The Pathological Family: Postwar America and the Rise of Family Therapy - Cornell Studies in the History of Psychiatry (Hardback)Deborah Weinstein (author)
- Publisher out of stock
While iconic popular images celebrated family life during the 1950s and 1960s, American families were simultaneously regarded as potentially menacing sources of social disruption. The history of family therapy makes the complicated power of the family at midcentury vividly apparent. Clinicians developed a new approach to psychotherapy that claimed to locate the cause and treatment of mental illness in observable patterns of family interaction and communication rather than in individual psyches. Drawing on cybernetics, systems theory, and the social and behavioral sciences, they ambitiously aimed to cure schizophrenia and stop juvenile delinquency. With particular sensitivity to the importance of scientific observation and visual technologies such as one-way mirrors and training films in shaping the young field, The Pathological Family examines how family therapy developed against the intellectual and cultural landscape of postwar America.
As Deborah Weinstein shows, the midcentury expansion of America's therapeutic culture and the postwar fixation on family life profoundly affected one another. Family therapists and other postwar commentators alike framed the promotion of democracy in the language of personality formation and psychological health forged in the crucible of the family. As therapists in this era shifted their clinical gaze to whole families, they nevertheless grappled in particular with the role played by mothers in the onset of their children's aberrant behavior. Although attitudes toward family therapy have shifted during intervening generations, the relations between family and therapeutic culture remain salient today.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 280
Weight: 28 g
Dimensions: 235 x 155 x 21 mm
"At first glanceDeborah Weinstein's study of family therapy traces a very familiar path. Mental health specialists leave the institutional treatment of severe mental illness for the more accessible and profitable needs of middle-class families. Weinsteinhowevertakes us through new and interesting territories along the way. She demonstrates both the distinctiveness of her subjects' therapeutic approach and how that approach reflects important elements of postwar American society. Weinstein locates the genesis of family therapy in the same widespread postwar interest in systems that spurred the study of ecosystemscomputer scienceand urban planning."-- Theresa E. Runstedtler, American University * Journal of American History *
"Weinsten has produced an invaluable history of family therapy's professional and intellectual origins and convincingly demonstrates why it was and remains a radical change to the orthodoxies of psychoanalysis."-- Rebecca L. Davis * American Historical Review *
"Surprisingly, Deborah Weinstein's The Pathological Family is the first to examine the interventionsof the newly emerging field of family therapy in relation to these developmentsand as such makes a significant contribution to the scholarly literature on theintellectual and cultural history of the postwar era."-- Crista DeLuzio * American Studies *
"Weinstein... convincingly documents the historical production of the notion of family post-WWII... the author makes her points through concrete examples that will resonate particularly with mental health and social science professionals but also with interested readers in general. She evokes the mutual influence of cliniciansresearchersand theorists who addressed what they saw as the role of family in the development of mental illness and delinquency. Readers will find descriptions of one-way window observationfilms of family interactionsand dynamics highlighted in family sessions. The book will be valuable to those interested in family development and social work as well as psychiatry and psychology. Summing up: Highly recommended."* Choice *