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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (the U.S. from the late sixties
through early eighties), a number of mental health professionals including
Speck, Attneave, Pattison, Curtis, and Garrison extended the boundaries of
family therapy to work with personal networks - a practice that came to be
known as "network therapy." In 1980, I reviewed the emerging field in
When Ross Speck described his pioneering practice to Erving Goffman, Goffman
directed him to Elizabeth Botts' book, which led Speck to adopt the term and
concept of network. The first network therapists used network ideas from
anthropology, particularly the works of Barnes, Mitchell, and Boissevain.
Jodie Kliman and I, building on emerging structural theory in network
analysis, and particularly the research of Hammer, Cohen, and Sokolofsky on
the networks of chronic psychiatric patients, worked on a systematic
integration of clinical strategies and social network analysis. In the U.S.,
the industrialization of mental health practice by the insurance industry
mopped up whatever remnants of network therapy remained after the Reagan
administration murdered community mental health. Network intervention
survived in countries with remnants of the social welfare state, e.g. Canada
(e.g., Lugtig), Holland (e.g., Baars), and Sweden (e.g., Forsberg, Klefbeck,
Svedhem). Seikkula, a Finn, is generally acknowledged to be the current
leading innovator in network therapy. Over time, unfortunately, network
therapy has lost its emphasis on analysis of network structure. Postmodern
ideas of social constructionism are the trend in family therapy, and
Seikkula's (and my) work focuses on the distinction between monologic and
dialogic discourse in therapeutic process.
The website www.netletter.org has current ideas and an archive of a
newsletter that I used to edit through the 1980s and 90s, offering a
historical perspective on the field.
In social work, Collins developed the idea of alliance with natural helpers
in personal networks, and Lugtig led an ambitious project to build and
strengthen network supports in inner-city neighborhoods to prevent child
The references below are extracted from a longer list that I can provide in
response to requests.
Attneave, C. (1969). Therapy in tribal settings and urban network
intervention. Family Process, 8, 192-210.
Baars, H. Uffing, J., & Dekkers, G. (1990). Sociale netwerk-stratagieen in
de sociale psychiatrie. Antwerp: Bohn Stafleu Van Loghum
Beels, C. (1981). Social networks and the treatment of schizophrenics.
International Journal of Family Therapy, 3, 310-316.
Cohen, C., & Sokolovsky, J. (1978). Schizophrenia and social
networks:Ex-patients in the inner city. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 4, 546-560.
Collins, A. & Pancoast, D. (1976). Natural helping networks. Washington:
Curtis, W. (1974). Team problem-solving in a social network. Psychiatric
Annals, 4, 11-27.
Erickson, G. (1975). The concept of personal network in clinical practice.
Family Process, 14, 487-498.
Erickson, G. (1984). A framework and themes for social network intervention.
Family Process, 23, 187-204.
Forsberg, G., & Wallmark, J. (1998). Nätverksboken - om mötets möjligheter.
Forsberg, G., & Wallmark, J. (1994). Focusing the network: Multicultural
experiences from the Crisis Unit in Botkyrka, Sweden. Human Systems, 5,
Garrison, J. (1974). Network techniques: Case studies in the
screening-linking-planning conference method. Family Process, 13, 337-353.
Garrison, J. (1981) Clinical construction of action social networks.
International Journal of Family Therapy, 3, 258-267.
Gatti, F., & Colman, C. (1976). Community network therapy: An approach to
aiding families with troubled children. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry,
Halevy-Martini, J., Hemley-van der Velden, E., Ruhf, L., & Schoenfeld, P.
(1984). Process and strategy in network therapy. Family Process, 23,
Hammer, M. (1963). Influence of small social networks as factors in mental
hospital admission. Human Organization, 22,243-251.
Hammer, M., Makiesky-Barrow, S., & Gutwirth, L. (1978). Social networks and
schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 4, 522-545.
Hemley-van der Velden, E., Halevy-Martini, J, Ruhf, L., & Schoenfeld, P.
(1984). Conceptual issues in network therapy. International Journal of
Family Therapy, 6, 68-81.
