“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
The famous line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet suggests that a name is of no import, no matter what we call something it would be the same. As practitioners we take a different perspective. By naming we make a problem accessible to change or turning and the name we select is central to this activity. For example, if we name someone’s conduct as angry and controlling we would think about change very differently than if we name it sad and powerless. This is the basis of reframing made famous in the field of family therapy by the researchers at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto in the 1960’s and explicitly by Don Jackson and John Weakland in their 1961 paper. The names we use influence our perspective about the problem, how it has arisen and what must be done to address it.
We don’t only name our clients and their problems; we also name ourselves and the activity in which we engage. We know that a practitioner who calls themselves an individual psychodynamic therapist will conceptualise difficulties and the process of change very differently from one who refers to themselves as someone working from a systemic or contextual perspective. One draws a boundary around the individual while the other suggests a perspective which includes all those who may be involved in the difficulty and is inclusive of family, non-family and the helping system inclusive of the practitioner.
At Bower Place we have traditionally referred to ourselves as systemic practitioners, a term which has been used interchangeably with family therapy. However we have been debating the use of the term contextual, a more ordinary and accessible word which points directly to the attention paid to the whole world of the client; from the family, extended family, social circle and helper system. Perhaps we will decide we are systemic contextual practitioners.
Upcoming workshop – Emotional Dysregulation
“A neuro-political approach to therapy with emotionally & behaviourally dysregulated children, adolescents & families”
A one-day workshop, combining clinical expertise, knowledge and training within the Bower Place Complex Needs Clinic. An opportunity to explore research drawing on live clinical practice.
21st June 2019 – 9.30am to 5pm.
Cost $190 for full day training with Senior Practitioners in the field and Bower Place Directors Catherine Sanders and Malcolm Robinson