Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy
School of Arts and Humanities
The Milan approach, pioneered by Selvini-Palazzoli, Boscolo, Cecchin, and Prata, has significantly contributed to the field of psychotherapy, particularly in the realm of systemic and family psychotherapy. While rooted in systemic principles and concepts, over time the original Milan group demonstrated differences in their clinical orientations and practices which led to their regrouping into two teams. The paper explores the divergences in their views and directions on family dynamics and the role of symptoms within the system. It delves into the influence of Boscolo and Cecchin, two of the ‘Milan Four’ on the Centro Padovano di Terapia della Famiglia. Drawing from a conversation with Andrea Mosconi, a mentee and collaborator of Boscolo and Cecchin, the paper examines the reconfiguration of the original ‘Milan Four’ team and its impact on their clinical approach. Key Milan principles and concepts such as hypothesising, circularity, and neutrality are examined with particular emphasis on the work of Boscolo and Cecchin's systemic work. These principles, intertwined and interconnected, provide a fertile ground for the construction of multiple hypotheses and circular questioning. The paper also highlights the concept of reflexivity, which originates from Bateson's work and plays a crucial role in family relations and communication while explaining the birthplace of paradox taking place when two levels of meaning are ‘confused.’ The Milan approach continues to be highly regarded, as its early concepts and ideas have evolved and left a lasting impact on the field of family therapy. By reflecting on the distinct contributions of Boscolo and Cecchin, and using examples, Mosconi offers valuable insights into the rich legacy and ongoing relevance of the Milan approach to contemporary therapeutic practice.
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