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Contextual Therapy

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Contextual Family Therapy
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a theory and model developed by Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy, based on family relationships. The family maintains invisible, intergenerational loyalties, which members hold in their personal ledger. Problems in relationships are thought to result either from an attempt to maintain or change the balance sheet of what members owe to one another.
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Contextual Therapy Foundation
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Disturbances in individuals and families are an expression and consequence of an imbalance in giving and taking, entitlement and fulfillment, particularly in the realm of giving
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Contextual Therapy Theory of Dysfunction
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The trustworthiness of a relationship breaks down because fairness, caring and accountability are absent. Family members keep track of this, consciously or unconsciously
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Contextual Therapy Concepts
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Destructive Entitlement, Entitlement, Exoneration, Ledger/Balance Sheet, Fairness/Justice, Legacy, Loyalty (filial and invisible), Merit, Multidirectional Partiality, Parentification, Relational Detriments, Revolving Slate and Trustworthiness
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Debts
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a Contextual concept that shows ledger sheets that keep track of what is owed or entitled (+) and what one owes (“-“) within a family system
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Destructive Entitlement
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A child is forced into the role of parent (Parentification), which results in feelings of entitlement to engage in irresponsible, adolescent behaviors as an adult. (i.e., “I am due this now, because of the parental role I had to play as a child.”) There is always the risk that such individuals will justify hurting others or be unmoved by the suffering of others based on their own past injuries.
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Disjunctive Moves
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a Contextual concept that moves away from trustworthy relatedness.
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Entitlement
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A contextual therapy concept that balances out, what each person is inherently and fairly due and what accrues based on his/her behavior towards others and other’s behavior toward him/her.
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Equitable Asymmetry
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a Contextual concept where there is an Unequal, but Healthy, degree of care and consideration given by parents toward children.
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Exoneration
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is the treatment goal of Contextual Therapy, in which the therapist attempts to help the client see the positive intent and intergenerational loyalty issues behind the destructive behaviors of previous generations. Forgiveness based upon understanding the past. (i.e., past behavior and mistakes are loosened when the client view it from a human context)
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Fairness
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A foundational concept of Contextual therapy. Everything must be equal for all members of the family. The overriding question always that a Contextual Therapist would ask is “Is it fair?” This is brought about by accountability not by revenge and retribution.
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Facts
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a concept of Contextual therapy. These are the Attributes people are Born with (gender, ethnicity, birth defects) and their life Experiences (parental divorce, abuse).
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Invisible Loyalties
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is a contextual therapy concept where a child’s expectation of Loyalty is Interfered because he/she takes on unconscious obligations to help their family. (i.e., becoming one parent’s confidant). The child sacrifices his/her own interest and well-being in the process
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Loyalties
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is a central concept of Contextual therapy where an internal, unwritten form of Expectation to ones Family of origin, is derived. (i.e., parents owe loyalty to their children, children owe loyalty to their parents, siblings and grandparents, etc.)
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Ledger Sheet
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is a concept of Contextual Therapy in which an internal system (sheet) of relative debts and entitlements is kept. (i.e., what I am owed and what I am allowed to do because of what was done to me).
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Legacy
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a Contextual concept that refers to the notion that because everyone is born to parents, a certain history that emerges from the patterns of interactions and meanings have occurred that form a basis to how one understands relationships.
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Merit
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is a concept of Contextual therapy describing what is earned, through accumulation of care and concern towards other. This is the first step on the way to “fair” return.
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Multidirectional Partiality
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a Contextual therapy stance that makes the therapist accountable to everyone whose well-being is potentially affected by their interventions. (i.e., all solutions must serve the best interest of everyone). The therapist strives for neutrality, even to the dead. (i.e., open chair in therapy).
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Parentification
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a Contextual therapy concept (NOT STRUCTURAL = Parentified Child) where one’s spouse or child assumes parental responsibilities for that person. It is part of the “Loyalty System.” (i.e., parent fears seeing blood and makes the oldest child clean the wound before the parent will see the wounded child). This usually leads to destructive entitlement.
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Psychology
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in the context of Contextual Therapy, this refers to what is happening within a person such as thoughts, fantasies, emotions and the meanings that he/she ascribes to the facts of his/her life
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Relational Determinants (Cause)
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is a major concept in Contextual therapy. It shows the 4 Essential Dimensions of individual and relational psychology that interact with one another. Facts, Individual Psychology, Behavioral Transactions and Relational Ethics
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Relational Ethics
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a Contextual concept that describes the fundamental dynamic force, holding Families and Communities Together through reliability and trustworthiness.
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Rejunctive Moves
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a Contextual concept showing a Move towards trustworthy relatedness
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Revolving Slate (of Injustice)
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a Contextual therapy concept where there exists a Generational Perpetuation or Continuation of Destructive Entitlement, which damages the next innocent generation. It is the chief factor in family and marital dysfunction.
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Split Filial Loyalties:
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a concept from Contextual therapy where is Child is Required by the parents, to Choose between them. The child is loyal to one parent at the expense of the loyalty to other parent. This is often at the root of self-harming behaviors that are not carried as far as suicide. (i.e., eating disorders, cutting, drug and alcohol abuse and inappropriate sexual acting out).
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Trustworthiness
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a Contextual therapy concept that can be depleted or restored. Trust is the fundamental property of relationships. Moves toward trustworthy relatedness is, rejunctive; moves away from such relatedness is called disjunctive.
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Transactions
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a Contextual concept describing the patterns of family organization: hierarchy, triangles, and transactional sequences.
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Contextual Therapy Theory of Change/Treatment Plan
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establish a preventative plan for current and future generations and restore people’s capacity to give through fair relating and trust.
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Contextual Therapeutic Stance and Length
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Active, personal engagement. Co-therapy is encouraged. Long Term
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Contextual Therapy Assessment Tools
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Multidirectional partiality, Listening, Observing, Responding to unconscious material. Couple treatment is not considered a separate modality.
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Contextual Therapy Diagnosis/Assessment
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Family resources are the main focus of assessment, observing all 4 dimensions for the family relationships, triangles are assessed.