A1 Journal article (refereed)
Play and liberty : A brief incursion into some ideological currents in the history of systems‐oriented family therapy (2023)

Sampolahti, T., & Laitila, A. (2023). Play and liberty : A brief incursion into some ideological currents in the history of systems‐oriented family therapy. Family Process, 62(1), 35-48. https://doi.org/10.1111/famp.12819

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsSampolahti, Timo; Laitila, Aarno

Journal or seriesFamily Process



Publication year2023

Publication date20/09/2022


Issue number1

Pages range35-48


Publication countryUnited States

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/83808

Additional informationKäännös hollanniksi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12440-023-00209-0, DOI: 10.1007/s12440-023-00209-0


We reflect on family therapy and its history from two points of view, as an entity that becomes understood with the help of a twofold concept of a game, and a twofold concept of liberty. Systemic family therapy has always been comprehended with the help of game theory. Its development becomes more properly understood if we keep in mind that game itself is a dualistic concept entailing both a cultural and a logico-mathematical interpretation of a game. We show how cultural ethos has molded the ways how game metaphor have been implemented to systemic thinking. In the same manner we show how Isaiah Berlin's idea of two incompatible concepts of liberty helps to contextualize family therapy in a way that its connections to sociopolitical theories of liberty become obvious. We believe that we have been able to demonstrate, how this twofold recontextualisation enriches the understanding of the ideological history of the family therapy. We claim that our reflections imply that family therapy is essentially a dualistic endeavor, that in the amid of it is a rift that cannot become repaired but only contemplated, that integrity of family therapy requires that we preserve both conflictual views, and don't try to simplify situation by abandoning one or the other. As a result, our article intends to develop further and deepen the idea that is originally presnted in the article "Strategy and intervention or non-intervention: A matter of theory" by Harold Goolishian and Harlene Anderson.

Keywordsfamily therapyideologiesfamily relationsfreedomgame theorysystems thinkinghistory of science and learning

Free keywordsfamily therapy; ideological history; liberty; play

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating2

Last updated on 2024-15-06 at 00:07