Moving from Content to Process
Clinicians trained in systemic models of therapy are likely familiar with the refrain: “focus on process, not content.” Content consists of what is being said-the data and information. Process is the manner and intent by which the content is shared. In short, content is the what ; process is the how . In therapy sessions, couples tend to emphasize the content of their communication with each other. A therapist who is not careful can get bogged down in the content of clients’ problems and lose sight of the process of their interactions, which might limit the therapist’s ability to help the clients. In the end, both are important, and the systemic therapist needs to be skilled in eliciting and hearing the content as well as understanding the function and meaning of the communication-the process. This chapter will discuss how to explore for and interpret the deeper meanings and interpersonal processes underlying content.