Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Neutrality of Therapist in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Scott R. WoolleyEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_541

Neutrality in couple and family therapy was first defined by the Milan group (Selvini et al. 1980). Since then, neutrality has primarily been defined as (1) the clients believing that the therapist is not aligned against any one person and (2) the therapist not internally aligning with or against any person.

Neutrality has also sometimes been referred to as a therapist not bring personal values into therapy or not taking a stance regarding client behavior. These ideas of neutrality have been consistently rejected as being both impossible and destructive (Fife & Whiting 2007; Doherty 1995).

Neutrality from the Perspective of Clients

Selvini et al. (1980) said that if a therapist maintained a neutral stance and after a session the family was asked whom the therapist supported or sided with or what judgments the therapist made regarding each individual or the family as a whole, the family would be “puzzled and uncertain.” (p. 11). Cecchin is quoted as saying if each family member was...

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References

  1. Aponte, H. J. (1992). Training the person of the therapist in structural family therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 18(3), 269–281.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1752-0606.1992.tb00940.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Campbell, D. (2003). The mutiny and the bounty: The place of Milan ideas today. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 24(1), 15–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Doherty, W. J. (1995). Soul searching: Why psychotherapy must promote moral responsibility. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  4. Fife, S. T., & Whiting, J. B. (2007). Values in family therapy practice and research: An invitation for reflection. Contemporary Family Therapy, 29, 71–86.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10591-007-9027-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Selvini, M. P., Boscolo, L., Cecchin, G., & Prata, G. (1980). Hypothesizing – Circularity – Neutrality: Three guidelines for the conductor of the session. Family Process, 19, 3–12.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1545-5300.1980.00003.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Alliant International UniversityLos AngelesUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Sean Davis
    • 1
  1. 1.California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International UniversitySacramentoUSA