Several good books exist about systemic understanding in therapy and a few about dialogic understanding. However, none exist that try to bridge the gap between these two world views, which have some similarities, but also a whole array of differences.
The most striking difference between these two world views is the very vantage point for observation each of them holds. According to systemic theory, we exist only in and because of the network of relationships we are embedded in. In dialogic theory, we inhabit different worlds, and we need dialogue in order to make them communicate with each other. Putting these different views together poses problems but is a good dialogic exercise as well. The author found it increasingly necessary to undertake this exercise as he felt more and more uncomfortable with the more conventional versions of Batesonian systemic wisdom he had adopted in previous years, while at the same time he could not feel convinced by some of the new ideas about dialogue.
Paolo Bertrando is on the faculty of the Milan Centre for Family Therapy since 1993. Paolo 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.
Series Editors’ Foreword; Acknowledgements; About the Author; Introduction; 1) Understanding and Influencing; 2) Text and Context; 3) Practices and Theories; 4) Hypotheses and Dialogues; 5) Therapists and Clients; 6) Frames and Relationship; 7) Dialogues and Systems; 8) Statements and Questions; 9) Presence and Absence; 10) Selves and Technologies; Postscript; References, Index.