Myths and rituals: Anthropological views and their application in strategic family therapy

Onno Van Der Hart, Eliezer Witztum, Anna De Voogt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Myth is often used in family therapy as a synonym for erroneous belief or fallacy which preserves a distorted reality of the family, and the concept of ritual is commonly limited to well-defined behavioral prescriptions. Anthropologists, however, emphasize the positive functions of myth and agree on both the ceremonial and symbolic nature of rituals. They also provide a framework for relating the two concepts. This paper presents three anthropological theories of functions of myth which seem relevant to family therapists, and provides a working definition of ritual. Using a case example, it proposes a bifocal model of family therapy which connects the two concepts to two levels of culture, i.e., its ideational plane and its material plane, and helps to integrate therapeutic interventions at both levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-80
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Psychotherapy and The Family
Volume4
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1989
Externally publishedYes

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