Openings: Using Questions Therapeutically

Openings: Using Questions Therapeutically

Author: Laurie MacKinnon

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The Milan associates were the first to emphasise questioning as a central skill in family therapy. The use of questions has developed along with this approach. The Milan associates' early work had a conceptual base similar to structural or strategic concepts concerning family. Circular questioning became a primary tool for revealing both the interactional pattern of behaviour and the family's belief. After 1980, Boscolo and Cecchin began focusing more on the therapist's part in the family-therapist system. The questioning process itself took on a new importance. Rather than simply a method of obtaining information, the questioning process became a way of attempting to trigger change during the session. This paper intends to provide some case examples and practical suggestions for developing questions, specifically, questions that can be used therapeutically in the session.

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