The Postmodern Techniques Of Family Therapy

In the article “A Both-And Approach: An Application of Narrative Interventions from a Modern Perspective” (2021), Hoss and Hynes study the changes in the field of Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT). The research is motivated by the fact that therapists have to adjust their treatment accordingly on the verge of modern and postmodern eras. Unfortunately, there is still a lack of agreement between different therapeutic approaches. The modern type is based on the assumption that scientific means can achieve objective truth. Modern therapists take on the role of an expert in the family conflict, intervening and implementing various techniques to achieve the patients’ wellbeing (Hoss & Hynes, 2021). The postmodern type argues the existence of objective truth, implying that there are different realities and each possesses its own truth. Consequently, they surrender the expert position and focus on clients’ definitions of problems, assuming that people better know their personal experiences (Hoss & Hynes, 2021). While it is impossible to define which type is utterly better, Hoss and Hynes (2021) showcase a unique middle-ground version. With the closer analysis, it might be possible to tell whether this approach is competitive enough with its one-sided counterparts.

Admitting that there are no absolute best options for all cases, therapists open themselves to many possibilities. According to Wittenborn et al. (2019), the role of advanced methodology is crucial in the case of MFT. This mindset helped develop both-and approaches, which involve integrating different therapeutic types (Hoss & Hynes, 2021). From the epistemological cooperation to the application at the intervention level, the initiatives support the idea that the division is detrimental to MFT practice. In the article, Hoss and Hynes (2021) illustrate a specific version of the both-and approach. According to their interpretation, the therapists should operate under one epistemology; working with the primary theoretical orientation, they can implement particular interventions from different schools if they find it fitting to the specific case (Hoss & Hynes, 2021). Generally speaking, such practice consists of two steps. Firstly, the therapists should be aware that they are crossing the modern/postmodern line. Secondly, they should identify if the chosen intervention can guarantee positive consistency in the client’s treatment (Hoss & Hynes, 2021). Nevertheless, despite the logic behind the therapeutic dualism, the both-and approach faces a certain level of criticism.

While considering the advantages of the dualistic view on therapy, it is possible to see the irony in the postmodern denial of absolute truth. From the philosophical point of view, postmodernism acts for and against integration simultaneously. Another concern about the integrative approaches states that it is impossible to unite epistemologies and theories with such a contrast level (Hoss & Hynes, 2021). Furthermore, considering the changeability of an impact that the various interventions have with regard to their context, the both-and approach might result in inconsistency and low treatment quality (Hoss & Hynes, 2021). Speaking of the specific Hoss & Hynes approach (2021), the main objection resides in it not being the both-and type because the therapists hold on to one epistemology and one primary theory. Nonetheless, the argument against this objection states that the therapist’s ability to choose between modern/postmodern interventions speaks for the both-and type. Besides, the consistency relies on the fact that the selected interventions from other theories “flow through the therapist’s epistemology and theoretical orientation” (Hoss & Hynes, 2021, p.3). Lastly, the impossibility of modern/postmodern union is argued by the successful example session presented in the article.

Considering the arguments, it becomes hard to disagree with the opinion of Hoss and Hunes. As time changes, so do the people and their concerns and troubles. Every case might be unique in its own way, and therapeutic practice, in its diversity, does require an agile approach. Consequently, it comes down to the therapist’s ability to recognize the need and act accordingly to ensure the client’s wellbeing.


Hoss, L., & Hynes, K. C. (2021). A both-and approach: An application of narrative interventions from a modern perspective. Contemporary Family Therapy. Web.

Wittenborn, A. K., Blow, A. J., Holtrop, K., & Parra‐Cardona, J. R. (2019). Strengthening clinical research in marriage and family therapy: Challenges and multilevel solutions. Journal of marital and family therapy, 45(1), 20-32. Web.