International Family Therapy: A Guide for Multilateral Systemic Practice in Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

Author(s) : Laurie L. Charles

International Family Therapy: A Guide for Multilateral Systemic Practice in Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

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International Family Therapy brings the international plane and its emphasis on the global community of states to systemic family therapy.

Informed by a coherent, multilateral perspective, each chapter covers a specific topic, including: discussions on the basis of state sovereignty and the role of international human rights law; the concept of human security and psychosocial risk to vulnerable populations; and the international economics and trade of public mental health initiatives for families across the globe. Written in an accessible style and peppered with vignettes and descriptive case examples, the text encourages the reader to better understand and implement family systems approaches from the perspective of the international system, with a focus on cultural considerations and best practice throughout.

Combining key theoretical tenets of family therapy and essential knowledge of international relations relevant to global mental health, International Family Therapy is an essential guide for family therapy practitioners interested in working internationally.

Reviews and Endorsements

"This book marks the 'leaving home' of family therapy. Charles has achieved the Promethean task of breaking those chains that tie family therapy practice to specific cultural contexts and has provided a pragmatic and personal account of its application to international contexts. This exquisitely crafted book consists of a wide-ranging series of almost poetic essays (and engaging stories) that cover everything a multilateral family therapist needs to know when working across borders and in conflict ridden states. The book includes many gems of wisdom including innovative ideas for role-plays and suggestions about how training can be adapted to allow family therapy to reach its full international potential in ameliorating human suffering. Within all of this lies Charles singular passion for increasing the resilience of the family however it is construed in the cultures where she has worked." - Mark Rivett, director of Systemic Studies, University of Exeter, UK.

"This exceptional book takes us on a journey to multilateral systemic practices. Being both an experienced practitioner in family therapy and qualitative researcher, Dr. Charles looks at her humanitarian work from an almost autoethnographical perspective. We follow her reflections with keen attention and curiosity, learning practically along the way. She puts into our backpack theoretical knowledge, safety instructions, models and stories to learn from as well as visions for the future. If this journey were a Grand Tour, Dr. Charles would be our bear-leader!" - Professor Dr. Maria Borcsa, Institute of Social Medicine, Rehabilitation Sciences and Healthcare Research, University of Applied Sciences Nordhausen, Germany.

"In this comprehensive and engaging book about international family therapy, Laurie Charles captures the wrenching complexities, sustainable possibilities, and moral hazards of offering mental health services on the global stage. She writes informally, as if chatting with you on a flight to Kosovo or Lebanon or Sri Lanka, but her stories and musings reveal the breadth and depth of her political savvy and international experience. A sophisticated multilateral thinker, Charles's illuminations draw on her expertise as a qualitative researcher and systemic clinician, supervisor, and trainer. Soon into the book, you'll find yourself wanting to renew your passport." - Douglas Flemons, Ph.D., LMFT, professor emeritus of family therapy, Nova Southeastern University, USA.

"Working as a Peace Corps volunteer alongside Dr. Charles many years ago, I recall her thoughtfulness when planning projects. She already understood that foreigners can't save a community and always ensured that her work was sustainable. In this book, Dr. Charles effectively sets the stage for the reader by defining and explaining complex ideas such as gross national happiness, states, and international human rights law. She describes so clearly the multiple layers involved in working internationally in the mental health field. Her personal experiences along with her expert knowledge is a perfect combination that makes for a must-read for every person planning to work in any realm of healthcare internationally." - Sara Cross, M.D., infectious diseases physician; associate professor of medicine, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, USA; Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Togo, West Africa, 1999-2002.

About the Author(s)

Laurie L. Charles, Ph.D., LMFT, implements systemic family therapy practice in international humanitarian relief contexts, in low- and middle-income countries, and with vulnerable populations in conflict-affected states. She is the author and co-editor of several books on family therapy, most recently, Family Therapy Supervision in Extraordinary Settings: Illustrations of Systemic Approaches in Everyday Clinical Work, with Dr. Thorana Nelson.

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