The Essentials of Family Therapy; Chapters 1, 3, 4, 5 Definitions
Terms in this set (51)
A schematic diagram of a family system that uses squares for representing males, circles for females, horizontal lines for marriages, and vertical lines for children.
An explicit agreement between the client(s) and therapist that specifies the terms of therapy, including things such as frequency and length of sessions, who is to attend, and fees.
Emotional barriers that protect and enhance the integrity of individuals, subsystems, and families.
Family life cycle
Stages in a family life -- from separating from parents through getting married, having children, retiring,and so on -- that generally require modifications of the family structure.
A therapeutic hypothesis about what is responsible for creating and maintaining a client's presenting problem.
The notion that one event is a cause and the other is its effect; in behavior, the idea that one behavior is a stimulus and the other a response. Linear thinking is the opposite of circular thinking, in which events are thought to be related in a series of interacting loops.
How members of a family or group relate; in contrast to content, which is what they talk about.
Recurrent patterns of interaction that define and stabilize the shape of a relationship.
Smaller units in families, determined by generation, gender, or function.
A three-person system; according to Bowen, the smallest stable unit of human relations.
The study of the innate tendency to seek out closeness to caretakers in the face of stress.
Black box metaphor
The idea that because the mind is so complex, it is better to study people's input and output (behavior, communication) than to speculate about what goes on in their minds.
A system that does not exchange information or material with its environment, as opposed to an open system, which does. Machines are closed systems.
The tendency of two parties in a relationship to supply what each one lacks.
Relationships based on differences that fit together, where qualities of one make up for lacks in the other.
A relativistic point of view that emphasizes the subjective construction of reality; implies that what we see in families may be based as much on our preconceptions as on what is actually going on.
The interpersonal milieu that surrounds and influences the behavior of individuals, families, and larger groups.
Common patterns of behavior and experience derived from the settings in which people live.
The study of control processes in systems, especially analysis of the flow of information in closed systems.
Psychological isolation that results from overly rigid boundaries around individuals and subsystems in a family.
Loss of autonomy due to a blurring of psychological boundaries.
The ability of complex systems to reach a given final goal in a variety of different ways.
The common ancestry through which groups of people evolve shared values and customs.
A descriptive term for redundant family behavioral patterns, norms, and expectations.
The functional organization of families that influences how family members interact.
The return of a portion of the output of a system, especially when used to maintain the output within predetermined limits (negative feedback) or to signal a need to modify the system (positive feedback).
Function of the symptom
The idea that symptoms are often ways to distract or otherwise protect family members from threatening conflicts.
General systems theory
A biological model of living systems as whole entities that maintain themselves through continuous input and output from the environment; developed by Ludwig von Bertalanffy.
A balanced steady state of equilibrium.
Every message has two levels, report and command; metacommunication is the implied command or qualifying message.
The process by which a system changes its structure to adapt to new contexts.
An approach to treatment that emphasizes the role of the stories people construct about their experience.
A system that exchanges information or material with its environment, as opposed to a closed system that does not. Living systems are, by definition, open systems.
Distinction between how members of a family or group relate (process) and what they talk about (content).
Relabeling a family's description of behavior to make it more amenable to therapeutic change; ie describing someone as 'discouraged' rather than 'depressed'.
Unchecked positive feedback that causes a family or system to get out of control.
Sequence of family interaction
The recurrent patterns of interpersonal interaction that surround and help explain various problems and behaviors.
Like constructivism, challenges the notion of an objective basis for knowledge. Knowledge and meaning are shaped by culturally shared assumptions.
Steve de Shazer's term for a style of therapy that emphasizes the solutions that families have already developed for their problems.
In relationships, equality or parallel form.
The process by which an individual removes himself or herself from the emotional field of two others.
Differentiation of self
Psychological separation of intellect and emotions and interdependence of self from others; opposite of fusion.
Bowen's term for flight from an unresolved emotional attachment.
Family of origin
A person's parents and siblings; usually refers to the original nuclear family of an adult.
A blurring of psychological boundaries between self and others and a contamination of emotional and intellectual functioning; opposite of differentiation.
A statement that acknowledges one's personal opinions rather than blames others ("You never...") or moralizes ("Children should always...").
Multigenerational transmission process
Murray Bowen's concept for the projection of varying degrees of immaturity to different children in the same family; the child who is most involved in the family emotional process emerges with the lowest level of differentiation and passes problems on to succeeding generations.
Questions designed to help family members think about their own reactions to what others are doing.
Suggestions for trying new ways of responding to family stresses. Designed more to help family members understand how emotional processes work than to solve problems.
Detouring conflict between two people by involving a third person, stabilizing the relationship between the original pair.
Undifferentiation family ego mass
Bowen's early term for emotional "stuck-togetherness" or fusion in the family, especially prominent in schizophrenic families.