A Galveston Declaration

Family Therapy is experiencing another significant transformation!

A Galveston Declaration

Family Therapy is experiencing another significant transformation!

Family Therapy is experiencing another significant transformation!

A Galveston Declaration

Family Therapy is experiencing another significant transformation!

 

Family Therapy started in the 1960s as an exciting and innovative field that developed into a very generative paradigm for working with human systems.  Persons were seen less as individuals and more as a component part of a dynamic family system. For several decades the construct and practice of family therapy became one rallying point for an international community of creative professionals.  However, it no longer exists as a singular source of inspiration.  The field of family therapy has reached a plateau, and the idea of family therapy is now at risk for constraining further innovative developments. We believe it is time to liberate ourselves from such constraints and move more fully into the flourishing of alternative understandings of persons and communities in relationship.


The traditional experience of “family” is also transforming.  In the 1960s people largely made up their lives and identities within their work and family systems.  These days, the interactions through which people construct their lives and identities are much wider, spanning peer groups, online buddies, colleagues, social media contacts, socioeconomic conditions, genders, ethnicities, racial differences, religions, politics and policies, as well as within families.  We want to explicitly leave behind the notion of family as the primary social unit for understanding persons in context. Families are only small parts of many much larger overlapping socio-cultural human systems.


“Therapy” is also transforming.  The word therapy implies sickness, deficit, dysfunction, and/or wrongness that needs to be cured or to change, and has all too often contributed to processes of objectifying, pathologizing, and/or diminishing others in hierarchical power structures of helper/helped relationships. Many of us who have grown up professionally in the context of family therapy now stand against these processes as much as possible, and instead stand for more mutual recognition, mutual acceptance, mutual learning, and mutual acknowledgement. In addition, much of our work is now done outside contexts labelled as therapy – including social work, coaching, team development, education, recovery - anywhere where people are looking to move forward.


So in this sense, family therapy may be experiencing another significant transformation.  A blossoming collection of empowering practices have emerged which build upon many ideas from family therapy.  While these practices have various names (narrative, collaborative, solution-focused, systemic, feminist, multicultural, justice-focused, etc.), we believe they jointly aspire towards many of the preferred values outlined below.  We would like to propose a shift in our collective identity and priorities from ‘family therapy’ to a yet-unnamed cluster of preferred attitudes, values, and interpersonal commitments.  Some of these values are listed below.  They are deliberately organized and presented in contrasting counterpart pairs.  While we accept a both/and perspective and acknowledge legitimate ethical enactment of either counterpart in particular circumstances, we explicitly embrace a clear preference for the counterpart on the left hand side more than the one on the right hand side.


This statement of values is presented in four categories, to help the reader navigate and explore them.  The four categories speak to the notion of choice in the context of social heterogeneity.  While there may be many ways of looking and seeing, some are more preferable in relation to the ultimate human goal of creating a sustainable ecology for human growth and development.  The first category (pluralism) is about preferred ways to handle differences of view, giving more value to the personal, and acknowledging difference.  The second category (flux) is about preferred ways of being in the world, as well as preferred ways of facilitating the becoming (by which we mean the growth and development toward ecologically valid preferences) of others, as opposed to assuming that aspects are fixed and unchangeable.  The third category (opening space) is about the value of expanding choice for those we work with, as against imposing our own choices and assumptions.  The fourth category (responsibility) is about preferred ways of enacting an ethic of care at the social level by looking for efficacy and possibility rather than dysfunction and deficit.


Table 1
Declaration of values


We Value This:More Than This:
PLURALISM – differences of viewSINGULARITY - of view
1. Acknowledging multiple “truths”1. Holding to a singular firm belief
2. Responsiveness to particularities in context2. Applying generalities (including diagnosis)
3. Exploring multiple social realities3. Searching for a single reality
4. Exploring multiple cultures, contexts, interactions and influences4. Privileging specific cultures and contexts over others
FLUX – differences of stateSTATIC - fixed states
1. Facilitating the emergence of new identities1. Stabilizing fixed or rigid identity/identities
 2. Regarding “every interaction as mutual influence”2. Assuming “neutrality and objectivity” with potential for unidirectional influence
3. Recognizing people as persons embedded in relationships3. Treating people as separate individuals
4. Experimenting with transformational restorative justice practices 4. Implementing traditional retributive justice practices
OPENING SPACE – expanding choiceCLOSING SPACE – removing choice
1. Living with curiosity1. Living with certainty
2. Opening space for enlivened possibilities2. Closing space for problems to persist
3. Inviting others to entertain change3. Imposing change interventions upon others
4. Proactively including others (while respecting their possible choice to remain apart)4. Passively and/or actively excluding others from participating
RESPONSIBILITY– generativityDEFICIT FOCUS – constraint
1. Noticing resources, competencies, and possibilities1. Identifying and diagnosing deficits, dysfunctions, and limitations for correction
2. Anticipating potential effects of resource use and developing sustainable ecologies      2. Utilizing profitable resources without consideration of the consequences 
3. Assuming collective responsibility and accountability3. Projecting responsibility and specifying to whom it belongs; judging others
4. Enacting an ethics of caring and privileging restorative justice4. Applying moral judgements and retributive justice


We are sharing this declaration as an invitation for individuals, groups, service agencies, and other organizations who in the past may have identified with ‘family therapy’, or who simply feel their work embraces these values, to sign on, stand with us and contribute to this shift.  By striving to live and work more consistently with these preferred values in our personal lives, in our work places, in our communities, and in our organizations, we hope to contribute towards better worlds both locally and globally.  Some next steps could be to identify possible concrete manifestations of these values, or to propose a process or steps, in the spirit of the declaration, that we as a community could undertake.


