The Milanese Family Therapy Centre (CMTF) has been a Psychotherapy Specialisation School for over thirty years. Founded by Lugi Boscolo and Gianfranco Cecchin in order to transmit and diffuse the systemic-relation approach by allowing an immersion in in-vivo clinical practice.
Indeed, Gregory Bateson was the central point of epistemological reference for both founders, during a meeting in 1956 held at the Josiah Mary Jr. Foundation he stated: “There is a remarkable similitude between a psychotherapeutic encounter and play; nonetheless, in a psychotherapeutic encounter, nothing happens until both parties involved begin to play seriously”.
Indeed this statement may be considered as the emblem of the Clinical method implemented by the Milan Approach. The teachings of Luigi Boscolo and Gianfranco Cecchin consist in widening the range of therapeutic possibilities, playing seriously and feeling the emotions all with rigor as well as imagination.
Rigor signifies that the approach used, indeed the systemic-relational one, does not include every and any model or thought, it does not just accept everything; regardless of it entering a dialogue with all the diverse surrounding perspectives however, these always uphold non-oppressive and non-authoritarian values. The systemic approach as a distinct ethic: “ My actions will expand the reach of my possibilities” indeed, meaning that new forms of therapeutic dialogue will always be sought and unravelled. Exactly, through the interaction of words, gazes and glances, posture as well as movements those of the body just as much as those of culture. On the other hand, Imagination signifies continuous research within the Clinical field, social as well as cultural changes, the transformation of family as well as community life. Ultimately, this implies a confrontation with different healing devices, new social practices and most importantly not imposing a limit by following a single indisputable model or a rigid clinical theory.
Our students learn the mode of therapy through observation alongside the extrapolation of clinical theories and theoretical techniques from the observed scenarios all gained with the invaluable help of the experienced didactic tutors. Theories are never announced in a void, never rendered or offered as abstract formulas to be deciphered, they are never indisputable models. “Never fall in love of one’s own hypothesis” may be considered as one of our fundamental principles of our clinical work.
Our anthropological, theoretical and epistemological premises constantly refer to a complex and articulate cultural panorama, they may be considered innovative since they are rooted in the history of psychotherapy as much as that of the Milan Approach and its frontiers.
This serious play in order to be transmitted necessitates a different manner of teaching/ learning: the base of attainment will be psychotherapy which will be affiliated to, in each and every year, a group with a didactic tutor as well as at least a didactic tutor’s assistant. During the four years of Specialization School two didactic tutors will alternate them-selves as points of reference, just like Luigi Boscolo e Gianfranco Cecchin used to do, however, the training group will always be followed by at least one didactic tutor assistant. This is the core of the transmission of therapy.
Since the first year of training it will be possible to observe psychotherapeutic encounters. The involvement of students both in clinical practice and observed encounters (case studies, video and audio recordings of encounters, etc.) will increase from year to year. Indeed, this may be considered as an authentic clinical laboratory in which the student, as part of a group, will be able to modulate their involvement including through practicing on them-selves for example through the completion of a personal genogram or other personal healing techniques.
Additionally, there will be other specific activities, the details of the later will be given each year, such as: classes regarding the theory, seminars, both held by the school and international, placements that constitute, in of them-selves, a second external clinical laboratory that allow for an in the moment confrontation of two lived experiences, that of the CMTF and the placement in of it-self.
Undeniably the Milan Approach is configured as a whole that may solely be dissembled artificially. Every time that a topic whether it be clinical, social or cultural the theoretical premises cannot be separated from the object of focus; they temporary fall in the background nonetheless, they may be evoked in any moment during a class or discussion. Vice-versa, when dealing with the theory, its premises are in the foreground, however the knowledge given by clinical practice is always present. The increasing proximity to therapeutic responsibility may be considered as going hand in hand with the increasing proximity of one’s own life. The main means with which this process evolves are the group learning activities that are guided by the didactic tutor and their assistants.
At the end of the training program the student will be fully aware of the responsibility of the psychotherapeutic treatment, will think and act on distinct critical levels as requested by the systemic-relational approach and will be able to accord their personal style in order to position it among the appropriate literature, professional community and the Italian Law.
The group experience indeed favours debate and discussion between students also aside from a purely didactic context. The groups formed by the students during their training enables for the experimentation of modes of collaboration; which frequently gives way to professional engagements (a joint private practice, cooperatives, associations, etc.) well before the end of the quadrennial training.
According to Bateson, and has pragmatically postulated by the teachings of Boscolo and Cecchin, the mind is not an abstract entity, it is built through our way of positioning, entering in relation, participating to events, belonging to groups as to communities, being a part of one or more families. Having a body. Such a conception highlights how the effort in relating to one’s didactic group and with the CMTF, as a School and Centre of Therapy, is actually an integral part of the learning process. The more the relationships, formed during the psychotherapeutic training, are positively lived the greater the enrichment gained from the overall experience.
During as well as after training students and former students are able to benefit from particular training and/or clinical supervision instances. Moreover, for enrolled students specific lateral didactic occasions, like seminars, conferences or short course regarding a specific topic, could be considered as recuperating missed didactic hours in the Psychotherapy School (for example in scenarios of maternity leave).
The CMTF organises specific training courses (therapeutic groups, the body in therapy, EthnoClinics) for both enrolled, former students and external colleagues. Additionally, CMTF guarantees a reduction in fees for both its own courses as well as those held externally which have received the centre’s accreditation.
Leading students will be selected and potentially be offered a role as a didactic tutor’s assistant, throughout the four years. If this role is positively fulfilled by the student, they will be accredited as a didactic tutor of the Milan Approach ®.