Key terms for at least one approach to Family Therapy….

by Rod Smith

Who shows the most health and freedom?

Readers often express interest in the Science of Family Therapy. Here are a few key words to guide any reading to stimulate further interest in at least one of many approaches:

Murray Bowen – is considered one of the pioneers;
Genogram – a diagram of a family usually starting with immediate family or “family of origin”;
Space – the distance between and among people;
Under- and over-functioning – playing more than your own role or doing less than your role deserves or requires; Anxiety and chronic anxiety;
The human need for autonomy;
The human need for intimacy;
Differentiation of self;
Cut-offs, fusion;
Mutuality; respect;
Invisible loyalties – the often irrational and rational loyalty among family members;
Low- and high-functioning individuals; low- and high-functioning families.

Keys to change in a family (if change is indeed possible):

Change in a family often comes from first identifying the most self-differentiated person in the family. This person is challenged by the therapist to move his/her life toward greater levels of health and integrity, despite the cost and the sabotage that will naturally result. Family resistance to change is to be expected. When some seek greater health there will be “push back” from those who benefit from the status quo.

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