1st Edition

Ethical and Aesthetic Explorations of Systemic Practice New Critical Reflections

    172 Pages
    by Routledge

    172 Pages
    by Routledge

    In Ethical and Aesthetic Explorations of Systemic Practice, the four co-authors come together to rhizomatically consider how systemic theories can be reinvigorated in the present day.

    This fascinating book uses the ideas and work of renowned anthropologist Gregory Bateson as a springboard from which to examine the fundamental tenets of systemic theory and practice, as well as looking to the work of Deleuze, Guattari, Maturana, Varela and von Foerster. Including contributions from a range of renowned therapists, each chapter examines the guiding principles from a critical perspective, asking questions around the ontology of the therapeutic encounter and the technique of therapy itself.

    This revivifying volume will be of interest to systemic professionals, and those looking at how the systemic community can continue to grow and evolve.

    1 Introduction: Why Ethic and Aesthetic in Systemic Practices

    Pietro Barbetta, Maria Esther Cavagnis, Inga-Britt Krause and Umberta Telfener

    2 Two Regimes of Madness in Psychotherapy

    Pietro Barbetta

    3 Revolutionary Childhood

    Maria Esther Cavagnis

    4 Thoughts from the Outside

    Inga-Britt Krause

    5 Getting Sick from Psychotherapy: Our Co-Responsibility in Unintended and Undesired Outcomes

    Umberta Telfener

    6 Aesthetics, Ethics and Politics in Childhood Matters

    Maria Esther Cavagnis and Inga-Britt Krause

    7 Clinical Practice as Ecological Aesthetics

    Pietro Barbetta, Maria Esther Cavagnis, Inga-Britt Krause and Umberta Telfener

    8 Babel, Bebel and Other Dangerous Glossolalia

    Pietro Barbetta, Maria Esther Cavagnis, Inga-Britt Krause and Umberta Telfener

    Postscript: The Event

    Pietro Barbetta, Maria Esther Cavagnis, Inga-Britt Krause and Umberta Telfener


    Pietro Barbetta is a psychotherapist, Director of the Milan Center of Family Therapy and Professor of Psychodynamic Theories at Bergamo University, Italy. He is also works as an ethno-clinical therapist with asylum seekers and refugees, and has authored works in English, Italian, Spanish and French.

    Maria Esther Cavagnis is the Director of Studies, Clinical Research Team Coordinator and Senior Tutor in the therapist training programme at the Family Therapy Foundation in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is a visiting lecturer at several universities in Argentina and Latin America and has worked in private practice since 1982.

    Inga-Britt Krause is a social anthropologist, Consultant Systemic Psychotherapist and Lead of the Professional Doctorate in Systemic Psychotherapy at The Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust, UK. She is an international systemic psychotherapy teacher, trainer and supervisor, Visiting Professor in Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo, and consultant to several contemporary anthropological research projects.

    Umberta Telfener is a teacher at the Milan School of Family Therapy, Italy and is Chair of the European Family Therapy Association Training Institutes Chamber (EFTA-TIC). Formerly Adjunct Professor at the Health Psychology Postgraduate School of the University of Rome La Sapienza, she has supervised public mental health structures and worked in private practice since 1982. She has authored works in both English and Italian.

    "This book is reflexively systemic, embedding the contributors in the aesthetic ecology of the clinic and the many worlds in which the clinic operates. Their object of study is no mere ‘environment’, as if the clinic could then be slotted into place. They provide, instead, an authentically ecological engagement with the possibilities opened up by theoretically informed clinical practice."

    Ian Parker, Discourse Unit, Manchester, UK

    "The strength of this book is in its teasing out of relationships, processes and emotions in a way that helps to bring an understanding to complex systems. Its strength lies in how it examines connections between theory and practice, living and dreaming, thinking and reflecting. In the process, it brings fresh ways of understanding the worlds that professionals and family members are embedded in. I was intrigued and excited by the work. This book will be a great asset for the practitioner, the thinker, the manager, the organisational person looking for illumination. Presented in a readable style, older ideas are revisited, newer concepts are introduced and throughout the work, there is a focus on its application to real world situations while the person is encouraged to dream. Take time to enjoy the contributions, enjoy making connections previously unthought of, and I have no doubt, that as a result your work and practice will be hugely enhanced."

    Dr Valerie O'Brien, Systemic Psychotherapy Programme, School of Medicine, University College Dublin, Ireland

    "Systemic Practice and Family Therapy emerged as a rhizome – not from the conceptualization of one person. Over the years, many 'gardeners' were involved in its cultivation. Some plants evolved, others atrophied; the garden still exists today and continues sprouting. This book, a new 'sprout' – grown out of the collaboration of four longstanding systemic practitioners – opens up to new horizons in systemic practice, all connected with its ethics and aesthetics, and culminates in a chapter that illustrates the process of the authors’ reflective dialogue on the practice of psychotherapy today. Readers may experience this book as a form of political activism in the field of systemic practice. French philosopher Simone Weil, honored as one of very few who inhabited her philosophy (Iris Murdoch) has said that 'pain is beyond ideologies'. Here the authors declare and sustain the need to live and experience the event of therapy as admiration and respect for the beauty of life. In this way, they too, are of the few who inhabit their approach."

    Petros Polychronis, MD, Director, Athenian Institute of Anthropos (AIA), Greece and Kyriaki Polychroni, MA, MFT, Faculty AIA, P. President European Family Therapy Association (EFTA), Greece