that we take notice of other areas which shape our world - such as geophilosophy - while following the fascinating journey that he describes. Bringing together so many thinkers is a major benefit to our field. Not just the famous thinkers, but also the wisdom of the First Peoples of the Americas with whom Chris has worked over many years.

I cannot do better than quote from one of our esteemed reviewers, Chiara Santin: “This paper is a systemic celebration of voices, ideas, their tight relationship to their context and the power of connections between different layers of context including the physical and geographical word, autobiographical histories, history and knowledge of the land and life in its diversity of forms, a life of constant movement and change…. The paper takes a strong philosophical and ethical stance towards regarding people and services as strongly interconnected to their physical, social and political context, and challenges the commodification of people, relationships and human services”

The paper is both stimulating and enchanting as its structure is in the style of the course of the Fraser River (B.C. Canada), how it flows, bends, and receives from other streams. So that, as Chris says “style and content are able to reflect each other.” One of many learnings that Chris attributes to America’s First Peoples, among whom he lives and works, is the need for the self to be rooted in the land, the earth. He writes of the commodification of people, especially women, and nature. Of myths about drug addiction and alcohol abuse. He offers his unique wisdom about Bateson, Deleuze and Guattari, and his long-time friend Lynn Hoffman. Including elaborating on Lynn’s ideas about the thing in the bushes as the family being a tangled web of relationships between living and non-living things. After a diversion into Zygmunt Bauman, Poland 1940s, Prussia from 1867 and Xwisten First Nation 2013, Chris Kinman brings it all home to Massachusetts. And Alice in wonderland.

Perhaps I may end this commentary on an extraordinary article with a quote from our second reviewer: “The paper covers a wide and stimulating range of ideas, of the author and of other authors, in a truly systemic way. It definitely brings “news of difference” in the ways it juxtaposes so many sources and original ideas. I have enjoyed it and felt quite exhilarated to think that there are so many different ways of thinking which he has shown us in his writing. I would highly recommend that the paper be published in Human Systems in its entirety.“

There follow three papers based on the joint poster presentation which received awards by EFTA during its Congress in Athens, 2016. We felt this was a major achievement especially as it was the work of a large group of trainees, working together. Encouraging for another priority of Human Systems is that all three papers are based on research undertaken during their training. First, Mary Filia, Giota Gkotsi , Sofia Papageorgiou , Dionysia Regli, Konstantina Zougrou, and Athena Androutsopoulou with “ ‘Seeing eye to eye’: A qualitative case study of significant moments in a systemic group therapy session”.

This study, a qualitative analysis, concentrated on significant moments in a single systemic group therapy session which consisted of 12 participants including the therapist and a trainee therapist. Such in-depth enquiries into a microsystem often highlight fascinating material. It gives the reader the opportunity to become aware of how the systemic approach can be applied to group therapy. It also reveals how rich these sessions are and how we often are unaware of the rich descriptions which are occurring in single therapeutic sessions.

The second of the trainee research papers, Elena Amplianiti, Stefania Bafiti, Evgenia Dima, Filio Gkioni, Peggy Kandreva, Maria Kostala , Giorgos Sanidas, And Athena Androutsopoulou reports “‘Is that normal?’ Discourse analysis of an initial couple therapy session” .

Here we become privy to a 1st session of a couple which the authors used in order to undertake a discourse analysis and explore the relationship of the couple, their beliefs about themselves and the therapist’s role to help them look at other opportunities to define each other. A fascinating piece of research. The central issue in this paper relates to power and especially power in relationships. The un-equalness that often exists and can be overshadowed or even hidden by the use of specific/professional language.  This paper could not be more current in its content and shows how important it is to pay attention to this subject particularly in couple sessions.

The third paper from this group is by Athena Androutsopoulou, Despoina Biniori, Maria Christodoulaki, Peggy Poimenidou, and Katerina Zerma ‘Beyond the dark side of life’: Processes of theme co-construction and revision in a systemic group-therapy session.

This is another description of a systemic group therapy session showing how researching the verbal interactions of human beings can shed such light on the way individuals in a group come to speak about very private issues. The authors use the qualitative method to give an insight into the descriptions of group members when they are discussing personal issues which lead to ‘self disclosures’ and how people revise their thinking after discussion in a group.

Peter Stratton, Helga Hanks & Kyriaki Polychroni
Joint Editor

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Peter Stratton, Helga Hanks & Kyriaki Polychroni Editorial Access Fulltext (free) Access Fulltext (free) 
Christopher Iwestel Kinman The Thing in the Bushes. From Commodities to Ecologies – Re-imagining the Work of Human Services Access Abstract (Free) Access Fulltext 
Sofia Papageorgiou, Mary Filia, Giota Gkotsi, Dionysia Regli, Konstantina Zougrou & Athena Androutsopoulou ‘Seeing Eye to Eye’: A Qualitative Case Study of Significant Moments in a Systemic Group Therapy Session Access Abstract (Free) Access Fulltext 
Elena Amplianiti, Stefania Bafiti, Evgenia Dima, Filio Gkioni, Peggy Kandreva, Maria Kostala, Giorgos Sanidas & Athena Androutsopoulou ‘Is that Normal?’ Discourse Analysis of an Initial Couple Therapy Session Access Abstract (Free) Access Fulltext 
Peggy Poimenidou, Despoina Biniori, Maria Christodoulaki, Katerina Zerma & Athena Androutsopoulou ‘Beyond the Dark Side of Life’: Processes of Theme Co-Construction and Revision in a Systemic Group-Therapy Session Access Abstract (Free) Access Fulltext 
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