Individualism, Family Ideology and Family Therapy

Blaine Fowers, Frank C. Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


This paper examines the ethical aims of family therapy and its relationship to the ideals of contemporary culture. Although family therapy has defined itself in part by rejecting an individualistic view of persons, it appears to have adopted a normative ideal for families that is tightly bound up with modern individualism. The modern nuclear family is a crucial support for individual autonomy in contemporary society through its provision of a private, emotionally intimate environment. By accepting this model of the family, family therapists are in the awkward position of indirectly supporting modern individualism and thereby perpetuating a view of individuals and families that contributes to the difficulties we seek to ameliorate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-151
Number of pages31
JournalTheory and Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1996


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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