CONSTRUCTIVE HYPOTHESIZING, DIALOGIC UNDERSTANDING AND THE THERAPIST'S INNER CONVERSATION: SOME IDEAS ABOUT KNOWING AND NOT KNOWING IN THE FAMILY THERAPY SESSION

Authors


  • Peter Rober is clinical psychologist and family therapist. Codirector of the training institute Feelings & Context (Antwerp, Belgium).

  • I thank Mony Elkaïm, Piet Fontaine, Lynn Hoffman, Sara Keymolen, Jan Olthof, Michael Seltzer, Craig Smith, Tom Strong, Edith Tilmans-Ostyn, Karin Tilmans, and Stijn Umans for their support and their help in writing this article. I also sincerely want to thank the anonymous reviewers for their inspiring cirtical comments and their thoughtful suggestions.

concerning this article should be sent to Peter Rober, Feelings & Context, Troyentenhoflaan, 87 B-2600 Antwerp, Belgium. E mail: peter.rober@skynet.be

Abstract

The primary tasks of the therapist can be described as listening to what the client says and making space for what the client has not yet said. According to Anderson and Goolishian, the therapist should take a not-knowing stance in this dialogic process. The question remains, however, what not-knowing exactly means. In this article, I will explore this question and I will propose the concept of constructive hypothesizing. Constructive hypothesizing is described as a process in which there is a movement back and forth between knowing and not knowing. Of central importance are creative and dialogic understanding, rather than knowledge. Recommendations are made to ensure the constructive and collaborative use of hypotheses in the therapeutic dialogue.

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