‘Approach-Method-Technique’: An Introduction to Milan, Post-Milan and Social Constructionism


burnham boats
burnham boats (Photo credit: akosikenet)

1. Curiosity & Co-Construction

§ Introduction: A model for identifying differences in Approach Method and Technique

Let’s begin by turning first to Burnham’s (1992) paper, in particular, where he outlined a coherent model for differentiating between types of systemic activity and how those activities might be viewed as relating when working within a systemic practice framework. We will then see whether and how Burnham’s (1992) AMT model might also be useful to understand both the movement of approaches, methods and techniques from Milan (e.g. Selvini et al., 1978) to post-Milan (e.g. Cecchin, 1987) and CMM (e.g. Pearce and Cronen, 1980; Cronen, Johnson and Lannaman, 1982; Lang, Little & Cronen, 1990) in the service of a coherent structure for a more general understanding of the implications of social constructionist thought on systemic thought during this period.

In his paper Burnham (1992) suggests that his systemic thinking and practice might be explained using an Approach – Method – Technique (AMT) model. The AMT model seeks to make clear both the context for and the implications of deriving meaning from a hierarchically organised, theoretically and clinically coherent, and recursively connected systemic model of working (following CMM, see below). Burnham’s (1992) influences are many and varied, however he plainly locates meaning as something derived from a context (pace Bateson 1974) and the two terms themselves (i.e. context and meaning) as acting in a recursive relation to one another (pace Pearce & Cronen, 1980; see below CMM).

Burnham (1992) locates and offers to define each term in the AMT model in the following way:

  • Approach – Lenses and dispositions in a recursive relation; Reliant upon abstraction (i.e. metacommunication) – learning to learn (see Bateson, 1972); e.g. family system understood as if a human system.
  • Method – Different practices which serve to organise an approach e.g. use and appreciation of circularity (both in terms of questioning and causality).
  • Technique – Different activities organising a method through practices, tools, training and therapeutic skills; Reliant upon rote learning (see Bateson, 1972); e.g. hypothesising.

And, thus, we might chose to visualise Burnham’s (1992) AMT model using the following three tier hierarchy:

  • Approach
    • Method
      • Technique

It is worth noting that just as an overarching context (i.e. A →M) acts by contextual force in a downward direction upon the meaning of a sub context, so too, there might also exist an implicative force acting upwards upon and changing the meaning of the contextual setting above (i.e. T→M).

Given this relation between a strong contextual force and a weaker implicative force it is possible to designate the relation between AMT as hierarchical, coherent and recursive (i.e. A↔M↔T) following Pearce and Cronen’s (1980) suggestion for coordinating and managing systemic thought and practice.

§ CMM – coordinating the making and management of meaning

As previously touched upon above (see section 1.), Pearce and Cronen’s (1980) paper on the coordinated management of meaning (CMM) theory suggests that meaning might be construed as: (a) made/managed between at least two positions (i.e. co-constructing their social reality) and (b) is a context-sensitive process. They also indicate in their theory that CMM is a rule-based theory comprised on the one hand by Constitutive rules (i.e. essentially rules of meaning, used by communicators to interpret or understand an event or message). And on the other, Regulative rules (i.e. essentially rules of action: which determine how to respond or behave).

In other words, Pearce and Cronen (1980) may be said to be suggesting that meaning-making strongly echoes Bateson’s (1974) theory of meaning; in that, they share a belief that there can be no meaning without a context to situate that meaning. For example (see Pearce, 2007: xv), if we were to examine the simple sentence, “Look here! See this!” should we suppose that the locutor is summoning us to explore, to inquire, to a kind of very serious playfulness, or that they wish to elicit our submission?

Pearce and Cronen (1980) suggest that the act of meaning-making around this and other sentences like it can only be understood within a transpersonal context and that not to appreciate the crucial importance of context in meaning-making leads (us) toward all-too literal misunderstandings and, at worst, conflict.

There might be some correspondences in intentionality and reciprocity in dialogical space between individuals to be researched further in the thought of Bateson (1974), Pearce and Cronen (1980; see also Cronen and Pearce 1982; Pearce 2007) and the ‘Dialogical principle’ (‘I-Thou’ relation) described by both Martin Buber in his work Between Man and Man (Trans. Gregor-Smith, 1947) and Carl Rogers’ (1961) seminal work, On becoming a person.

