This paper was presented at
Psychology: The Indian Contribution
National Conference on
Indian Psychology, Yoga and Consciousness
organised by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research
at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education
Pondicherry, India, 10-13 December 2004

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Aesthetics of change: How family therapy works

Asha Dutia — Mumbai

In this paper I will attempt to discuss the epistemological framework of systemic theory in Family Therapy, and the construction of an aesthetic base for understanding and enabling change. The either/or dichotomy is replaced by both/and duality in this context so that space is created for differences. It is how we punctuate these differences and how we include them in our overall understanding of human dynamics that sets the stage for change. Observing and making connections with behavioural patterns is the key theme of family therapy. Thus the relationship rather than the individuals becomes the focus of therapeutic intervention. The communication patterns that define the relationship become an area of interest for all the participants in this process, the therapist included. An awareness of this process, in T.S. Eliot’s words, requires “A condition of complete simplicity, Costing not less than everything”. Being a family therapist requires nothing less. It is only through a consideration of aesthetic principles, that change in its non-judgmental way occurs and influences all those in the therapeutic dialogue.

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