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Additional resources for Family-Of-Origin Therapy: An Intergenerational Approach
There are crises, impasses, and problems every step of the way; some crises, however, are serendipitous: Often much is revealed about the clients and their families as the preparation process unfolds. As a function of trying to get family members in, clients often discover things about their families and themselves that they never knew before. For instance, one client said she expected a refusal from her father, but that it was her mother who gave her such a hard time. Another client, who was the youngest of five sons and who had always seen himself as the weak baby of the family, began changing his self-perception when he found out his brothers were terrified of coming in.
When clients tell their family “The doctor wants to see you,” they are not taking the kind of personal responsibility that is required for a good outcome. Further, some present the invitation in a way that will elicit a rebuff. ” This father, to be sure, refused to come in. ” Sometimes it is hard to tell how the client saw to it that the family did not get in. On the other hand, there are a few occasions where, despite the client's great efforts, the family refuses to come in; but the greatest resistance usually lies 58 with the client.
Much more tragic is the story of James Wechsler, former editor of the Neiu York Post, who wrote a personal account of the suicide of his son in the book In a Darkness (1972). In the Wechslers’ efforts over many years to find help for their troubled son, they were systematically prevented from contact with the various therapists the boy saw. Only one therapist involved them in the treatment process, in multiple family therapy, but that effort came too late. Wechsler wrote, “We cannot avoid asking ourselves whether the course of events might not have been altered if, as at least some therapists now believe, we had not been excluded from participation in the treatment” (p.