Notwithstanding any perceived or real conceptual connection between these thoughts mentioned above, Pearce and Cronen’s (1980) CMM model has received a good deal of close attention by social theorists, communication specialists and systemic practitioners alike. One of the reasons for all this well-deserved attention is, perhaps, the simple elegance of the CMM model itself.

Cultural       Patterns

Social Group Scripts

Life       Scripts

Interpersonal

Relationship

Episode

Speech Act

Content

Figure 1. CMM hierarchical model adapted from Pearce & Cronen (1980), Cronen & Pearce (1982) and Pearce (2007)

For Burnham (1992), as we saw above, CMM theory offers a purposefully structured social constructionist model for systemic meaning-making and co-constructing social realities – making social worlds systemically, so to speak. It might be said to achieve its systemic aim principally because of three main factors (see Burnham, 1992):

  • CMM is hierarchically organised; thus, privileges context
  • CMM is theoretically and clinically coherent
  • CMM is recursively connected; thus, circular and reflexive

§ Post-Milan: from Neutrality to Curiosity

Just as Maria Selvini Palazzoli (1974) had described her transition from psychoanalysis to systemic practice under the influence of Haley (1963) and Watzlawick et al. (1967) so too Gianfranco Cecchin (1987; 1992) describes the evolution of his approach from structure toward construction.

Cecchin (1992) outlines the evolution in his theory and practice as informed by three main shifts in his emphasis and, therein, his approach:

A closer look at the above shifts in emphasis in Cecchin’s work may reveal much about how he, in a position of systemic trainer and theorist, might explain the evolution in his systemic ideas.

In 1987 Cecchin wrote what was later to become a seminal systemic paper. Entitled, Hypothesizing, Circularity, and Neutrality Revisited: An Invitation to Curiosity, Cecchin’s (1987) paper subtly delivered an epistemological bombshell in the form of a reply to the Milan teams’ paper describing the foundation of their working principles (Hypothesizing – Circularity – Neutrality, Selvini et al., 1980).

In his paper, Cecchin (1987) sought to re-examine the principle concepts contained in Selvini et al’s (1980) Milan systemic manifesto and instead assert his new conviction that therapeutic neutrality in action and language was nothing more or less than an ideal – for family system and therapist alike – which simply could not ever be realised. Cecchin feels impelled to make it clear that he now knows that it is impossible to be neutral.

Cecchin (1987) had looked back upon his former foundational principles of working (i.e. hypothesising, circularity and neutrality) and made the following observations:

  • Hypothesising is a technique
  • Curiosity is a framework for working (i.e. a systemic approach)
  • Hypotheses are stories told (i.e. only of use for as long as they remain relevant)

Thus, looking again at Selvini et al. (1980) one might be drawn to summarise using Burnham’s (1992) AMT model as follows:

  • Approach – Neutrality
  • Method – Circularity / Paradox
  • Technique – Hypothesis

Whereas, a close look at Cecchin (1987; 1992) might result in a subtle difference with quite significant contextual implications for systemic work:

  • Approach – Curiosity / Reflexivity toward co-constructed meaning
  • Method – Circularity / Questions replacing statements
  • Technique – Hypothesis

Cecchin (1987) goes on to reposition the concept of curiosity as defining his approach to systemic thought and action. Cecchin argues that once the ideal approach of therapeutic neutrality is no longer tenable it ought to be replaced by something  - curiosity – inherently more flexible and characteristic of an openness toward lived experience and the uncertainties of lived experience, for only then are we more able to become better helpers and/or systemic practitioners; not worse, not stuck merely in a series of techniques without ever questioning their or our own efficacy (Cecchin, 1987: 5): “… when our neutral position ceases to help us generate hypotheses, we have, no doubt, lost our curiosity and become social controllers.”

He continues by proposing a framework, an approach, to systemic practice, which he views as the crucial – though unexplored – underpinning for the original Milan team’s (see Selvini et al., 1980) founding principles, he writes (1987: 5): “If we are curious, we question premises – our own and those of the family we are treating. A family’s interactions with us should facilitate questioning our own premises. Not only are we intervening in their systems, but families are also intervening in our systems – helping us to become better systemic thinkers. The idea of a recursive relationship among neutrality, hypothesizing, and circularity, as guiding principles, proposes a framework that invites us to be more curious about symptoms in therapy – those of families as well as of therapists.”

