Full Text

ethical issues in family therapy

Subject Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631170488.1995.x


The essence of all family or systemic therapies is an understanding of people in terms of their relationships with others: an individual is always considered as a member of a social group, usually, but not necessarily, the family. The family, in turn, is considered as a system in interaction with other systems, such as the neighbourhood, school, work and health and welfare agencies. In practice, however, the focus of the therapist's interventions has typically been on the family group, although, it must be said, family therapists seem to be well aware of variations in the definition and understanding of what constitutes ‘the family’. A number of ethical issues are raised when seeing people through this lens. Some critics (e.g. Reiger, 1981; Kingston, 1987) have argued that family therapy has over-focused on the family and that historical and sociological influences have too easily been ignored. Thus families can inappropriately or disproportionately ‘take the blame’ for behaviours which are caused or strongly influenced by wider social and structural factors: inner-city delinquency is one example. The French writer, Jacques Donzelot in his book The policing of families (1980) characterizes professionals who intervene in families in order to educate them or to repair faults as, ‘technicians in human relations.’ He argues that interventions into families construct the entities they ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top