Sunday, June 27, 2004

On Partiality 

Interesting conversation this afternoon with Mom, who's teaching a summer grad-level course at Smith on couples therapy. We got to talking about the curriculum -- what she had to start with from the previous teacher; what she added -- and hit upon the subject of the therapist's role in couples therapy, as one of the things she's added to the course is a modern reconsideration of the traditional role of the thrapist as impartial.

Certainly there are times when impartiality isn't ideal in couples therapy. If there's abuse, one wants to start by disavowing its legitimacy; if there are children and the couples have come with a major rift, considering divorce, children and other factors might affect the therapist's position on a possible separation. I also mentioned the NMH model of multipartiality for Peer Mediation; the idea that one can advocate for more than one side, and that such an approach has benefits far beyond that of the theoretical neutrality of the traditional mediator, is a neat premise, though our students ultimately have little to no use for all that training.

Mom seems happy to be teaching, and I'm happy, too. And it's interesting, to me, having invested my academic mindset thoroughly in the broad but, ultimatly, focused and exclusive prep school curriculum for so long, and I'm loving the discourse. Thanks, mom, for broadening my horizons; I'm glad you're enjoying your long-overdue return to teaching so much.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:25 PM |

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