Family Therapy: A Recursive Model of Strategic Practice


253 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-458-95550-7




Edited by Allon Bross
Reviewed by Claude A. Guldner

Claude A. Guldner is a professor of family studies at the University of


This is a timely and well-developed work. Timely in that it pulls together in a clear and consistent style the theory and techniques of strategic models of family therapy. Well developed in that not only does it give the basic model for conducting therapy from this perspective, but it applies that to specific treatment areas, giving the reader a “behind the mirror” view of how it works in practice. The big question I have about the book is whether to start at the front or the back. At the back of the book Bross writes “The Family Therapist’s Reference Manual.” This includes assumptions, assessment, problem formulation, a discussion of tasks, tactics, and strategies and a look at possible errors, resistance, and the termination process. It is tight, clear, and consistent with strategic thinking. If one isn’t familiar with strategic models of therapy, it would be important to start here. The first part of the book includes chapters often authored by or co-authored with Bross. Part one relates to theory and how strategic theory fits in the stream. The next two parts are concerned with application. The chapter on paradox is very well done and a good guide to this process in therapy. I found the chapter on hysterical paralysis by Grosman, Bross, and Benjamin outstanding. It provides a clear picture of strategic theory in practice. This is a book for practitioners who want to sharpen their own theoretical and technical understanding. It is a book to return to from time to time, get an idea, use it, check it out in practice, and then come back for another.


“Family Therapy: A Recursive Model of Strategic Practice,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024,