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Elements of a system automatically adjust to coordinate their functioning: pepole may gave to work at it


A concept used in structural family therapy to describe emotional barriers that protect and enhance the integrity of individuals, subsystems, and families.


an alliance between two persons or social units against a third

cross-generational coalition

an inappropriate alliance between a parent and child, who side together against a third member of the family


Minuchin's term for psychological isolation that results from overly rigid boundaries around individuals and subsystems in a family


Understanding and acknowledging what someone is really feeling: in structural family therapy, empathy is used to help clients stop bickering and talk about their feelings.


an interaction stimulated in structural family therapy to observe and then change transactions that make up family structure


Minuchin's term for loss of autonomy due to a blurring of psychological boundaries

family structure

the functional organization of a family that determines how family members interact

hierarchical structure

family functioning based on clear generational boundaries, where the parents maintain control and authority.


Minuchin's term for changing maladaptive transactions by using strong affect, repeated intervention, or prolonged pressure.


a structural family therapy term for accepting and accommodating to families to win their condifence and circumvent resistance


Relabeling a family's description of behavior to make it more amenable to theraputic change; for example, describing some one as, "discouraged" rather than "depressed"

shaping competence

Reinforcing positives rather than confronting deficiences


recurrent patterns of interactions that define and stabilize the shape of relationships.


Smaller units in families, determined by generations, sex, or function

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