Generation to Generation

Family Process in Church and Synagogue

Edwin H. Friedman
Foreword by Gary Emanuel and Mickie Crimone

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Hardcover
July 19, 1985
ISBN 9780898620597
Price: $80.00 $68.00
319 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
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Paperback
March 2, 2011
ISBN 9781609182366
Price: $35.00 $29.75
319 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
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June 17, 2011
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319 Pages
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319 Pages
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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 family systems and pastoral care.

“A feature throughout the book is the heavy use of story and narrative to make a point. This is very effective as the narrative often contains multi-dimensional meanings that the author then explores in an engaging way....Provides an interesting and very readable account of how to incorporate family processes into congregational life.”

Journal for the Study of Marriage and Spirituality


“I was shocked, surprised and disillusioned when I began to realize that hard work, sincerity and prayer weren't enough to guarantee success in pastoral ministry. I kept getting myself into tangles that I didn't understand until I read this book by a storytelling rabbi with uncommon wisdom. Friedman helped me see that the best way to engage with the factors I can't control—like the opinions and behavior of others—was to focus on the factors that I can control: my own presence, identity and behavior in the social system of the local congregation.”

The Christian Century


“An important contribution to...family systems thinking and pastoral care....One of the most creative aspects of this volume is the way the book is laid out. The chapters are organized around interrelated concepts that feed back on and amplify one another—a design that itself helps the reader begin to think systemically.”

Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling


“A groundbreaking book in the use of family therapy....The key is not expertise, but self-definition and self-understanding.”

Behavioral Studies of Religion


“A must read for persons of the cloth, for it points to significant issues and considerations on the experience of living in families and working with a congregation as a family.”

Review and Expositor


“Friedman uses his unique position as family therapist and rabbi to explore ways to be an effective agent of change in a group. He shows how ceremonies and rituals, as developmental markers in the lives of families and organizations, can be transformed into systemic interventions that spur healing and growth. In the footsteps of Murray Bowen, Friedman moves seamlessly between a leader's self-differentiation as a person and his or her role within families and other systems, giving each their due. For family therapists, Generation to Generation is a pioneering text that illuminates the relevance of personal spirituality and religious life to the functioning of healthy families.”

—James L. Griffith, MD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The George Washington University


Generation to Generation provides a needed corrective to the general tendency in ministry to focus on the individual. I have found the text to be useful in my Youth Ministry courses to remind Catholic missionaries that the family is the domestic church. While we may see the individual in front of us, Friedman widens our vision so we may see the larger context of the individual at home and in the congregation. Insightful and grounded in reality, Generation to Generation is a valuable resource for those intending to minister to others.”

—Biff Rocha, MA, Department of Theology, Benedictine College, Atchison, Kansas


“When [this book] was originally written, learning about the emotional side of congregations was not part of the curriculum in most seminaries. Now it is the gold standard in this area, and Generation to Generation is a text many clergy carry with them each day....Just as the book’s title suggests, Friedman’s ideas continue to be passed down to today’s generation of leaders.”

—from the Foreword to the Paperback Edition by Gary Emanuel, PhD, and Mickie Crimone, MS, APRN


“Well written and lively...required reading for pastoral counselors of every persuasion....Any therapist will find here new techniques for bringing about changes and will enlarge his or her conceptual framework of the human dilemma.”

Jay Haley

Table of Contents

Introduction

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


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.

Audience

Clergy and lay leaders; family therapists and counselors; instructors and students in both religious studies and mental health/family fields.

Course Use

Widely used as a text in courses on pastoral care, leadership, and family systems.