GERGEN, Mary / WORKSHOP / 25.04.2019

Workshop 1: "Systematic Therapy in a Chaotic World of Conditional Relationships"

The idea of this workshop is to open up questions as to how therapy might be affected as relationships are increasingly bombarded with the impact of the postmodern world on our lives. In the past, individual therapy as well as family therapy, tended to be defined as problems within the terms of fixed structures and processes - whether mental, material, or social. In this way one could see therapy as having a more or less fixed goal, for example, helping a couple improve their marital relationship. But in the contemporary world, where the global flows of people, information, economy, and technology become increasingly rapid, less and less remains solid or fixed. Relationships are in continuous motion, with challenges, opportunities, and dynamics all in unpredictable motion. The challenge is also increased by the fact that individuals participate in multiple relationships simultaneously. As multi-beings, people

 are capable of shifting potentials of meaning-making, depending upon their emerging contexts. My hope is to stimulate productive discussion on what this shift in cultural context means for therapeutic practice. For example, what kinds of psychological or relational resources or skills do clients need to navigate in these waters; what kinds of therapeutic practices are needed to help clients develop these resources and skills? Lastly, how can people find ways to secure some stability, commitment and loyalty to others or to a goal, despite these challenges?

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