Rewriting Family Scripts: Improvisation and Systems Changeby John Byng-Hall, Frank S. Pittman, Byng-Hall
Families can develop self-destructive routines so predictable that members seem to be following a script each coming in on cue as the plot unfolds. Such scripts can be altered, however, when therapists help clients learn to improvise new patterns of relating. This book presents an innovative approach to doing just thatincorporating into therapy elements of
Families can develop self-destructive routines so predictable that members seem to be following a script each coming in on cue as the plot unfolds. Such scripts can be altered, however, when therapists help clients learn to improvise new patterns of relating. This book presents an innovative approach to doing just thatincorporating into therapy elements of script theory and recent findings in attachment research, including those related to narrative. Developing a new attachment concept, "the secure family base," from which individuals can feel safe enough to explore and improvise new scripts, Byng-Hall shows how insecure relationship patterns can be changed both during and after therapy. Jargon-free and illustrated with detailed clinical case material, this book presents a comprehensive conceptual framework that illuminates the central issues of therapy practice with families, couples, children, and adults.
"I found Rewriting Family Scripts to be a very human book, absorbing, delightful and clear. It should engender a new era in the study of attachment in the family and should serve as recommended reading for all workers in the field." Mary Main, Ph.D., Leiden, The Netherlands
"What a pleasure it is to see children and the multi-generational family return center stage to family therapy. Byng-Hall's use of the metaphor of family scripts' is ideal: it captures the family's living complexity, families can easily understand the concept, and it fits easily with current interest in the narrative. The author's early work on myths and attachment at the Tavistock Clinic with the legendary John Bowlby has continued to be rewarding. This volume provides more that adequate coverage of the views of others, but throughout Byng-Hall stands four square on his own clinical and theoretical feet. Rewriting Family Scripts belongs on every family therapist's library short list." Donald A. Bloch, M.D., Editor, Family Systems Medicine
"This long-awaited book is the culmination of 25 years of practice by one of Great Britain's foremost family therapy practitioners and trainers....It is an eminently practical and accessible book and provides us with a powerful tool with which to explore the complex links among individual, interaction, and system." Bebe Speed, Editor, Journal of Family Therapy
"This text has been long-awaited, but like the very best wines, the maturity and richness that John Byng-Hall's ideas and practice has provided has made the wait worthwhile....John Byng-Hall reflects on the absence of attachment notions within the developing family therapy field, and illustrates that now that attachment theory has developed a research base to go beyond infancy through childhood and through adult functioning, it can now be brought back into a central place for family therapists, and this book is the appropriate vehicle....John Byng-Hall has brought in so many of his experiences into this book, both as a therapist and supervisor, as researcher, his work with developing the issues of parenting and parental control in adolescent units, his work in consulting to Social Service Departments, and in each he consistently links to the unifying notion of scripts. He elaborates the subsets of legends, and stories, myths, and explores the way that therapy and the therapist provides a secure base, he promotes change and improvisation, gives a comprehensive and up to date version of attachment theory and how such notions become expressed in the complexity of family life through his notions, through scripts, and the development of parenting scripts. All this is expressed in language which is clear, immediately understandable...Like most of the finest wines this book will stand out as a superlative vintage which will repay coming back to year after year for its wisdom, compassion and demonstration of extraordinary skill and care." Arnon Bentovim, MB, BS, FRCPsych, DPM, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, London
"Byng-Hall advances an effective means of observing and clarifying family patterns and suggests techniques for promoting change in various families. He presents excellent case examples and theoretical discussions pertinent to family dynamics. In focusing on both positive and negative family interactions, Byng-Hall gives professionals and family members a potent tool for modifying their styles of interaction. In sharing some of his own life stories, Byng-Hall lends credibility to the techniques he advances. Although this book is addressed primarily to professionals who provide family therapy, it offers insights to anyone interested in how families function. The author is sensitive to both the difficulties that families encounter and their strengths. While offering practical advice for effective practice, the book also presents a theoretical context in which to understand the underlying dynamics that constitute all families. The book serves as a valuable resource." Lorraine Siegel, Dept. of Social Services, White Plains, NY for Families in Society
"This is a delightful book, written by a master clinician. The book does two things. First and most importantly it provides the reader with an opportunity to observe this great clinician thinking about complex intergenerational problems with clarity and sensitivity which is nothing short of magical. Secondly, it provides a conceptual framework for thinking about family problems from an attachment point of view. The integration of these two fields has been long overdue, had never been adequately undertaken and this book represents a superb demonstration of what becomes possible when systemic and attachment ideas are brought together. The author achieves a level of integration between clinical work and theory which is rare in the clinical domain and exceptional in this particular field. All clinicians working with families should read this book and all those interested in attachment should study it carefully because this is where the field is most likely to grow over the next decade." Professor Peter Fonagy, Freud Memorial Professor of Psychoanalysis, University College London
Meet the Author
John Byng-Hall is a Consultant Child and Family Psychiatrist at the Tavistock Clinic. He has published widely on topics such as family myths, legends, and scripts; attachments within the family; adolescence; and the impact of chronic illness within the family. He has also presented his ideas at international conferences. He was trained at Cambridge University, University College Hospital London, the Maudsley and Bethlem Royal Hospitals, and at the Tavistock Clinic. He is a past Chair of the Institute of Family Therapy, London.
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