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The Functional Dialectic System Approach to Therapy for Individuals, Couples, and Families

2011
Author:

Moshe Almagor

The Functional Dialectic System Approach to Therapy for Individuals, Couples, and Families

A comprehensive theoretical and practical guide to contemporary system-based therapy

The functional dialectic system approach to therapy has been widely embraced and is now used internationally, with individuals, couples, and families. In this book, Moshe Almagor offers a comprehensive view of the contemporary system approach—from theory to practice—and shows how it can be applied to a variety of psychological problems and in a variety of therapeutic modes.

Dr. Moshe Almagor’s theory of FDS is a very applicable approach to family and couples therapy. In addition to theory and conceptualization he has provided a clear presentation of the actual applications and interventions used to help ‘stuck’ systems create a healthier and more productive way of existing, thus making a significant and timely contribution to the practice of psychology.

Carrie Spindel, PsyD, Clinical Director, Anita Saltz Institute for Anxiety and Mood Disorders, NYU Child Study Center

The functional dialectic system approach to therapy has been widely embraced and is now used internationally, with individuals and couples as well as with families. It differs substantially from the common psychotherapeutic models that have prevailed in the West for more than a century. According to the system model, an individual who is in treatment is not considered to be the primary focus of interest but is seen instead as part of a social context, the network of relationships that play significant roles in his or her life.

In this book, Moshe Almagor offers a comprehensive view of the contemporary system approach—from theory to practice—and shows how it can be applied to a variety of psychological problems and in a variety of therapeutic modes. The system approach to therapy concentrates on the present situation of a client, aware that people are always in transition yet seeking order, safety, belonging, and identity. Their behavior is thus goal oriented and functional. The principles of dialectics assert that everything includes its opposite, that there is an ongoing conflict between the poles, and that this inevitable conflict creates pressure that leads to a continuous alteration.

These principles, thoroughly explained in the book and practically illustrated by case examples drawn from the author’s own practice, show how the system approach is optimistic in its orientation and is designed to help clients change their lives by broadening their understanding of themselves, their situations, and their options.

The Functional Dialectic System Approach to Therapy for Individuals, Couples, and Families

Moshe Almagor is associate professor of psychology at the University of Haifa, Israel, where he directed the clinical psychology program. He is cofounder of the Mifne Center for Individual, Couple, and Family Therapy, where he serves as director of clinical training.

The Functional Dialectic System Approach to Therapy for Individuals, Couples, and Families

Dr. Moshe Almagor’s theory of FDS is a very applicable approach to family and couples therapy. In addition to theory and conceptualization he has provided a clear presentation of the actual applications and interventions used to help ‘stuck’ systems create a healthier and more productive way of existing, thus making a significant and timely contribution to the practice of psychology.

Carrie Spindel, PsyD, Clinical Director, Anita Saltz Institute for Anxiety and Mood Disorders, NYU Child Study Center

Almagor makes frequent and highly relevant use of process and outcome research, adding a level of confidence in his findings that had been lacking in more strictly clinical descriptions of
systemic therapies.

PsycCRITIQUES

The Functional Dialectic System Approach to Therapy for Individuals, Couples, and Families

Preface
The Kybalion
Introduction

Part 1. The System
1. System: Nature, Role, Structure, and Communication
What Is the System?
The Goal of the System
The Individual and the System
How Is the System Structured?
Communication
2. Dialectics
Dialectics as a Method
Dialectics and the System
Dialectics and Therapy
Cotherapists' Dialectic Dialogue
3. How the System Protects and Preserves Itself
Contract
Triangles
Emotional Distance Regulatory Mechanisms
The Symptom
4. System Development and Life Cycle
Stages in Life Cycle
5. How the System Changes
First- and Second-Order Change
Reframing
Externalization
Summary

Part II. The Intake
6. Joining and Establishing Therapeutic Alliance
Joining
Exploration
Definition of the Focus Problem for Therapy
Treatment Plan
The Contract

Part III. Treatment Structure: The Envelope
7. The Envelope: Joining
A New System Is Formed
Maintaining, Sustaining, and Fostering Joining
The Client Frequently Differs from the Therapist in Important
Characteristics
Empowerment
8. Disclosure
Self-Disclosure: Client
Self-Disclosure: Therapist
9. Resistance-Impeding and Facilitating Therapy
Resistance
Power Struggles in Therapy
Anger in Therapy
When Therapy Is Stuck
How to Unstick Therapy

Part IV. Treatment Process: The Dialectics of Therapy
10. Functional Dialectic System View of Symptom and Psychopathology
The Artist
The Water Bottle
The Gas Mask
Depression by Proxy
The Mask of Depression

Part V. Selected Treatment Issues
11. Infidelity
Prevalence of Infidelity
Types of Infidelity
How Does the System Protect Itself against Infidelity?
The Function of Infidelity
EMA May Have a Positive Effect on a Relationship
Therapy: Structure (Ground Rules)
Therapy: Process
12. Adolescent Suicide
Suicide
Functional Dialectic System View of Suicide
Therapy: Structure and Process
13. Enrichment and Facilitation of Therapy
The Dialectic Dialogue: Exercises
Facilitating Dialectics: Family Sculpting

Part VI: Termination and Follow-up
14. Ending Therapy and Follow-up
When Does Therapy End?
How Does Therapy End?
Follow-up

Closing Comment

Appendix: The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Code of Ethics
Notes
Bibliography
Author Index
Subject Index