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Rituals in Family Therapy

Family rituals have been defined as behaviors or activities that have symbolic meaning and involve most or all members of the family. According to Italian psychiatrist Mara Selvini Palazzoli, rituals consist of a sequence of steps taken by the family at the appropriate moment and can encode emotional and behavioral memories in the participant with a particular, shared meaning. Family rituals have been studied as a means to understand what families do and how regular routines and practices influence the stability of families. This entry further defines rituals and discusses their purposes. It then discusses the various types of rituals in families, the assessment of family rituals, the use of rituals in family therapy, and research on the effects of family rituals.

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