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The term "paradigm" has gained wide usage in family therapy and theory in part because family therapists have regarded the emergence of the family therapy field as a "paradigmatic shift," a concept developed by Thomas S. Kuhn (1962). It is noteworthy that Kuhn used the term to describe phenomena that he regarded as specific in the development of science. He defined paradigms as "universally recognized scientific achievements that for a time provide model problems and solutions to a community of practitioners" (p. x). Over the years, the term has sometimes been used in accord with Kuhn's formulation, and at other times more casually. The terms "model" and "map" (or internal map) can be viewed as conceptually nested within the broader concept of paradigm, while the term paradigm can be regarded as constituent of the larger term epistemology.

Definition extracted with permission from Simon, Fritz, et al, Family Process, Inc.: Language of Family Therapy: A Systemic Vocabulary and Source Book (Family Process Press Series)

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