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Co-Constructing Responsibility
Co-constructing responsibility

I applaud the initiative that Sheila McNamee and Ken Gergen have taken in proposing that we extend our notion of responsibility to its relational basis. Before describing some examples of relevant practices in my clinical work, I would like to provide some personal background to locate myself in this conversation.

I am a psychiatrist who became interested in family therapy almost 30 years ago during my residency training. Several early clinical experiences suggested to me that close personal relationships profoundly influenced the kinds of individual behavior, such as confusion, agitation, violence, withdrawal, suicidal action, and so on, that were considered manifestations of mental illness or mental disorder. As a psychiatrist, I was expected to diagnose and treat individuals behaving in these ways. Most ...

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