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Fam Process. 2001 Fall;40(3):273-91.

Relational narratives of the self.

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  • 1Chicago Center for Family Health, 1803 St. Johns Avenue, Highland Park, IL 60035, USA.


The prevailing view of the self in contemporary Western culture is of the autonomous, separate individual. This article considers shifts toward a more relational view in thinking about the self, in developmental psychology and in therapy, especially family therapy. From diverse perspectives this relational narrative of the self is explored, highlighting relational formulations about autonomy, power, and connection/disconnection. Therapeutic approaches that are grounded in a relational narrative are considered. Finally, this article explores, through clinical vignettes, the impact on individuals and their significant others when they shift to a more relational view of the self in their own lives.

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