Item description for Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue by Edwin H. Friedman...
Overview This groundbreaking volume applies the concepts of systemic family therapy to the emotional life of congregations and their leaders. Challenging many of the conventions of pastoral counseling, Edwin H. Friedman shows how family theory points to a less stressful approach to the full range of the clergy's responsibilities. He also illuminates how congregational dynamicscan be a useful model for the study of any family enmeshed in larger systems, and how such systems can themselves be viewed as "families." Friedman compares the emotional processes at work within individual families to those in church and synagogue, suggesting that clergy can often do more to help families by the way they lead their congregations than they can through specific counseling interventions. Specific topics examined in depth include leadership through self-differentiation, managing separations in families and in congregations, and the influence of previous generationsupon life cycle events. The power of the family model is clearly demonstrated in numerous examples drawn from Friedman's own extensive experience as a rabbi and practicing family therapist and from many other rabbis, priests, nuns, and ministers with whom he worked. Both clergy and lay leaders will find that this book directly addresses the dilemmas and crises they encounter daily, while family therapists and other helping professionals may wish to recommend it to students and clients as a lucid introduction to family processes.
This groundbreaking volume applies the concepts of systemic family therapy to the emotional life of congregations and their leaders. Challenging many of the conventions of pastoral counseling, Edwin H. Friedman shows how family theory points to a less stressful approach to the full range of the clergy's responsibilities. He also illuminates how congregational dynamics can be a useful model for the study of any family enmeshed in larger systems, and how such systems can themselves be viewed as "families."
Friedman compares the emotional processes at work within individual families to those in church and synagogue, suggesting that clergy can often do more to help families by the way they lead their congregations than they can through specific counseling interventions. Specific topics examined in depth include leadership through self-differentiation, managing separations in families and in congregations, and the influence of previous generations upon life cycle events. The power of the family model is clearly demonstrated in numerous examples drawn from Friedman's own extensive experience as a rabbi and practicing family therapist and from many other rabbis, priests, nuns, and ministers with whom he worked.
Both clergy and lay leaders will find that this book directly addresses the dilemmas and crises they encounter daily, while family therapists and other helping professionals may wish to recommend it to students and clients as a lucid introduction to family processes.
Citations And Professional Reviews Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue by Edwin H. Friedman has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Christian Century - 05/04/2010 page 32
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Studio: The Guilford Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.22" Width: 6.26" Height: 1.18" Weight: 1.39 lbs.
Release Date Jul 19, 1985
Publisher The Guilford Press
ISBN 0898620597 ISBN13 9780898620597
Availability 0 units.
More About Edwin H. Friedman
Edwin H. Friedman, until his death in 1996, worked for more than 35 years in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, and was in great demand as a consultant and public speaker throughout the country. A family therapist and ordained rabbi, Edwin H. Friedman was well known in the fields of mental health and pastoral education for his motivational style and his unique blend of systems thinking, humor, and common sense. He offered acclaimed workshops for mental health practitioners, clergy, business leaders, and others.
Reviews - What do customers think about Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue?
Very good Mar 4, 2008
This book is a eye-opener. Very good and so helpful to understand family dynamics and workplace- or congregational-dynamics. A must for clergy and those who have family problems of any kind.
Systems Theory and Religious Institutions Nov 6, 2007
Edwin Friedman's Generation to Generation is a classic work that examines how family systems therapy can be applied to religious systems. Friedman makes the case that religious leaders have a unique vantage point from which to initiate change. Multigenerational forces, involvement with families in rites of passage/"hinges of time", the length of time over which parishioners are a part of religious institutions, and pastors/priests/rabbis being viewed as leaders by the families in their flocks are the factors that provide such entrée into the lives of families and set up the opportunity for bringing about change.
Friedman writes from a specifically Murray Bowen-inspired form of family systems theoretical perspective. Illustrative of this are his explications of Bowenian concepts such as: individuation, differentiation, triangulation, extended family field, homeostatsis, identified patient, genograms, parallel and series interdependency, family projection process, etc. Central to many of these concepts is the notion of lowering anxiety, becoming less emotionally reactive ("non-anxious presence") to symptomatic behavior, and more individuated and less controlled by projective processes/typical roles/"shoulds and musts".
Religious congregations are multi-layered according to Friedman including individuals' families, the congregation as a family, and the leader's family. Since change is isomorphic change in any one of those systems can bring about change in the others. The leader as a self-differentiated person is perhaps Friedman's central concept in this volume. He sees it as pivotal for the leader's emotional well-being and resultant health of the religious body he serves. He offers an extended discussion of the "seven laws of an emotional triangle": (1) The relationship of any two members of an emotional triangle is kept in balance by the way a third party relates to each of them or to their relationship. (2) If one is the third party in an emotional triangle it is generally not possible to bring change to the relationship of the other two parts by trying to change their relationship directly. (3) Attempts to change the relationship of the other two sides of an emotional triangle not only are generally ineffective but also homeostatic forces often convert these efforts to their opposite effect. (4) To the extent a third party to an emotional triangle tries unsuccessfully to change the relationship of the other two, the more likely it is that the third party will wind up with the stress of the other two. (5) The various triangles in an emotional system interlock so that efforts to bring changes to any one of them are often resisted by homeostatic forces in the others or in the system itself. (6) One side of an emotional triangle tends to be more conflictual than the others. (7) We can only bring change to a relationship to which we belong.
