Historical Article: Negative Explanation, Restraint, and Double Description: A Template for Family Therapy. Michael White (Australia)

About this Session

Writing therapeutic letters

In 1986, long before the field of family therapy knew much about Michael White, he wrote the seminal article Negative Explanation, Restraint, and Double Description: A Template for Family Therapy. The paper demonstrates his definitive move towards Gregory Bateson’s ideas to help explain his yet to be named narrative therapy practice. In the article Gregory Bateson’s notions of negative explanation, restraint, and double description are discussed. Michael writes: (the) difficulties that families often experience in the discovery of new solutions to problems are explained according to the terms of these notions. A map for therapy is derived that emphasizes the therapist’s contribution to the therapeutic system’s state of “readiness” for the discovery of new solutions. Details of therapist/family participation in the endurance of new discoveries are examined. An approach to the treatment of the context for childhood fears and obsessive/compulsive behavior demonstrates one application of this map.

Therapist

Michael White

Michael picture

Michael White (29 December 1948 – 4 April 2008). Australian social worker, family therapist and first editor of the Australia New Zealand Family Therapy Journal. Michael is the founder and creative ideological force of both the theory and practice of narrative therapy. To his credit he figured out and created the large majority of narrative…




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