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September 12 – 19, 2016 for a week in dialogue with the authors Sally St. George, Dan Wulff, Ron Chenail, Lynda Snyder and Lynda Ashbourne as they share and discuss their ideas about transformative practice in family therapy and how these ideas apply in other professional contexts as well.

Thanks so everyone who joined in the conversation. You may continue the conversation here for as long as you like. 

Recording to the webinar held on Monday, Sept. 19th - 

Listen/Watch the Webinar Here.


The book: Family Therapy as Socially Transformative Practice

This book offers practical suggestions for infusing social justice into daily family therapy practice.

Monday, Sept 12 – Sunday, Sept 18, join the online, virtual, asynchronous conversation - join when you can, and as often as you can all week long. The authors will respond to questions and comments, stories and examples throughout the week. This can be a lively online discussion. 

And then on MONDAY, Sept 19th, join the live webinar at 12:00 noon US Eastern Time. All free and open to the public.

To register for the free webinar, email Emily at (Check the WorldClock for your local time zone.)

Topic: Family Therapy as Socially Transformative Practice
Time: Sep 19, 2016 

Recording link to the webinar held on Monday, Sept. 19th

Listen/Watch the Webinar Here.


This week in dialogue was based on the book entitled Family Therapy as Socially Transformative Practice. TI Board Members, Sally St. George, Dan Wulff, and Ron Chenail, along with TI Associates, Lynda Snyder and Lynda Ashbourne will share and discuss their ideas about transformative practice in family therapy and how these ideas apply in other professional contexts as well.

Psychotherapies typically have a normative tendency to helping persons adjust more effectively to the worlds within which they live while not attending to the qualities of inequity or injustice of those worlds. Simply helping people adjust to those power imbalances and injustices that diminish persons and relationships serves to re-inscribe the unfairnesses. Not only do we object to reinforcing those inequitable societal structures, we believe that family therapists could actively discuss those injustices and find ways, with clients, to work for change.

From our experiences as practitioners, teachers, supervisors, and administrators, we have each developed a solidly relational stance in our face-to-face work with families and students as well as in our own private lives. Without claiming new approaches to our field of family therapy, we propose some value-added dimensions that highlight and extend systemic and relational conceptualizing, languaging, interacting, and researching. We believe that the flourishing of family therapy requires that we maintain our unique contribution to the field of helping, that is, working relationally. Working relationally is not limited to the family unit—our systemic roots do not end at the edges of the family unit. Serious attention to families’ circumstances necessitates attending to the larger contexts within which families operate. Families are embedded within structures and discourses that at times effectively guide and at other times, complicate families’ lives. Working as change agents with families leads us into examining and working to change societal structures and discourses that impede families in their efforts to live fulfilling lives.

Therefore, in this book and dialogue we appeal to practitioners, teachers, supervisors, and students. Sally St. George and Dan Wulff present “Community-Minded Family Therapy” to examine ways of bringing the community into therapy and the therapy into our communities to look at how our larger systemic contexts (e.g., neighborhoods, social discourses) play out in family lives. From this examination we can develop understandings, critique, and action so that in union with our clients, we can move toward changing our communities for the better. Sally and Dan also present their ideas on the value of joining usually separate activities. “Researcher As Practitioner: Practitioner As Researcher” contains a focus on growing professionals who develop proficiency in integrating research and therapeutic practice and disintegrating unnecessary divisions. Ron Chenail contributes to “Everyday Recursion: When Family Therapy Faculty, Supervisors, Researchers, Students, and Clients Play Well Together” with some fresh ideas about blurring boundaries to develop flexibility and playfulness in the clinical interview. Based on his systematic study of solution-focused work, the possibility of attending to social justice issues in less traditional ways is showcased. Lynda Ashbourne describes how she has worked as a supervisor to enhance therapist trainees' awareness of their own social locations while not exacerbating the self-consciousness that accompanies learning new skills. Lynda Snyder discusses the importance of social justice for family therapists by discussing and illustrating the kinds of conversations and activities that can help family therapists expand their understandings of social justice and enhance their efforts to implement these understandings into their work with families.

We believe we present unique and practical illustrations of infusing small but fresh and clear suggestions for actually listening to and talking social justice in our family therapy work. While we have seen social justice in family therapy written about theoretically and in terms of the large discriminating discourses, we offer daily, small, and do-able ways of attending to this very important and often insidious part of our lives.


Pre-reading: You can buy the book at -

If you have questions, email
E-mail me when people leave their comments –


  • Great! Looking forward, Papusa

  • How exciting! Congratulations for your book!!! Hugs, Monica

  • This book sounds very interesting! Congratulations! Looking forward for Monday!

  • Welcome to everyone who wants to participate next week. I hope you have an opportunity to read the book before Monday. We invite you to ask questions, share a story, explore new ideas and practices.
  • I would love to learn from on this. Great initiative. 

  • I hope to join in and learn more about these practical strategies.
  • Welcome to a week-long conversation on the Taos Institute website about our book! We authors fed off each others' ideas to create the chapters of this book. We are hoping that we can re-create that generativity in listening and talking with each of you. Help us expand on these "practical strategies" to help family therapy transform our worlds. Our worlds need some help and maybe family therapy can be one of the tools that can assist in doing that. What do you think?  Dan 

  • Did anyone see the article in this week's NYT about the depressed dyslexic teenage boy who decided to write 100 letters to famous people know to be "dyslexic"? He heard from 39 people, including phone calls from people like Jay Leno and others who are now his friends and advisors. One famous person helped him make the decision to take 5 years to finish high school--something the young man was struggling with. His parents couldn't help him. The young man turned this project into a book. Is this an example of what we are talking about in this forum?
  • Hi Marsha!

    Yes, that is the kind of approach we took. We called it, “softening” traditional boundaries. By that we meant, traditional boundaries such as professor and student can limit creativity and discourage community. Both teachers and students have learning in common, but they have to see their connections to create more collaborative relationships. In your example, the teenager soften the boundaries of age and celebrity to create healthy connections and solutions.

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