The author wishes to thank Renée Brant, M.D., Anne Fishel, Ph.D., Sheila McNamee, Ph.D., Vicky Steinitz, Ph.D., and Kathy Weingarten, Ph.D., for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this article.
Tales of the Absent Father: Applying the “Story” Metaphor in Family Therapy†
Version of Record online: 29 JUL 2004
Volume 32, Issue 4, pages 441–458, December 1993
How to Cite
SCHNITZER, P. K. (1993), Tales of the Absent Father: Applying the “Story” Metaphor in Family Therapy. Family Process, 32: 441–458. doi: 10.1111/j.1545-5300.1993.00441.x
- Issue online: 29 JUL 2004
- Version of Record online: 29 JUL 2004
- Manuscript received September 8, 1992; Revisions submitted March 8, 1993; Accepted May 28, 1993
Father-absent families often function with a lively father-presence conveyed by stories the family members share. The metaphor of “story” proposed by social constructionist and narrative approaches to therapy helps us to conceptualize the role these family stories play. The story metaphor draws attention to four issues: the rendition of what is said and unsaid about the father; the connections among past, present, and future ideas about father and family; the reciprocal influences of expression and experience, seen in the family's stories and interactions; and the impact on the family and the therapeutic process of dominant narratives about father-absence. Exploration of these issues demonstrates how client and therapist stories about the absent father mediate the impact of father-absence on the family.