Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue / Edition 1 available in Hardcover
This acclaimed, influential work applies the concepts of systemic family therapy to the emotional life of congregations. Edwin H. Friedman shows how the same understanding of family process that can aid clergy in their pastoral role also has important ramifications for negotiating congregational dynamics and functioning as an effective leader. Clergy from diverse denominations, as well as family therapists and counselors, have found that this book directly addresses the dilemmas and crises they encounter daily. It is widely used as a text in courses on pastoral care, leadership, and family systems.
About the Author
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, Dr. 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.
Table of Contents
I. Family Theory
1. The Idea of a Family
2. Understanding Family Process
II. The Families within the Congregation
3. The Marital Bond
4. Child-Focused Families
5. Body and Soul in Family Process
6. When the Parent Becomes the Child
7. A Family Approach to Life-Cycle Ceremonies
III. The Congregation as a Family System
8. Family Process and Organizational Life
9. Leadership and Self in a Congregational Family
10. Leaving and Entering a Congregational Family
IV. The Personal Families of the Clergy
11. The Immediate Family: Conflict and Traps
12. The Extended Family: Its Potential for Salvation
Clergy and lay leaders; family therapists and counselors; instructors and students in both religious studies and mental health/family fields. Widely used as a text in courses on pastoral care, leadership, and family systems.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"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 leader2. the organization itself as a system with both functional and dysfunctional elements3. 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.
My book of the decade! I read Generation to Generation six years ago, and I find myself recalling a principle from it about once a week. The concepts that helped me...1. Anxiety - wasted thinking, trying to control others, constantly worrying about how others perceive me. 2. Self-differentiation - Decide who I am, how I want to live, and then strive to be that person. Aware of others and listening to their feedback, but not being controlled by their anxieties.3. Non-anxious presence - Perhaps the trickiest concept - OK being myself but still present to others. Connecting with others, but without control. I don't have to avoid anxious people (not possible); I am myself and I'm OK with their being anxious.4. Playful spirit - an amazing way to defuse anxiety and preserve relationships.An earlier reviewer drew a distinction between this book and the Bible. Yet Rabbi Friedman's principles are consistent with scripture. As a Christian, I would point to Jesus as an exemplar of Friedman's material - he was present with people he encountered yet intentional about who he wanted to be, even if it made them uncomfortable.
Introduces systems and family systems theory then successfully applies it to all areas of life: work, home, school, church/synagogue/mosque. Systems and family systems theory basically states that conflicts are not explained from a linear standpoint of A causes B but from a systemic perspective in which all components are contributors. Each part of the system is connected to, or has its own effect upon, every other part. The initial theory is significant and radical enough, but even more radical as applied to most ALL of life.Essential reading for anyone in relationships at any location and level. Excellent.