Rewriting Family Scripts: Improvisation and Systems Change

Rewriting Family Scripts: Improvisation and Systems Change

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Families can develop self-destructive routines so predictable that members seem to be following a script each coming in on cue as the plot unfolds. Such scripts can be altered, however, when therapists help clients learn to improvise new patterns of relating. This book presents an innovative approach to doing just that--incorporating into therapy elements of script theory and recent findings in attachment research, including those related to narrative. Developing a new attachment concept, "the secure family base," from which individuals can feel safe enough to explore and improvise new scripts, Byng-Hall shows how insecure relationship patterns can be changed both during and after therapy. Jargon-free and illustrated with detailed clinical case material, this book presents a comprehensive conceptual framework that illuminates the central issues of therapy practice with families, couples, children, and adults.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781572300668
Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
Publication date: 01/15/1998
Series: Guilford Family Therapy Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 306
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.69(d)

About the Author

John Byng-Hall is a Consultant Child and Family Psychiatrist at the Tavistock Clinic. He has published widely on topics such as family myths, legends, and scripts; attachments within the family; adolescence; and the impact of chronic illness within the family. He has also presented his ideas at international conferences. He was trained at Cambridge University, University College Hospital London, the Maudsley and Bethlem Royal Hospitals, and at the Tavistock Clinic. He is a past Chair of the Institute of Family Therapy, London.

Table of Contents

I. From Scripts to Improvisations
1. Secure Enough to Improvise
2. The Nature of Scripts
3. Identification across the Generations
4. Rewriting Family Scripts
5. A Case Example
II. Creating a Secure Family Base
6. Security in the Family
7. Therapy and Supervision as Secure Bases
8. Myths and Legends about Security
9. Resolving Care-Control Conflicts
10. Resolving Distance Conflicts
11. Positive Framing of Parenting Scripts
III. Reediting Scripts in Changing Circumstances
12. Scripts in Formation of a New Family
13. Grieving Scripts
14. Disrupted Scripts: Family Breakup and Disability


Practicing therapists; instructors and students of family therapy and psychotherapy; other readers interested in the clinical applications of attachment theory and research. May serve as a supplemental text for advanced courses in family therapy, clinical psychology, psychiatry, and related fields.

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