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ACROSS THE CORPUS CALLOSUM WITH CHRIS COLUMBUS

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Editor’s AbstractIntroductionCommon Reframings; The Unholy TrioDevelopmental ReframingsLoyalty ReframingsConclusionReferencesAuthor’s NoteACROSS THE CORPUS CALLOSUM WITH CHRIS COLUMBUS;OR, HOW TO PUT ENOUGH INFORMATION IN YOUR LEFT BRAINSO THAT WHEN YOUR RIGHT BRAIN INTUITS,IT DOES SO INTELLIGENTLY.SOME IDEAS FOR THE LEARNING OF REFRAMING. Michael Berger, Ph.D., Director of Intra-Mural Tra i n in g , Atlanta I n s t i t u t e for Fa m i l y Studies and Associate Professor, Georgia State Univer s it y, Atlanta, GA 30303.Editor’s AbstractTherapists using reframes will be more effective if they understand the theoretical and practical considerations underlying reframing.Common reframes such as the use of the “bad-mad-sick” frames are explored along with study of less common reframes such as developmental and loyalty reframes. Use of both left and right brain thinking for successful reframing is suggested.“But Somehow Fill the Silence with a Form”Michael VenturaIntroductionThis paper presents some ideas about the sorts of information that may help therapists invent plausible and powerful reframings. It is a beginning effort to answer the question which students frequently ask: “How do you come up with the ideas for a good re-framing?”It is important to recognize at the onset that reframings are tactics used to accomplish particular therapeutic goals, not ends in themselves. The aim of reframing is shaped by the therapist’s goals or strategies. Such goals I would argue, arise from the thera-pist’s mental construction (map, template) of his or her clients and how they would need to change in order for the presenting problem to be solved. Examples of consciously articulated maps include the following: change the sequences which embody the family’s current “solution” to the problem (Fisch, Weakland & Segal, 1982; Watzlawick, Weakland, & Fisch, 1974); eliminate coalitions which cut across levels of a hierarchy, especially covert ones (Haley, 1976, 1980); increase autonomy, strengthen the boundaries between the parental and the child sub-systems, and eliminate conflict detouring and protectiveness in families with a psychosomatic child (Minuchin, Rosman, & Baker, 1978). These naps set forth the goals for the therapist. In the pursuit of these Michael Berger1goals, reframings may emerge.Several assumptions about therapy are made in this paper. The first is that therapy is a context which includes a particular therapist, a client or clients, and a particular treatment setting (for the implications of this, see Berger & Jurkovic, 1984). Therefore,any class of reframings that can be taught to therapists will, In practice, be filtered through the idiosyncratic experience and style ofa particular therapist who is dealing with and responding to feedback from a particular family. The second assumption is that a good therapist will track and utilize the language of his or her clients. The third assumption is that any learnings or experiences thatIncrease a therapist’s ability to track and extend the language of his or her clients Is valuable (for the importance of supporting therapists in learning to access and value their own learnings so that they can use them deliberately with clients (see Duhl (1983) and Reamy-Stephenson (1983)).The common characteristic of re-framings is that they alter the definition of a client’s situation in such a way that the client’s presenting problem can be solved. While the number of languages in which clients could present their problems to therapists is theoretically infinite, In practice clients use a rather small number of languages (or frames) with which to categorize their presenting problem or their identified patient. Haley (1976) has noted how frequently the categories “bad”, “mad”, or “sick” are used in this regard; this observation has been confirmed by many other therapists. Given the small number of frames used by clients, therapists can get by in many situations with a relatively small number of languages with which to generate reframings. In what follows, I shall describe a number of useful languages which therapists may employ, give examples of their use, and suggest ways in which these languages can be learned.Common Reframings; The Unholy TrioHaley’s categories of commonly used frames (bad, mad, or sick) are not only frequently used by family members but are also major categories of reframings therapist use. As Haley himself has noted (1976), it is often useful to relabel a symptom from one ofthe above categories to another (e.g. from mad to bad, or from bad to sick). To give one example, in his work with psychosomatic families, Minuchin persistently relabels the anorectic’s not eating as being not the inevitable con-commit ant of an illness (an involuntary occurrence, a “symptom” in Haley’s [1962] sense) but rather as a willful refusal to eat which the parents must oppose successfully. This refraining (sickness to disobedience, a form of badness) is useful because it places her husband’s emotional insensitivity to her as being the result of a skill deficit on his part which was probably genetically based, that is, as an illness rather than as an act of malevolence or unconcern on his part. This refraining (bad to sick) placed the wife in the one-up position vis-a-visher husband, a position from which she could either feel sorry for her husband and therefore demand less emotional sensitivity from him, or could more clearly and loudly state her needs in order to compensate for his emotional tone-deafness.An ingenious variant of these re-framings has been reported by Goolishian (personal communication) as part of a restraint from change procedure with families in which the identified patient has already seen a multitude of physicians or therapists and has had a multitude of diagnoses. Goolishian interviews the family and the patient and then reports with excitement that the identified patient suffers from an extremely rare condition which he (Goolishian) has just read about in an obscure German or Australian journal. Since he is employed at a research hospital, Goolishian asks the family not to change so that he will have adequate time to study this fascinating and little-understood phenomenon. 1 have used a similar procedure with couples who rapidly engage in a series of escalating symmetrical encounters, telling them that I have never seen such a pure example of


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