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The Pathological Family – Postwar America and the Rise of Family Therapy - Cornell Scholarship Online
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The Pathological Family: Postwar America and the Rise of Family Therapy

Deborah Weinstein


While iconic popular images celebrated family life during the 1950s and 1960s, American families were simultaneously regarded as potentially menacing sources of social disruption. The history of family therapy makes the complicated power of the family at mid-century vividly apparent. Clinicians developed a new approach to psychotherapy that claimed to locate the cause and treatment of mental illness in observable patterns of family interaction and communication rather than in individual psyches. Drawing on cybernetics, systems theory, and the social and behavioral sciences, they ambitiously ai ... More

Keywords: American families, social disruption, family therapy, psychotherapy, mental illness, family interaction, family communication, postwar America

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780801451416
Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016 DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801451416.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Deborah Weinstein, author
Assistant Director of the Pembroke Center, Brown University