Emotions are connected to meaning-making in human interactions. In recent years, systemic theory and practice adopted a dialogical orientation, more centred on the persons of the therapist and her clients. This has led to a growing attention toward emotions, which, in this book, is developed in terms of emotional systems.
An emotional system in therapy may be viewed as the sum of the emotions existing and interacting in people's lives. Relevant changes in life happen when emotional stances and sequences change within the system, leading, for example, to a greater sense of agency or hope, or to a different perception of the situation.
This book deals with key therapeutic questions related to emotions: how can the therapist see her clients in terms of emotional systems? How can she develop a better understanding of her own emotional preferred positions? And how can she use such increased awareness of emotional facts in order to implement more ef?cient and comprehensive interventions? Here I propose to read emotions within human systems in terms of dominant and silent emotions, which shape and are shaped by human relationships, and may be played in several ways according to reciprocal emotional positioning. The therapist uses her own feeling, and her understanding of the emotions within the therapeutic dialogue, in order to create hypotheses and new dialogues which allow change, ?rst of all, in the emotional tone and positioning of clients.
The therapist's increased awareness and sensitivity to emotional processes can make her both more sensitive to clients’ needs and wishes, and, at the same time, more effective in her interventions.
About the Author:
Paolo Bertrando MD, PhD, psychiatrist and psychotherapist, has been on the faculty of the Milan Centre for Family Therapy since 1993. He is the Director of the Episteme Association in Turin, and teaches psychodynamics of family relationships at the Vita-Salute University in Milan. Dr Bertrando is Associate Editor for Italy of the British Journal of Family Therapy. He is the author of several scientific articles and books including The Times of Time (1993) and Systemic Therapy with Individuals(1996), both with Luigi Boscolo. His current interests are in the dynamics of systemic therapy, the broader implications of systemic theory, and the use of systemic individual therapy with specific populations.