§ An irreducible moral dimension: Long, Little & Cronen (1990)

Long, Little and Cronen (1990) suggest a consistent view with which to identify different types of action/activity from a systemic position of co-constructed realities. They lean heavily on Maturana’s (1985) concept of domains of knowledge: aesthetics, explanations and production. Long et al. (1990) are led to conclude that an appreciation of Maturana’s (1985) domain concept raises vital questions about the nature of neutrality within and across the domains which he views as spanning the professional systemic field.

Long et al (1990) suggest that ‘morality’ and ‘a moral posture’ are necessary features of any approach which spans the domains of aesthetics, explanation or production. In so doing they recall Aristotle’s (see Poetics) concept of a position in relational context across and between theory and practice, praxis. Long et al (1990) conclude that as systemic practice is intimately interested in human action – and by definition in these domains of knowledge (see above) – then a moral posture ought to be a necessary principle of any systemic approach/framework.

§ Tracking: Hedges (2005)

Hedges (2005) is interested to investigate how it is that in co-constructing futures we (as systemic practitioners) are attending to the minutiae of grammar, metaphor, noticing the hidden-obvious and slowing ourselves in our work. Hedges (2005) is keen to point out that using these techniques allows us to better track the episodes of our work with families, and, therein, to expose the myth surrounding the notion of systemic work as somehow discreet from depth/exploratory work (i.e. psychodynamics).

He introduces and questions the possibility of a greater correspondence between notions of ‘depth’ and ‘breadth’. He questions whether the demarcation of ‘depth’ as a psychodynamic preserve is sustainable in the light cast by philosophy of language (e.g. Wittgenstein, 1953), systemic thought (e.g. Anderson, 1997) and co-constructionist (CMM) theories (e.g. Cronen, 1990; Cronen & Pearce, 1991) of making/managing social reality and meaning which would indicate otherwise.

Hedges (2005) utilises Bruner’s (1986) notion of metaphor as a ‘crutch’ to begin his investigation into the tracking techniques which might bring mutual benefit or insight. Bruner (1986) suggests that metaphor enable us to navigate meanings that, once utilised, can be discarded or hidden from view. Hedges (2005) suggests that in tracking metaphors – others’ and our own – is crucial to the better exploration and questioning of the co-construction of meaning in the work. Indeed, Hedges (2005) links metaphor and their use to the collective folk wisdom (see C. G. Jung) of the contextual background culture/society. Adding to this rich gestalt the clear difficulties which arise when/if one allows metaphor to remain unexplored, invisible or untold (see LUUUTT model of CMM).

Following Anderson (1997), Hedges (2005) also suggests that tracking an episode also requires slowing down the stories told. That is, slowing the natural pace of a normal dialogical flow. This technique is suggested as a counter measure to ‘knowing’, and, by implication only, may increase curiosity.

Attending to language does not mean only attending to spoken language. Non-verbal communication is a powerful form of communication which Hedges is keen to explore, again, in the service of techniques which can help in the exploration of co-constructed meaning-making. We must, urges Hedges (2005), attend carefully to exploring the range of full bodily communications of the other (see Tom Anderson, 1990).

Tracking also entails noticing. Hedges (2005) suggests that simplicity and familiarity can act to hide aspects of actual experience. That is to say, familiarity can sometimes obfuscate noticing what is in front of one’s nose. Hedges (2005) reiterates the importance of the notion of noticing bodily communications (i.e. non-verbal communications) as these can give us vital information to enrich the meaning/s available in a specific episode. However, Hedges (2005) is swift to point out that when one is noticing things are not simply found, instead, they are always co-constructed through joint action (see Shotter, 1993; 1995). This insight into the technique of noticing allows Hedges (2005) to conclude that episodes are always temporary, unfinished and composed of punctuations (pace Jackson and Bateman in Watzlawick et al., 1967).

Hedges (2005) recalls Pearce’s (1994) notion that ‘social worlds are too complex to perceive … all at once’ and thus reminds his reader of Bateson’s (1972) suggestion that ‘we divide experiences into frames’. By pointing to frames theory, Hedges (2005) is also following Goffman’s (1974) notion that frames turn what would otherwise be meaningless into something that is meaningful. Not so dissimilar one might say to Bateson’s (1972; 1974) famous ideas about the intimate relation and multi-laying which exists between context and meaning.

