Volume 28 (2017)
Issue 3

editorial

Volume 28 Part 3 starts with the major paper by Martin Miksits entitled “Games of Imagining and Discursive Reflexivity in Systemic Practice.” One resonance for Human Systems here is the way the paper develops practical applications for both therapy and eco-systemic work with organisations. Although different in specific content this paper’s strengths are shared with the one by Chris Kinman in Vol.28 Part 2. It draws together influences from many sources, constructs a novel way of thinking and reports on his extensive practice of applying the framework in a variety of contexts. The category of Games of Imagining is a novel way of organizing therapeutic and consulting conversations that can expand the possibilities of practice and the creative use of imagination in the relationships we co-create with our clients.  

Martin takes the two paradigms of second order cybernetics and social constructionism as core to his systemic constructionist approach. While Chris Kinman offered a fruitful ‘meandering’ (his term), Martin adopts a structure founded on stages of sessions based in imagining and sense making. With our roots in KCC we appreciated the extensive use of CMM theory and the very influential paper on Domains of Action by Peter Lang, Martin Little and Vernon Cronen from the first issue of Human Systems in 1990. Illustrative applications in organisational and clinical contexts are structured in terms of three related Games of imagining: a transformation game, a solution game and an exploration game. An ethical dimension is introduced as “imagining reflexively invites insight into a system by adding knowledge of possibility which is shifting the morality of the system”. This claim is unpacked in detail in Table 1 for each of the games and we can only enthusiastically invite you to explore the detailed thinking and descriptive applications that Martin Miksits provides.

In our next paper Ferdinando Salamino describes A 'Kintsugi' alternative to attachment-based family therapy with adoption? Two clinical vignettes.” The Kintsugi strategy is a Japanese approach to repairing broken objects. Instead of attempting an invisible repair so the object becomes as similar as possible to its form before it broke, the fracture is made a focal point by using different material which may be more precious than that of the original. In the same way Ferdinando tackles the fundamental issue that adoptive families do not grow from the shared history of relationships (attachment or otherwise) from birth, by offering the “unexpected answer” that adoptive families do not belong together despite their troubled past, but because of it. This theme is developed by arguing that an attachment lens can lead to a focus on problem-saturated narratives of the past. Instead he demonstrates how a Post-Milan approach can be a basis for working with emotions and individual subjectivity. This is a challenging argument but as it is illustrated through two clinical vignettes the strength of the framework, and the sense of it as a Kintsugi strategy, becomes clear.

 

In the last paper of this issue, Esteban Ezama, Yolanda Fontanil, and Yolanda Alonso present their “Strategies and dysfunctions: Proposal for a systemic psychopathology”. This is another important paper and lucidly discussed by the authors. It is particularly relevant since the DSM-5 appeared and clinical psychologists started to discuss an alternative to describe how clients might present in therapy. What is in principal discussed here is so aptly described by the authors when they say in their paper: ‘The search for relational alternatives to the usual terms “symptom” and “disorder” leads us to a definition of “complaint” and “dysfunction”, and by extension to the psychological subject as “agent” (not patient) of the strategies that lead to success or failure in life’s undertakings’

Their sophisticated critique of DSM does not simply reject diagnosis but replaces it with a properly systemic interpersonal approach. Their core concept is that psychopathology and psychotherapy are not about symptoms, but failures generated by defective strategies. From this position it becomes possible to recognize the essential role of the person’s relationships and to propose a system based on identifying defective strategies which then points to useful systemic interventions. As with all of the contributions the complex ideas are illustrated by a detailed case example which make them easy to incorporate into our thinking and conversations.

Finally, Umberta Telfener, from the Milan Family Therapy Center in Italy, provides us with a review of the recently published book, "Interacting Selves: Systemic Solutions for Personal and Professional Development in Counseling and Psychotherapy (Edited by Arlene Vetere and Peter Stratton). Through the review of a book that focus on approaches to training/supervision in systemic thinking and practise, our issue moves to the 'transformational learning' experience in the process of systemic training - transformation of both our professional and personal selves - quite a promising closure for this issue.


Peter Stratton, Helga Hanks & Kyriaki Polychroni
Joint Editors
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Peter Stratton, Helga Hanks & Kyriaki Polychroni Editorial Access Fulltext (free) Access Fulltext (free) 
Martin Miksits Games of Imagining and Discursive Reflexivity in Systemic Practice Access Abstract (Free) Access Fulltext 
Ferdinando Salamino A “Kintsugi” Approach to Family Therapy with Adoption? Two Clinical Vignettes Access Fulltext (free) Access Fulltext 
Esteban Ezama, Yolanda Fontanil & Yolanda Alonso Strategies and Dysfunctions: Proposal for a Systemic Psychopathology Access Abstract (Free) Access Fulltext 
Umberta Telfener Book Review: Interacting Selves: Systemic Solutions for Personal and Professional Development in Counseling and Psychotherapy Access Abstract (Free) Access Fulltext 
Translated Abstracts Bulgarian, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish Free Access Free Access 
Showing 6 items