Hurd, G., Pattison, E., & Llamas, R. (1981). Models of social network
intervention. International Journal of Family Therapy, 3, 246-257.
Klefbeck, J., Bergerhed, E., Forsberg, G., Hultkrantz-Jeppson, A., &
Marklund, K. (1987). Nätverksarbete i multiproblemfamiljer. Tumba: Botkyrda
Kliman, J., & Trimble, D. (1983). Network therapy. In B. Wolman & G.
Stricker (Eds.), Handbook of family and marital therapy. New York: Plenum.
Lugtig, G. & Fuchs, D. (1992). Building on the strengths of local
neighborhood social network ties for the prevention of child maltreatment:
The final report of the neighborhood parent support project. Winnipeg,
Manitoba: Child and Family Services Research Group, Faculty of Social Work,
University of Manitoba.
Pattison, E., DeFrancisco, D., Wood, P., Frazier, H., & Crowder, J. (1975).
A psychosocial kinship model for family therapy. American Journal of
Psychiatry, 132, 1246-1251.
Rueveni, U. (1975). Network intervention with a family
in crisis. Family Process, 14, 193-204.
Sarason, S. (1976). Community psychology, networks, and Mr. Everyman.
American Psychologist, 31, 317-328.
Schoenfeld, P., Halevy, J., Hemley van der Velden, E., & Ruhf, L. (1985).
Network therapy: An outcome study of twelve social networks. Journal of
Community Psychology, 13, 281-287.
Seidman, L., Sokolove, R., McElroy, C., Knapp, P., & Sabin, T. (1987).
Lateral ventricular size and social network differentiation in young,
nonchronic schizophrenic patients. American Journal of Psychiatry, 144,
Seikkula, J., & Olson, M. E.(2003). The Open Dialogue approach to psychosis:
Its poetics and micropolitics. Family Process, 42, 403-418.
Seikkula, J., & Trimble, D. (2005) Healing elements of dialogue: Therapeutic
conversation as an act of love. Family Process, 44(4), 463-477.
Sokolove, R., & Trimble, D. (1986). Assessing support and stress in the
social networks of chronic patients. Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 37,
Speck, R. (1967). Psychotherapy of the social network of a schizophrenic
patient. Family Process, 6, 208-214.
Speck, R., & Attneave, C. (1973). Family networks. New
A.,Marklund, K., & MDrtensson, L., & Swaling, J. (1985). Nätversksterapi:
Teori och praktik. Stockholm: Carlssons.
Todd, D. (1979b). Social networks and psychology.
Connections, 2(Spring), 87-88.
Todd, D., & Armstrong, D. (1984). Support systems of elders in rural
communities. International Journal of Family Therapy, 6, 82-92.
Trimble, D. (1980). A guide to the network therapies. Connections, 3(2),
Trimble, D. (1981). Social network intervention with antisocial adolescents.
International journal of family therapy, 3, 268-274.
Trimble, D. (1993). Community network therapy: The neighborhood parent
support project. Netletter, 7(2), 2, 7-10.
Trimble, D. (2000). Emotion and voice in network therapy. Netletter, 7(1),
Trimble, D. (2001). Making sense in conversations about learning
disabilities. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 27, 473-486.
Trimble, D., & Kliman, J. (1981). Community network therapy: Strengthening
the networks of chronic patients. International Journal of Family
Psychiatry, 2, 269-289.
Trimble, D., & Kliman, J. (1995). Network intervention. In M. ElkaVm (Ed.),
Panorama des thérapies familiales. Paris: Éditions du Seuil.
Trimble, D., Kliman, J., Villapiano, A., & Beckett, W. (1984). Follow up of
a full-scale network assembly. International Journal of Family Therapy,
van der Velden, E., Halevy-Martini, J., Ruhf, L., & Schoenfeld, P. (1984).
Conceptual issues in network therapy. International Journal of Family
Therapy, 6, 68-81.
Wenger, G. (1991). A network typology: From theory to practice. Journal of
Aging Studies, 5, 147-162.
Wenger, G. & St. Leger, F. (1992). Community structure and support network
variation. Aging and Society, 12, 213-236.
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