‘Can I tell?’ : Children’s participation and positioning in a secretive atmosphere in family therapy
Helimäki, M., Laitila, A., & Kumpulainen, K. (2021). ‘Can I tell?’ : Children’s participation and positioning in a secretive atmosphere in family therapy. Journal of Family Therapy, 43(1), 96-123. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-6427.12296
Published inJournal of Family Therapy
© 2020 The Authors. Journal of Family Therapy published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice in the UK
As a multifaceted phenomenon, family secrets affect interaction in the therapeutic system. This qualitative study, applying the multi‐actor Dialogical Methods for Investigations of Happening of Change, explored how children participated and positioned themselves in family therapy in a climate of family secrets. The results showed that the children were active co‐participants in the complex dynamics of a secretive atmosphere, involving themselves in the paradoxical processes of reconstructing and deconstructing the secretive and unsafe climate. In family therapy, a child’s symptomatic behaviour can function as a visible ‘cover story’ for invisible constructions of secrets, preventing sensitive topics from becoming the focus of therapy. Family secrets therefore continue to present a challenge in family therapy practice and research.
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