Frame theory closely looks at our frames of reference, say:

  • Time
  • Boundaries / Liminality
  • Structure

It is, for Hedges (2005), in the appreciation of the multi-laying of episodes (see Bateson, 1974; Cronen and Pearce, 1982) which allows for a broader, deeper construal of the co-constructed and recursive (reflexive) nature of both episodes and frames. Hedges (2005) provides the following example of multi-layered frames and contexts which may commonly appear in an episode:

  • Stories about the (current) relationship
  • Stories related to the clients family
  • Personal identity stories
  • Religious stories
  • Gender stories
  • Cultural, ethnic, racial, colour stories
  • Cultural and societal stories

The example above appears to be a good fit with the LUUUTT model of CMM (see LUUUTT model; Pearce Associates, v1.1, 1991). But what if, Hedges (2005) asks, one feels like one ought to act in certain way under certain circumstances regardless for any evidence that acting in that way is or has ever been beneficial? Here then, Hedges (2005) is calling our attention to the presence of so-named de-ontic logic in lived experience. An example might be something which informs our understanding and situates us towards certain contexts and seemingly automated responses – much like morality can shape our actions because of preconceptions of what is received to be ‘right’ or ‘good’ (see G. E. Moore, Principia Ethica, 1993).

 

§ Making Social Worlds: Pearce (2007)

In his quite recent work Pearce (2007) stresses the importance of the communication perspective. He strongly suggests that one ought to look at this perspective and not merely through it. That is, Pearce (2007: 1) urges the reader to ‘develop our ability to identify (critical moments) and act wisely in these moments.’ Pearce is convinced that powerful forces are pulling us forward and backward as a species and he invites us to consider some communication abilities – a communication perspective – which might in fact move us upwards.

Pearce (2007) appears keen to look into the future; a future where he apprehends a growing tension across societies between the demands of communication and technology. Pearce (2007) cautions his reader not to follow blindly in the tracks of those who have acted in the name of progress by repeating the same mistakes over and over. Instead, Pearce (2007) states his conviction that real progress comes from a re-positioning towards difference.

Pearce (2007) might be suggesting that progress is often viewed in first-order terms – when, for instance, we ought to be able to recognise a moral dimension (see Long, Little & Cronen, 1990) which may necessitate a greater, wider sense of urgency. Pearce (2007) leans on Gladwell’s (2000) notion of a tipping-point and situates his concern for the adoption of a communication perspective as acting upward progress in terms of upward evolutionary progress.

Pearce’s (2007) retelling of the tragic events of 11th Sept 2001 is poignant and subtle insofar as drawing his readers’ attention to the important background information lacking from most media sources of the time. Pearce (2007) sees these gaps as important mistakes in communicating a story with seemingly little regard paid to how apportioning blame, victimhood and persecution might affect the lives of a great many innocent people with no connection to the disaster save their common cultural identity.

He provides a framework of a different approach as possessing the following characteristics:

  • Constructing a richer narrative of the other, ourselves and the historical context
  • Constructing a more systemic description of events; beyond the jejune use of misleading binary oppositions, such as ‘us’ and ‘them’ / ‘win’ and ‘lose’ / ‘good and ‘evil’
  • Facilitating awareness of implicative and contextual forces and noting responsibility for contributing to the pattern in which we find ourselves; also, noting the opportunities for acting in new, novel ways – not merely reacting in obvious familiar ways.
  • Changing the context of the ‘common ground’
  • Attending to generative (‘appreciative’) narratives as far more productive than degenerative (‘deficit’) narratives e.g. your culture lacks … your culture is wrong because …

2. Prejudice, Reflexivity & Praxis

The next four papers under consideration (i.e. Long et al. 1990; Cecchin, 1994; Krause, 2002; Burnham, 2005) call our attention towards the theme of awareness and acknowledgment using a post-Milan approach to systemic family practice; in particular, to the good practice of exploring our own assumptions and prejudices and challenging them.

§ Uncertainty, risk taking and ethics in therapy: Krause (2002)

Let’s consider Krause’s (2002) paper where the communication perspective is positioned. That is, communication is a context, says Krause (2002), which acts as a fundamental primary process binding and embedding the human experience of the social world.

Krause (2002) views communicating and communication per se as ontological concerns. That is, a concern in relation to human existence and not a matter of knowledge, or how we might come to acquire knowledge (see epistemology).

