Historical Roots of Contemporary Family Therapy

  • Irene Goldenberg
  • Herbert Goldenberg


Can the precise moment of an event, such as the beginning of a scientific discipline or profession, be pinpointed with any degree of accuracy? In the case of the family therapy movement, as in similar situations, probably not. As Mueller (1979) points out, as one attempts to decide which of several persons or which one of several dates seems most appropriate to mark a “beginning,” it becomes apparent that what we gain from such an exercise is found less in understanding “when, where, and who” and more in an appreciation of “what” was begun. Whether in art or literature, in research or professional practice, the traditional inward looking view of Western man began to be viewed as too constricting without a view of the social context in which that person functioned. Typically, that context involved interaction within the family structure. In order to change the maladaptive, problematic, or dysfunctional behavior, some clinicians began to recognize it would be necessary to alter the context in which that behavior occurred. Without necessarily stating it as such—or perhaps without themselves even realizing it—they had adopted a family therapy orientation to therapeutic intervention.


Anorexia Nervosa Family Therapy Family Therapist Historical Root General System Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irene Goldenberg
    • 1
  • Herbert Goldenberg
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of California at Los Angeles, School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyCalifornia State UniversityLos AngelesUSA

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