Symbolic experiential family therapy (SEFT) emerged from the clinical experience of Carl Whitaker and continues to develop in the clinical experience of experiential practitioners. A magical therapeutic spirit—constituted by a blend of imagination, wisdom, attention, and empathy—residing in an individuated practitioner is the energetic core of experiential family therapy. In therapeutic interviews, the practitioner creates a climate invigorated by the systemic dialectics of individuation and belonging, creativity and adaptation. Even though veiled by endless discord and suppression, the energetic core of the human spirit yearns for an ideal, is creative, and is thus implicitly noncompliant. The SEFT practitioner looks for fragments of health in the family’s living patterns and helps families discover the possibility of becoming a healing community with the assertive competence to deal ...

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