Krause (2002) argues that precisely because communication involves uncertainty and new knowledge – see Bateson’s (1971) notion of ‘news of difference’ – cross-cultural communication is possible, whilst, in coincidence, pointing to the responsibilities of the therapist (in a cross-cultural setting) to ensure that those communications are – rightly – at all times respectful, anti-oppressive and non-discriminatory.

Clearly, Krause (2002) hastens to add, in the immediate and certain presence of uncertainty there will of course be risk. Risk is a necessary requirement within all communication in no small part due to perennial presence of uncertainty. That said, Krause (2002) suggests that risk is also an important factor when it comes to explaining difficulties related to prejudice and/or prejudicial attributions. Contrary to liberal explanations reliant on genetics, Krause (2002) highlights the importance of an increased awareness and understanding of social differences as crucial to better understanding endemic or localised prejudices and oppressive practices. (Here Krause (2002) specifically cites the findings of the second Stephen Lawrence enquiry.) (see Macpherson, 1999).

For Krause (2002), the concept of culture is an all-encompassing term which includes within its scope conscious and unconscious experiences, thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Culture also spans over and across generations of experience (i.e. intergenerational/familial scripts) as well as over and across individual experience (i.e. transpersonal scripts). That is to say, for Krause (2002), the term culture embraces a vast compass of lived experienced; it (culture) is an overarching context which embeds and binds (supervenes over) all conscious and unconscious, personal and transpersonal actions and/or processes.

Krause (2002) suggests that attention be drawn to the link between our awareness of the continuity of culture and, most crucially perhaps, the continuities of which we are most unaware which can so easily occur and sometimes appear to us as ‘natural’. Krause (2002) urges us to pause and reflect at length upon what we might consider natural.

Following in the lineage of other notable thinkers on values and ethics in practice (e.g. Moore, 1903; Arendt, 1958; Szasz, 1974; Cecchin, Lane & Ray, 1994; Barnes & Murdin, 2001) Krause (2002) situates prejudice as a necessary condition of communication – which is to say, that prejudice is viewed as an unfortunate reality of bias and attribution inhering within any form of communication. For Krause (2002) there is no escape from prejudice, so to speak.

Nonetheless, following Hoffman (1997), Krause (2002) agrees that we ‘see’ (i.e. perceive) the world through cultural lenses, particularly so, in those cases where our awareness is not wholly focused on an object, or instances where our attentional spotlight may be drawn to other objects. It is rather, for Krause (2002), crucial that we orient ourselves to becoming aware of and open to noticing (see Tracking; Hedges, 2005) those partially available objects – those minutiae of episodes – which, can exist at the very margins of our sensory experience and of others too; for it is these semi visible objects, says Karuse (2002), that those objects in the dimmed light of the periphery of our attentional spotlight can go unattended or unnoticed in spite of the actuality that such objects of concern can often be those most benefitting from the rigour of increased attention and awareness.

Keeping pace with John Dewey (see Experience and Nature, 1929) and Whyte (1997), Krause (2002) – no doubt informed by the influence of sociology and/or social psychology – seeks to locate the experience of the individual in the wider cultural context (i.e. within the experience of social action) through the use of such terms as social ‘actor’ or social ‘agent’. To paraphrase Krause (2002) the social actor is perhaps the individual who is actively and intelligently engaged in pragmatically creating some insurance despite a patent lack of assurance. Which is to say, if we, as social actors, take seriously the implications of the uncertainties of meaning said to exists at the heart of all communication, then, one might come to choose to act with a greater degree of moderation and restraint in the sure knowledge that no lasting or definitive future outcome, no predetermined consequence, can be assumed to exist.

Krause (2002) ardently believes that we cannot eliminate uncertainty from our lived experience; however, following the metaphor above regarding differences between insurance and assurance, what we can do is perhaps better orient ourselves (i.e. as systemic practitioners) toward acknowledging uncertainty as inextricably bound to an altogether more encompassing contextual appreciation – namely, culture. Thus, increase our understanding (predicated on an acknowledgement) of the patterning or mechanics or reach of this conceptual entity which we call uncertainty.

Nevertheless, Krause (2002) is wary of and alert to the dangers presented by the variously constructed dispositions and instruments of power. Power, For Krause (2002), corrupts communication precisely by exploiting the channel made available by strong contextual forces (see CMM; Bateson, 1971; Pearce & Cronen, 1980; Cronen & Pearce, 1982). Power, – or power differential – one might say, could easily be imagined as a necessary consequence of the supervenience of a larger context over a smaller context. In systemic terms, then, power may be one of the corollaries of difference.

