The authors are listed in alphabetical order and have contributed equally to the ideas presented in the article and in its writing.
Human Systems as Linguistic Systems: Preliminary and Evolving Ideas about the Implications for Clinical Theory†
Article first published online: 3 AUG 2004
Volume 27, Issue 4, pages 371–393, December 1988
How to Cite
ANDERSON, H. and GOOLISHIAN, H. A. (1988), Human Systems as Linguistic Systems: Preliminary and Evolving Ideas about the Implications for Clinical Theory. Family Process, 27: 371–393. doi: 10.1111/j.1545-5300.1988.00371.x
- Issue published online: 3 AUG 2004
- Article first published online: 3 AUG 2004
- Manuscript received November 30, 1987; Revisions submitted May 4, 1988; Accepted May 12, 1988
From our earliest practice of family therapy at medical schools, private family therapy institutes, and public agencies, our work with difficult populations that do not respond to current treatment technologies has reminded us of the inadequacies of our theoretical descriptions and the limitations of our expertise. This work has influenced our current, evolving clinical theory as we move from thinking of human systems as social systems defined by social organization (role and structure) to thinking of them as distinguished on the basis of linguistic and communicative markers. Hence, for us, the social unit we work with in therapy is a linguistic system distinguished by those who are “in language” about a problem, rather than by arbitrary andpredetermined concepts of social organization. We call the therapy system a problem-organizing, problem-dis-solving system.