Systematic Research on Family Dynamics

From time to time in the course of our family therapy project at the Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, outside professional workers observe the treatment sessions through one-way mirrors. These observers are from various professions, such as psychiatry, psychoanalysis, anthropology, research psychology, etc., and family treatment is usually quite new to them. Almost invariably their reaction is the same: they all use the word “fascinating” as they describe how caught up in the process they became. It is not clear to us why people get so involved; I have speculated that the strong emotional interchanges among the family members somehow transport observers back into the emotional ...

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