Gossips in front of the family

We – Umberta and Kyriaki – are very excited about this project. We know that what is interesting about the history of family therapy and of psychotherapy in general can be easily found in the small acts of its founders as in their theoretical interpretations. Following is a gathering together of small acts that tell much of both the narrator and the person encountered. We read them with passion and learned, not only about the person who was the focus of the story, but also we learned something about the teller. From each story we also gained something about life.
We have been motivated for many reasons: it helps remember very precious stories that otherwise would get lost; it is a way to honor our founders and our systemic past; it could become an important part of teaching students the history of the movement by offering them precious memories that can give the flavor of the ’70 and ’80 in our field and its ongoing development.
We are using this particular title for the project based on a quote of Mara Selvini Palazzoli: according to her, therapy is a sort of gossip in front of the family  and happen all the time. Also, Heinz von Foerster used to utilize a relevant phrase in his reference to “People who invented me”.

Gossips in philosophical terms aim not to denigrate the subject it speaks about but to reveal its moral identity. Giuseppe Mantovani, moral philosopher (The invisible elephant, discovering cultural differences, Giunti Firenze 2005) writes: “Gossip almost always tells the truth about things that happen, but things almost never happen as gossip tells them“.
Actually, the Greek word for gossips – “κουτσομπολιό” (koutsobolio) refers to the process of “grafting” whereby one part of a plant is transplanted to tissues of another plant, connecting them together in such a way that they go on to grow and develop a new different plant. This is what we hope for our process…
We decided to begin by calling for gossip related to the “masters’”, but we know that our professional society is now more horizontal and that the concept of masters could be seen as patriarchal. Since the participation in this adventure has become large we are also including people who are the second and third generation; as we have explained in the presentation letter we wished this project would take a life of its own, becoming a self referential system. We therefore admitted every gossip we received.

We choose to put the name of the storyteller at the beginning of the shared experience so as to underline that stories are personal experiences rather than objective reality. In this way, we hope that no one will get offended, because what is told is the personal recollection of the narrator and her/his respect and love are already evident by choosing that specific person instead of another one.

We think that this project gives life to the pioneers by telling a part of their life that is not evident in their writings.

Colleagues can continue sending in stories, we are not interrupting this project and would like it to be an ongoing flux. Here is what we are assembled till now:

Pioneers we are speaking about :

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Gossipers :

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