The Intimacy Paradox: Personal Authority in the Family System

Overview

Although most people physically leave home by their early 20s, emotional separation from one's family is a more difficult process that can continue for a lifetime. This acclaimed book addresses the struggle of adults to establish autonomy without sacrificing family connections. Donald S. Williamson presents personal authority therapy, an approach designed to simultaneously foster individual development and family-of-origin intimacy. Therapists are taken step by step through conducting individual, couple, and ...

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Overview

Although most people physically leave home by their early 20s, emotional separation from one's family is a more difficult process that can continue for a lifetime. This acclaimed book addresses the struggle of adults to establish autonomy without sacrificing family connections. Donald S. Williamson presents personal authority therapy, an approach designed to simultaneously foster individual development and family-of-origin intimacy. Therapists are taken step by step through conducting individual, couple, and small group sessions that culminate in several sessions with each client and his or her parents. Writing with sensitivity and humor, the author demonstrates effective ways to help adult children construct new personal and family narratives, resolve intergenerational intimidation, and enjoy healthier, more equal relationships with parents and significant others.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

"Any person who has ever seen or heard Don Williamson speak knows he is a master at melding his personal life with his theoretical and therapeutic work. In The Intimacy Paradox, Williamson has succeeded in writing what he does so well in his presentations. This book is the authoritative work on the concept of personal authority in the family system."--Journal of Marital and Family Therapy
AFTA Newsletter

"An interesting, theoretically sophisticated, and useful guide."--AFTA Newsletter
Contemporary Psychology

"Williamson is utterly persuasive when making the case that achieving wholeness of the self cannot be best built on separation of that self from the parents of origin....He makes his points in a context of respect for the client, the client's spouse, and the client's parents—albeit a context that is open to play and humor and not taking itself too seriously. Williamson not too seriously does very serious work."--Contemporary Psychology
From the Publisher

"This fascinating and provocative book reflects a wide and deep understanding of systems ideas. Williamson asks the question: How does one leave home emotionally and yet remain lovingly connected with one's family of origin?' Drawing from many different conceptual frameworks, Williamson revises Bowen's concept of differentiation as the life cycle stage of developing 'personal authority'--a concept that combines differentiation and intimacy. His is a thought-provoking and controversial view, well presented--an unabashedly how-to book, full of humor and clinical nuggets as well as profound ideas about how mid-life adults can make a political shift in their family relationships, through which they come to relate to their 'former parents' as peers."--Monica McGoldrick, M.S.W.

"In this illuminating and intriguing book, Williamson articulates his well delineated ideas on how to intervene to promote the co-evolution of self-differentiation from the family of origin with the establishment of closeness as an adult within the family system. His comprehensive model, derived from long years of clinical and supervisory experiences and analytic reflections on these experiences, is presented in a compelling, highly readable fashion. Important reading for anyone interested in intimate and dynamically evolving personal relationships.' --Florence Kaslow, Ph.D.

"An excellent and thoughtful text--clearly written. A good tool for students' reflection on their family of origin." --Joseph Horak, Wayne State University (Grand Rapids Satellite), Graduate School of Social Work, Grand Rapids, Michigan

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572308152
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2002
  • Series: Guilford Family Therapy Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 305
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.14 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author


Donald S. Williamson, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine
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Table of Contents


I. Personal Authority Theory
1. Personal Authority in the Family System: An Overview
2. Background Theoretical Assumptions
3. Personal Authority: The Construct in Theoretical Context
II. Personal Authority Method: The Play's the Thing
4. Setting the Scene: Playful Interventions as a Method of Therapy
5. Auditioning and Casting: Background Preparations for the Conversations with Parents
6. Black Out Sketches: The Group at Play
7. The Rehearsal: Preparing the Client for Political Renegotiations with Parents
8. Scheduling the Performance and Contract Negotiating with the Players
9. Writing the Script: The In-Office Agenda for the Primary Triangle/m-/
Part 1. The Parents Speak
10. Writing the Script: The In-Office Agenda for the Primary Triangle/m-/
Part 2. The Client Responds and the Consultant Reflects
11. Performing Outdoors: New Life at the Graveyard/m-/Renegotiation with a Deceased Former Parent
12. Production Problems: Limitations to the Method
III. Personal Authority Contextual Issues
13. Personal Authority: The Personal Story
14. Personal and Professional Authority in Professional Life
15. Personal Authority, Professional Authority, and Physical Health
16. Personal Authority and Gender Differences: Typecasting, Linda M. Walsh
17. Beyond Personal Authority
IV. Personal Authority Research
18. The Personal Authority in the Family System Questionnaire: Assessment of Intergenerational Family Relationships, James H. Bray
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