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Case Reports
, 19 (3), 295-306

Family Secrets: I. Conceptual and Ethical Issues in the Relational Context. II. Ethical and Practical Considerations in Therapeutic Management

Case Reports

Family Secrets: I. Conceptual and Ethical Issues in the Relational Context. II. Ethical and Practical Considerations in Therapeutic Management

M A Karpel. Fam Process.

Abstract

Family secrets are examined in a two-part article. Part I explores the dynamics of secrets in the relational context. Terminology is proposed for different types of family secrets as well as for different roles within the relational context. Guidelines for identifying family secrets are presented, and typical patterns accompanying or underlying secrets are explored. Different stances toward secrets are discussed, with particular emphasis on ethical issues. Finally, individual and relational consequences of secrets are proposed. Part II extends this discussion to the management of family secrets in marital and family therapy. Ethical and strategic dilemmas facing the therapist are examined as are consequences of secrets in treatment. A particular therapeutic stance is recommended and illustrated with examples of both reparative and preventive applications.

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