DEVELOPMENTS IN FAMILY ASSESSMENT
Although the field of family therapy is in many ways rich and creative in ideas, the family therapy movement has never taken assessment seriously. In their text on family assessment Karpel and Strauss (1984) describe how the ‘action orientation’ of the early family therapists, particularly the structuralists, led to a neglect of the assessment process. This was unfortunate since the assessment process is critical in formulating the whole shape of an intervention. Indeed in many cases a clearer definition of the problem may be all that is necessary so that people can go on to deal with the problem themselves. In recent times the social constructivist position has perpetuated this trend. However valuable this perspective is
(and it often is) it can also be argued that the exclusive use of one theoretical position can be seen as unethical and unprofessional if it blinds us to other important possibilities. In health care settings this is especially important.