In fact, it is about working systemically with the most challenging families and individuals, the ones who have already defeated therapist after therapist. At the same time, Joel Bergman presents a multitude of therapeutic tactics that will be useful with a wide range of families, from minnows to submarines.
Drawing extensively upon his own experiences as a therapist and as a family member, Bergman shares strategic interventions that are paradoxical, humorous, shocking, and effective. He focuses in particular on the therapist's need to "stay alive", to control the momentum towards change, and to make every therapeutic session dramatic and meaningful.
As the title implies, some families can involve therapists in potentially lethal contests. Bergman's goal is to balance the odds, to help therapists develop the skills to change families quickly. Numerous case studies demonstrate his pragmatic way of using rituals, metaphors, and other strategies to hook families and then send them on their way with new resources - without being devoured!