Recovering the lost art of naturalistic family therapy: Retrospective and prospective

Israel W. Charny*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Naturalistic family therapy is what many of the early therapists did - like sports casters - they observed and reflected back to families continuously what they were saying to one another, in words, looks, body gestures, and even in the indescribable yet in deeper truth quite describable "spirit messages" of emotions. The "cost" or danger of naturalistic family therapy is that it destabilizes people and family groups and disarms long-term defensive processes. The goal of many other types of family therapy is to make most people comfortable, relieved, smiling, grateful, and happily paying clients. If one is a therapist who wants to try to help in severe cases of psychopathology, then the naturalistic family therapy described in this article is a powerful and often very helpful way of doing family therapy that one may want to consider. ©

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-116
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Family Psychotherapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Don Jackson
  • family systems
  • interactional
  • methods of family therapy
  • naturalistic family therapy (NFT)
  • psychopathology
  • real truths of family relations


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