Why Are So Many (If Not Really All) People and Families Disturbed?

Israel W. Charny*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many personal and family problems grow out of our not knowing how to process an intricate network of dualities, contradictions, dilemmas, paradoxes, and momentums that are intrinsic to the human condition rather than resulting from “disturbance” or pathology. What we have been learning in family therapy is that the processing of both “right” and “wrong” ways, or “good” and “bad” behaviors, is more likely to yield health and growth, whereas failures to process these dualities are far more the culprit of emotional disorders than bad or wrong behaviors as such. What really becomes important in family life is not the ability to stay out of trouble, but to get out of trouble, that is the ability to process conflicts and dilemmas and unfairness constructively. This way of looking at families helps us to account for and integrate many of the hard empirical findings that have been gathering now for twenty years in family therapy. 1980 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Marital and Family Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1980


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