1st Edition

Understanding Postmodern Family Therapy Interweaving Theory and Applying Models in Context

By Kelsey Railsback Copyright 2025
    258 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    258 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This accessible textbook provides therapy students and practitioners with an understanding of postmodern theories, founders, and practical applications to family therapy. It introduces complex concepts in bite-sized pieces so readers can cultivate and master competent real-world applications of postmodern philosophy in therapy.

    Relying predominantly on primary sources, Kelsey Railsback shows how postmodernist ideas influenced the development and implementation of postmodern family therapy models, focusing on collaborative-dialogic practice, narrative therapy, and solution focused brief therapy. It describes why certain therapeutic techniques developed and explains the context and history of their development. Each section begins with an introduction to the model before moving to the philosopher and ending with the founders’ application of philosophical ideas to therapy techniques. These chapters summarize prominent ideas from esteemed professionals in their fields, covering the philosophical pioneers Wittgenstein, Foucault, and Gergen and the therapy pioneers Anderson, White, Epston, de Shazer, Berg, and more. Critically, this book demonstrates how postmodern theory can be applied in mental health practice. By the end of the book, students will be able to interweave the philosophers, founders, and applications of postmodern family therapy into a comprehensive picture. To better understand their epistemology and why they are more inclined toward certain practices over others, students can utilize the included self-quizzes to deepen their understanding.

    Filled with etymological explanations, reflective questions, keywords, and summaries throughout, this book is designed for students and practitioners in systemic and relational therapy or related fields such as psychology, social work, and mental health counseling.

    Part 1: Introduction  Part 2: Collaborative-Dialogic Practice (Formerly Collaborative Therapy)  1. An Introduction to Collaborative-Dialogic Practice Philosophers  2. Kenneth (Ken) Gergen  3. What Ideas from Gergen Resonated with Harlene Anderson?  Part 3: Narrative Therapy  4. An Introduction to Narrative Therapy  5. Michel Foucault  6. What Ideas from Foucault Resonated with Michael White? The Path to Externalization  Part 4: Solution Focused Brief Therapy  7. An Introduction to Solution Focused Brief Therapy  8. Ludwig Wittgenstein  9. What Ideas from Wittgenstein Resonated with Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg? The Path to Solution Talk  Part 5: Conclusion  10. Interweaving Theory and Practice


    Kelsey Railsback, Ph.D., LMFT, is an AAMFT Approved Supervisor and is a core faculty member at Touro University Worldwide. She provides classroom instruction and oversees clinical supervision of master's and doctoral students in Marriage and Family Therapy.

    "This book is a game-changer for graduate students delving into systemic family therapy. It transcends typical textbooks, offering accessibility, practicality, and a thorough exploration beyond the basics. Through clear language and real-world examples, it uncovers the philosophical and political roots of postmodern therapeutic practices. As you journey through its pages, you will embark on a captivating exploration of the rich history and philosophical underpinnings of family therapy, engaging with postmodern paradigms. By exploring the epistemological language of postmodern therapies, it sheds light on often misunderstood theoretical influences, empowering therapists to gain a deeper understanding of relational therapy practices."

    Limor Ast DMFT, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor; Assistant Professor at Nova Southeastern University.

    "This text epitomizes the masterful melding of research, practice, and passion. Kelsey Railsback
    proficiently consolidated philosophy, history, and family therapy into this rich, informative text for
    those seeking to gain a broader understanding of postmodernism."

    Dorcas Matowe, Ph.D., LMFT; Africulture Counseling Center PLLC; The Family Institute.

    "As a therapist and professor, I wholeheartedly endorse this enlightening exploration of postmodern therapeutic approaches. It masterfully navigates the complexities of postmodern paradigms, offering invaluable insights into the transformative power of dialogue in therapy. A must-read for professionals seeking to deepen their understanding and enhance their practice through a nuanced appreciation of narrative and client empowerment, this book is a pivotal resource for fostering a systemic understanding of combining theory and practice."

    Paula Boros, Ph.D., LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor; Moving Forward Therapy and Beyond; Capella University.

    "Through an in-depth analysis and thought-provoking questions, Dr. Kelsey Railsback encourages readers to dive into different schools of thought surrounding postmodern MFT theories."
    -Breanne Taylor, PsyS, NCSP