If family therapists remain aware of the indivisible and recursive nature of their interactions with families, and if they use this awareness to form a collaborative rather than a hierarchical therapeutic system, and at the same time minimize their attempts to change persons or family structures in strategic or predetermined ways, then they may be said to be practicing a “second-order” family therapy. This article analyzes the development of the second-order position on therapist power and influence, concluding that it is inconsistent and possibly disingenuous.
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