Family therapy and COVID-19: International reflections during the pandemic from systemic therapists across the globe
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy
School of Arts and Humanities
© 2020 Australian Association of Family Therapy The COVID-19 pandemic has convulsed human communities across the globe like no previous event in history. Family therapists, paradoxically, given the core of their work is with systems, are also experiencing upheaval in professional and personal lives, trying to work amidst a society in chaos. This paper offers a collection of reflections by systemic and family therapists from diverse cultures and contexts penned in the midst of the pandemic. The main intention in distilling these narratives is to preserve the ‘cultural diversity’ and ‘ecological position’ of the contributors, guided by phenomenology, cultural ecology, and systemic worldviews of ‘experiencing.’ The second intention is to ‘unite’ promoting solidarity in this isolating situation by bringing each story together, creating its own metaphor of a family: united, connected, stronger. As a cross-cultural family practitioner, with a strong mission for collaboration, the lead author acknowledges the importance of Context – the nation and location of the experience; Culture – the manner in which culture impacts on experience; Collaboration – enhancing partnership, enriching knowledge, and mapping the journey’s direction; and Connectedness – combating isolation while enhancing unity. Since the key transmission of culture is through language, raw reflections were sought initially in the practitioners’ own language, which were translated for an English-speaking readership. These narratives are honest and rich descriptions of the authors’ lived experiences, diverse and distinctive. The contributors trust colleagues will find these reflections helpful, validating and acknowledging the challenges of this unique period in history.