Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Contextual Family Therapy

  • Catherine Ducommun-NagyEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_361

Name of Model

Contextual therapy


Contextual family therapy


Contextual therapy was founded by one of the pioneers of family therapy, Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy (1987, first print 1979). It evolved out of intergenerational family therapy, which he had developed with his early associates, and from his seminal work on family loyalties (Boszormenyi-Nagy and Spark 1984, first print 1973). Contextual therapy is based on the postulate that fairness and loyalty play a major role in intergenerational family dynamics. It proposes that relational ethics, an ethics based on mutual respect and reciprocity, not on preexisting moral values, is a core determinant of close relationships.

Based on clinical observations, contextual therapists postulate that relational injustices and distributive injustices, which are the result of adverse circumstances, can have an impact on individuals and on families that may affect multiple generations. Conversely, they believe that fair giving and...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Drexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.The Institute for Contextual Growth, Inc.GlensideUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Molly F. Gasbarrini
    • 1
  1. 1.California School of Professional PsychologyAlliant International UniversityLos AngelesUSA