- Series: The Guilford Family Therapy Series
- Hardcover: 319 pages
- Publisher: The Guilford Press; 1 edition (July 19, 1985)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0898620597
- ISBN-13: 978-0898620597
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 66 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #286,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue 1st Edition
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"Friedman understood congregational life as no one else did at the time and possibly as no one else has done since....When this book was originally written, clergy flocked to read it, as well as to attend Friedman's lectures and participate in the training program he established. Just as the book's title suggests, Friedman's ideas continue to be passed down to today's generation of leaders."--from the Foreword to the Paperback Edition by Gary Emanuel, PhD, and Mickie Crimone, MS, APRN
"Well written and lively...required reading for pastoral counselors of every persuasion....Any therapist will find here new techniques for bringing about changes and will enlarge his or her conceptual framework of the human dilemma." --Jay Haley
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I don't think I can summarize this book any better than Friedman himself does on page 1: "It is the thesis of this book that all clergymen and clergywomen, irrespective of faith, are simultaneously involved in three distinct families whose emotional forces interlock: the families within the congregation, our congregations, and our own. Because the emotional process in all of these systems is identical, unresolved issues in any one of them can produce symptoms in the others, and increased understanding of any one creates more effective functioning in all three."
This book will invite you to take a good, hard look at your own functioning. "There is an intrinsic relationship between our capacity to put families together [or, Friedman would also say, to put congregations together] and our ability to put ourselves together" (page 3). Friedman looks at family issues and congregational issues from a systems perspective, arguing that when a member of a family (or a congregation) is demonstrating "symptoms," it is necessary to look at the whole network of relationships that that individual is involved in -- because the root cause of the problem may lie in a completely different part of the system.
Friedman illustrates in detail how clergy can positively effect change in a family system or a congregational system. He also (somewhat indirectly) stresses the critical importance for clergy to resolve their own lingering family-of-origin issues.
The book is heavy reading -- full of terms that may be unfamiliar (and that, unfortunately, he doesn't directly explain, which can be confusing at first), such as "identified patient" and "self-differentiation" and "detriangulating." Frankly, I think he could have used a good editor, so that the book would be more accessible to people who are new to the concepts of Bowen family systems theory.
But don't miss this book. Read it, slowly. Digest it. Read a few pages at a time, then put it down and process what you have read before trying to proceed further. It took me months to work through the book. But I'm a heck of a lot stronger and wiser than I was when I first started. This book will help you grow.
Then, if you want to keep learning and applying the concepts in this book, read Friedman's unfinished manuscript, A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix (available through the Edwin Friedman Trust), and/or do a Google search on The Center for Family Process in Bethesda, Maryland.