Historical Article: Human Systems as Linguistic Systems: Preliminary and Evolving Ideas about the Implications for Clinical Theory. Harlene Anderson & Harry Goolishian (USA)
The Harlene Anderson and Harry Goolishian article Human Systems as Linguistic Systems: Preliminary and Evolving Ideas about the Implications for Clinical Theory was one of the more influential papers shaping VSNT faculty ideas and the field of family therapy during the early 1990s. At the time their paper created a ‘stutter’ and both changed and influenced the evolving clinical theory by inviting the field to move away from thinking of human systems as social systems defined by social organization (role and structure) – and towards thinking of human systems as distinguished on the basis of linguistic and communicative markers. Hence, the social unit they saw family therapists working with in therapy was a linguistic system distinguished by those who are “in language” about a problem, rather than by arbitrary and predetermined concepts of social organization. They called the therapy system a problem-organizing, problem-dis-solving system. A must-read!
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