In conclusion Krause (2002) offers the reader some consolation in the form of a rejoinder: it is in acting upon the reflections above (i.e. uncertainty, risk, not knowing, and acknowledging uncertainty) that we may advance despite the presence of uncertainty; perhaps even to take tentative steps towards ethically informed guesses and risk-taking.

§ An irreducible moral dimension: Long, Little & Cronen (1990)

Long, Little and Cronen (1990) suggest a consistent view with which to identify different types of action/activity from a systemic position of co-constructed realities. They lean heavily on Maturana’s (1985) concept of domains of knowledge: aesthetics, explanations and production. Long et al. (1990) are led to conclude that an appreciation of Maturana’s (1985) domain concept raises vital questions about the nature of neutrality within and across the domains which he views as spanning the professional systemic field.

Long et al (1990) suggest that ‘morality’ and ‘a moral posture’ are necessary features of any approach which spans the domains of aesthetics, explanation or production. In so doing they recall Aristotle’s (see Poetics) concept of a position in relational context across and between theory and practice, praxis. Long et al (1990) conclude that as systemic practice is intimately interested in human action – and by definition in these domains of knowledge (see above) – then a moral posture ought to be a necessary principle of any systemic approach/framework.

§ Managing prejudice: Cecchin (1994)

Cecchin’s (1994) paper suggests that we consider a move into a post-ideological process of questioning our prejudices and questioning how these prejudices affect those with whom we relate and communicate. For Cecchin (1994) awareness of and challenging prejudice is a matter of good ethical practice.

Cecchin (1994) provides three interesting vignettes which serve to demonstrate how prejudices (i.e. discrimination, bias and attribution) and the interaction of prejudices between therapist-team-client may in actuality transport our understanding of ourselves and others far beyond what might ordinarily be described as a useful technique.

Cecchin (1994) believes that there are predominant organising biases in the field, as follows:

  • The attempted solution is the problem
  • The Male dominated society is the root problem
  • We must tease out the attempted solutions and elaborate on them
  • If we just talk to the client in imperceptible ways something will happen
  • When in doubt ask what would happen if a miracle happened
  • Differentiate – take an “I” position
  • The hierarchy is confused

§ Enjoining with clients through the action of relational reflexivity: Burnham (2005)

Burnham (2005) locates praxis as something one does; it is an action – following in the traditional usage employed by Aristotle.

Burnham (2005) says that in 1991 he became interested in thinking about ‘questions about questions’. That is, how warming the context of an episode about the context of the content and process of an episode as such revealed much that could or could not be co-constructed between client/s and practitioner/s.

Burnham (2005) distinguishes self-reflexivity from relational-reflexivity in the following ways:

S-R is thus conceived as;

  • Pace Hoffman (1992), S-R is considered to be a process in which a therapist makes, takes or grasps an opportunity to observe, listen to, and question the effects of their practice, then use their responses to observation/listening to decide ‘How to go on’ in the episode or the work in general
  • One might say it (S-R) is a process of putting self-reflection/insight into action

R-R is thus conceived as;

  • The intention, desire, process and practices through which therapists and clients explicitly engage one another in coordinating their resources so as to create a relationship with therapeutic potential. This would involve initiating, responding to, experiment with, and elaborate the ways in which they relate
  • Relational-reflexivity is, thus, an example par excellence of praxis; that is, an ethical aspiration which can develop into a practical technique

Burnham (2005) follows Bateson’s (1972) notion that warm ideas have a better chance of survival than cold ideas. By embracing Bateson’s notion and extending it, Burnham (2005) suggests that by ‘warming the context’ the therapist can help to improve the readiness of the client/s toward the therapeutic work.

Burnham (2005) suggests that warming the context for questions – perhaps even with regard to the praxis and usefulness of questions about questions – can be a more effective technique for learning about the coherence (i.e. personal preferences, family style, cultural values) of the client/s with which we are working.

In so doing, Burnham (2005) is safely coordinating his resources in a way which ‘guesses’ and ‘takes risks’ with uncertainty, whilst also, crucially, does so respectfully and safely by moving at the pace and tempo of the episode or work set by both the therapist and the client, coextensively.

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