chapter  30
22 Pages

DISCOURSE IN THE MIRRORED ROOM: A POSTMODERN ANALYSIS OF THERAPY

T h e r a p y as part o f the m e n t a l heal th system b o t h depends u p o n and u p -

holds the d o m i n a n t discourses. A l t h o u g h m a n y f a m i l y therapists m i g h t regard

themselves as m a v e r i c k s , relat ively few i n o u r field are g u i d e d by m a r g i n a l i z e d

discourses. T h e efforts o f most therapists represent the interests a n d m o r a l

standards o f the d o m i n a n t groups i n society. T h e r a p y is typ ica l ly w e l l - r e g a r d -

ed by elite groups for the goodness o f its p r i n c i p l e s a n d practices. T h u s , an e x -

a m i n a t i o n o f the goals o f most f a m i l y therapies (for e x a m p l e , m a i n t a i n the

family, a v o i d d i v o r c e , keep the c h i l d r e n i n s c h o o l , differentiate) reveals that w e

as therapists are engaged i n social c o n t r o l m o r e than social change. T h e r a p y is

a n o r m a l i z i n g ac t iv i ty ; it serves to stabil ize " t h e fami ly . " A s M a d i g a n a n d L a w

(1992) p o i n t o u t , f a m i l y therapy is n o t separate f r o m s o c i o p o l i t i c a l discourses.