When family dysfunction meets disease: How a therapy session transformed family patterns and helped a young woman improve her self-care.
Part of the appeal of the “chemical imbalance” metaphor is that it people don’t have to feel ‘guilty” about their depression, or problems with their kids. But it can keep both patients and therapists from getting to the all-important bottom of things.
Lack of curiosity is a dangerous thing–in medicine, therapy, culture. Trump’s manner of speaking certainly promotes “not knowing what you don’t want to know”. He is a disturbing model for over-simplified explanations and sneering at complexity or any level of sophistication or subtlety.
Dave: I have a long interest in patterns of illness in families. Much of my clinical work is involved in
Jazz Musicians As Psychotherapists: Music can healing force. Here jazz musicians are invited to “consult” to family therapy sessions. The results have been amazing.
Here are my reflections on a rather subtle, yet insidious family pattern characterized by invisible (unconscious) demands for false togetherness, the demand that all family members pretend to think the same. This enforced “togetherness” has a formidable, unyielding tone, suggesting it is not to be questioned.
Here is a second session from the family with “enforced togetherness” where one member is what I call “insane”; locked inside sanity, locked in unbending, pathological sanity.
Enforced “togetherness” in families, though largely unconscious, emerges in the way a family tells its story. It is not a unity which augments family spirit, it restricts. The restriction serves a purpose for some. The need for protection is motivated by a history of trauma or too much despair. But often a family member, usually a child, may be sacrificed to maintain this appearance of group unity.
Here’s a first session with a “misbehaving” boy that reflects the corrosive effect of “enforced unity” in families
Dave and Raluca Jacono (Raluca is a wonderful therapist/ friend of DK): We both responded similarly to the Nice Man video. ( See