We, the undersigned, endeavour to work with these values in mind.  We invite you to add your signature to ours below, and invite your colleagues and contacts to consider doing the same.

318 SIGNATURES & COUNTING +++

AND COUNTING +++
  • Tomas Horak
    Switzerland

    Signed

  • Mike Edwards
    Canada

    Signed

  • Rev. William A. Bauzo, M.Div., M.A., LMFT
    United states

    Signed

  • Louis Cauffman
    Belgium

    Signed

  • Gonzalo Bacigalupe
    United states

    Signed

  • Katherine Manners
    United states

    Signed

  • Joseph Winn LICSW
    United states

    Signed

  • Joseph Winn LICSW
    United states

    Signed

  • Jeremiah Gibson
    United states

    Signed

  • Jason Kae-Smith
    United states

    Signed

  • Kifferie Corley
    United states

    Signed

  • Julie Vinci
    United states

    Signed

  • Thais Avila
    Mexico

    Signed

  • Joshua Mark
    United states

    Signed

  • Michael Flanagan
    Ireland

    Signed

  • Simone Köhler
    Germany

    Signed

  • Marsha Vaughn
    United states

    Signed

  • Jacqueline Gagliardi
    United states

    Signed

  • Marcela polanco
    United states

    Signed

  • Liz Morrigan
    Australia

    Signed

  • Andres Nazario
    United states

    Signed

  • Amy DiGennaro
    United states

    Signed

  • Flavia Almonte
    United states

    Signed

  • Rachel Samuel
    United kingdom

    Signed

  • Bernadette Solorzano
    United states

    Signed

  • Chip Chimera
    United kingdom

    Signed

  • Peter Lehmann
    United states

    Signed

  • Bill Madsen
    United states

    Signed

  • Luis Antonio Guerrero
    Mexico

    Signed

  • Andrew Frager
    United states

    Signed

  • Shona Russell
    Australia

    Signed

  • Matt Erb
    United states

    Signed

  • Randi Cowdery
    United states

    Signed

  • Thomas W. Blume
    United states

    Signed

  • Kristen Benson
    United states

    Signed

  • Christopher Iwestel Kinman
    Canada

    Signed

  • Sue Levin
    United states

    Signed

  • Pam B. Smith
    United states

    Signed

  • Chris Hall
    United states

    Signed

  • Dragana Ilic
    United states

    Signed

  • Rachel Dash
    United states

    Signed

  • Diana Rico
    Mexico

    Signed

  • Enrique Puebla
    Chile

    Signed

  • Nelly Chong Garcia
    Peru

    Signed

  • David Marsten
    United states

    Signed

  • Makungu M. Akinyela
    United states

    Signed

  • Makungu M. Akinyela
    United states

    Signed

  • Rosy De Prado
    United states

    Signed

  • Joel Simon
    United states

    Signed

  • Fredrike Bannink
    Netherlands

    Signed

  • Julie Tilsen
    United states

    Signed

  • Carlo perfetto
    Italy

    Signed

  • Bailey hattox
    United states

    Signed

  • Andreas Höher
    Austria

    Signed

  • Mariana Gracindo Trajano
    Brazil

    Signed

  • Gregory Lease
    United states

    Signed

  • Julie-Anne Geddes
    Australia

    Signed

  • Dayna Sharp
    United states

    Signed

  • Lúcia Helena Abdalla
    Brazil

    Signed

  • Fizzy Oppe
    United kingdom

    Signed

  • Leticia Uribe
    Mexico

    Signed

  • Jyotsana Uppal
    United arab emirates

    Signed

  • Gavin Anderson
    Canada

    Signed

  • Elizabeth Brenner
    United states

    Signed

  • Stephane Kovacs
    France

    Signed

  • Peter johnson
    New zealand

    Signed

  • Jan Herreman
    Belgium

    Signed

  • Agnes Boedt
    Belgium

    Signed

  • Rodrigo Murguía Rodríguez
    Mexico

    Signed

  • Marian Jenkins
    United kingdom

    Signed

  • Rhonda George
    United states

    Signed

  • Peter Sundman
    Finland

    Signed

  • Dominic Hiles
    United kingdom

    Signed

  • Jane Tuomola
    Finland

    Signed

  • Alejandro Contreras Nuño
    Mexico

    Signed

  • Orsolya Szechey
    Norway

    Signed

  • Lawrence Levner
    United states

    Signed

  • Lynda Ashbourne
    Canada

    Signed

  • Catherine Hanenberg
    Canada

    Signed

  • Carey McIver
    Australia

    Signed

  • James Barrett
    Ireland

    Signed

  • Teri Pichot
    United states

    Signed

  • Heleni-Georgia Andreadi
    United kingdom

    Signed

  • Jessica
    United kingdom

    Signed

  • Annie Bordeleau
    Germany

    Signed

  • Pieter G SPIES
    South africa

    Signed

  • Louisa Rhodes
    United kingdom

    Signed

  • Zoltán Kónya
    Romania

    Signed

  • Nina Viljoen
    United kingdom

    Signed

  • Claire Barber-Lomax
    United kingdom

    Signed

  • Henrik Lynggaard
    United kingdom

    Signed

  • Gun-Eva Andersson Långdahl
    Sweden

    Signed

  • Christina Revsbech
    Denmark

    Signed

  • Christina Revsbech
    Denmark

    Signed

  • Kelly Bernardin-Dvorak
    Canada

    Signed

  • Duane Bidwell
    United states

    Signed

  • René Buenfil
    Mexico

    Signed

  • Lino N. Guevara
    Argentina

    Signed

  • Cate Walton
    New zealand

    Signed

SIGN THE DECLARATION

Please sign the declaration below:

FOUNDING SIGNATORIES

SHARE THE GALVESTION DECLARATION

Spread the word

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *