Using the Principles in Your Practice
Contextual Therapy offers a unique approach to the issues individuals and families face. It examines complex issues of loyalty, trust and entitlement across the generations, and it promotes genuine dialogue among family members. Contextual family works towards mutuality and commitment within relationships, promoting fairness and a balanced give and take between individuals. Therapists are required to develop a stance of multi-directed partiality with their clients.
Loyalty, visible and/or invisible, is a powerful drive in family relationships. It originates in the parents’ care for their offspring and the desire to protect and advance family legacy. The birth itself and subsequent parental care create the child’s loyalty to the parents, as well as the parents’ expectation of loyalty and devotion from their child. Loyalty expectations may either free the individual or cause bondage.
Trust and trust building is the central resource in Contextual Therapy and is driven by responsibility, consideration and reliability in the relationship. The Contextual therapist inquires about “residual trust” in the relationship and works to emphasize and promote it.
Entitlement is the ‘credit’ generated from giving to and considering the needs of others in a relationship. This credit is stored and is expressed as the individual’s claim of life and creativity.
Genuine dialogue is embedded in mutuality and commitment within relationships. Genuine dialogue exists in a relationship when one partner’s needs and rights become equitable in direct proportion to his/her consideration of the other partner’s needs and rights.
Contextual Therapy’s psychotherapeutic process explores the family resources of loyalties, trust and fairness, to uncover the dynamics within the individual’s motivation and behavior. Contextual Therapy’s underlying balance of give and take in the family dynamics offers a deeper understanding of the individual’s motivation, and ultimately a deeper appreciation of their place in the context of their ancestry.
Multidirected Partiality is Contextual Therapy’s main therapeutic method which requires the therapist to be accountable and available to each family member who might be affected by the therapeutic process. It is the therapist’s task to find and give credit to each individual involved, no matter how dysfunctional this individual’s behavior may be.