The author describes in this article a case of family-therapy. The family, consisting of father, mother and three sons, aged 19, 17 and 14, had been introduced because of difficulties of the eldest son, who behaved strangely; he appeared to be a difficult pupil in school and showed communication difficulties. He never went out, which worried the parents. The father had placed himself outside the family and his relationship towards the mother lef t much to be wished.
The author discussen the setting in which the family-therapy is applied after which he gives a survey of the 20 sessions that have taken place. In the course of this discussion he draws attention to some of the following phenomena: double bind; the absent member manoeuvre; laughing and babbling; 'silencing'; symptom-shift in the family system; the scape goat; the identified patient; confirmation and disconfirmation.
After the report of the 20 sessions the author writes a short epicrise in which he points out the possibility of a sociometrical evaluation by coding positive and negative messages which are being exchanged. By this method one gains some insight in the interaction — and changes in interaction — between the various members of the family and between them and the therapists. The coding was done by the co-therapist Miss A. van der Pas, who also cornmented on the conclusions drawn.
I herewith thank the Management and the Board of Directors of the Sociaal Medisch Centrum in The Hague for permission granted to comment on this lamily-therapy.