The Performance of Practice: Enhancing the Repertoire of Therapy with Children and Families

Author(s) : Jim Wilson

Part of The Systemic Thinking and Practice series - more in this series

The Performance of Practice: Enhancing the Repertoire of Therapy with Children and Families

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'This book is about how to maintain an aliveness to the possibilities in therapy and practice and how to challenge ideas of orthodoxy in theory and methodologies that can become stale or followed like religions. The central metaphor is the performance of practice emphasized in the spoken word and expressed in all its non-verbal complexity. How we, as practitioners, use every aspect of our being to communicate with the other in practice, how we shape and mould our words through gesture and other non-verbal actions in response to the gestures and words of others in a continually recursive process. Therapy is an enactment, a performance that is created between all the participants.'
- Jim Wilson, from the Preface

Reviews and Endorsements

'This is Jim Wilson's second book in our series. He might call it his second act. His first book, Child Focused Practice, was very popular because it offered practical approaches to working with children for practitioners from diverse backgrounds. This current volume is written in the same spirit but takes his thinking and techniques into new areas. He is interested in two things: how therapists can release more of their own creativity when working with children and how they can use enactment to explore difficult family emotions.

'The influence of systemic thinking on the family therapy world has often led to theories and techniques that have often overlooked the value of simply talking to and playing with children. This book goes some way to redressing that balance. It is loaded with examples of conversations with children, playful metaphors, enacted scenarios of traumatic events, and discussions that connect children to the other relationships in the family. The sheer pleasure Wilson gets from working directly with children is evident throughout the book and he is clearly drawing on his personal style, yet the book does not neglect the theorising that helps answer the question of why Wilson does what he does and why it is effective.'
- David Campbell and Ros Draper, from the Series Editors' Foreword

'For me reading this book was a relief. I came across so many things close to my own experience…I felt not so alone anymore. And it makes me wonder - why didn't I read these things before, in all these other books about family therapy?...With this pioneering effort he opens up a new domain for discussion and reflection in the family therapy field: the therapist's experiences in the session. I hope the readers of this book will appreciate the originality of the book and the courage of the writer.'
- Peter Rober, from the Foreword

About the Author(s)

Jim Wilson is a systemic psychotherapist working within the National Health Service in Wales. His publications are widely used in the field of family therapy and related disciplines. He is former chairperson of the Centre for Child Studies at the Institute of Family Therapy, London and former chair of The Family Institute in Wales. He provides training supervision and consultation to professionals and organisations in the UK, mainland Europe, South America, and East Asia.

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