He also discusses churches or synagogues as locations where displaced unresolved family issues get played out. This underscores the need for differentiation to occur to bring about a new homeostatic balance.
This is a seminal work in the integration of family systems theory and pastoral care. Friedman's gift was to be able to communicate in both a provocative and practical way. This book is no exception. For years I have used his Friedman's Fables in therapy sessions. They have opened windows of therapeutic opportunity for me as a therapist. I had never however read this book. I am glad I had the chance to do so. Having worked on pastoral staffs in churches and as a family therapist I found his insights to be profound. I heartily recommend it to therapists and ministers alike.
If you are a leader in a congregation, you simply have to absorb the concepts in this book Aug 13, 2006
This is a book to be absorbed slowly.
I don't think I can summarize this book any better than Friedman himself does on page 1: "It is the thesis of this book that all clergymen and clergywomen, irrespective of faith, are simultaneously involved in three distinct families whose emotional forces interlock: the families within the congregation, our congregations, and our own. Because the emotional process in all of these systems is identical, unresolved issues in any one of them can produce symptoms in the others, and increased understanding of any one creates more effective functioning in all three."
This book will invite you to take a good, hard look at your own functioning. "There is an intrinsic relationship between our capacity to put families together [or, Friedman would also say, to put congregations together] and our ability to put ourselves together" (page 3). Friedman looks at family issues and congregational issues from a systems perspective, arguing that when a member of a family (or a congregation) is demonstrating "symptoms," it is necessary to look at the whole network of relationships that that individual is involved in -- because the root cause of the problem may lie in a completely different part of the system.
Friedman illustrates in detail how clergy can positively effect change in a family system or a congregational system. He also (somewhat indirectly) stresses the critical importance for clergy to resolve their own lingering family-of-origin issues.
The book is heavy reading -- full of terms that may be unfamiliar (and that, unfortunately, he doesn't directly explain, which can be confusing at first), such as "identified patient" and "self-differentiation" and "detriangulating." Frankly, I think he could have used a good editor, so that the book would be more accessible to people who are new to the concepts of Bowen family systems theory.
But don't miss this book. Read it, slowly. Digest it. Read a few pages at a time, then put it down and process what you have read before trying to proceed further. It took me months to work through the book. But I'm a heck of a lot stronger and wiser than I was when I first started. This book will help you grow.
Then, if you want to keep learning and applying the concepts in this book, read Friedman's unfinished manuscript, A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix (available through the Edwin Friedman Trust), and/or do a Google search on The Center for Family Process in Bethesda, Maryland.
Read, and Your Ministry Will Never Be the Same Feb 15, 2002
This book has a reputation of revolutionizing the way its readers view congregational life. Based on his experience as a rabbi and marriage and family therapist, the late Ed Friedman gives the most comprehensive and practical understanding of congregations as emotional systems. Conflicts are explained not from a linear standpoint, i.e. "A causes B," but from a systemic perspective where all participants are contributors. Each part of the system is connected to, or has its own effect upon, every other part. This helps to explain why many "issues" that arise within a congregation cannot be settled on the level of content, but must be viewed as representations of how the persons surrounding the issues are participating in the relational system. "Issues" may seem settled, but if the relational system continues to function the same way, the same or other "issues" will reappear later, because they were merely symptomatic of the emotional dynamics among the people involved. This book begins by explaining the major concepts of family systems theory, and applies them to organizational life, leadership, and the leader's family. It is full of examples, which makes these complex ideas easier to grasp. Few books are as insightful and helpful in equipping church leaders to understand congregations. It is the standard in applying family systems theory to congregations.
A MUST READ for all persons in positions of leadership Sep 26, 2001
"Generation to Generation" by Edwin Friedman is a groundbreaking book on the dynamics of organizational and religious leadership as seen through the lens of the multi-generational family systems model. In the book, Friedman uses case studies and examples drawn from his own leadership experience and uses them to illustrate how leadership can be understood and transformed by having an awareness of three major systems that directly affect organizational leadership:
1. the personal multi-generational family system of the leader
2. the organization itself as a system with both functional and dysfunctional elements
3. the family systems of those person within the organization- for a religious congregation this would be the families within the congregation; for a company it would be that of the employees; for a hospital, it would be that of the employees, volunteers and patients who comprise that organization, etc.
Friedman brilliantly shows how these three sets of systems intertwine with one another to make an organization function in a certain way. He asserts that by better understanding the dynamics of these systems and how they affect one another, leaders can move from a transactional style of leadership to one that is more transformational in the way it functions.
In addition, Friedman's book is a tremendously helpful resource in seeking to gain a better understanding of one's own family of origin issues and how these dynamics manifest themselves in our relationships throughout the life cycle.
In this sense, this book will be greatly beneficial, not only for leaders, but also for lay people as well as caregivers.
The book is challenging reading in spots, but well worth the effort- get this book of you have not done so already- it will change your perspective on leadership and life.