Family Theories In Family Therapy

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Family therapy is a highly flexible approach which can be applied across the lifespan to both adult and child focussed issues. Its aim is ‘to facilitate the resolution of presenting problems and promote healthy family development by focusing primarily on the relationships between the person with the problem and significant members of his/her family and social network’ (Carr, 2012, p. 54). Ultimately, the focus is on the family and its members’ interactions and relationships. Whilst, there are a number of pioneers such as Minuchin (structural), Gottman (behavioural), Haley & Madanes (strategic), Whitaker (experiential) and Satir (human validation) whose research led to the foundation of their respective family therapies; this assignment will…show more content…
His theory postulates that a two-person relationship remains possible until anxiety is introduced. Once anxiety increases, this dyad becomes unstable and a third party is introduced to reduce the overall anxiety, therefore, the original relationship experiences relief and the anxiety has more places to disperse itself. We now have a three-person system or a ‘triangle’; the triangle thus describes the dynamic equilibrium of a three-person system. ‘Triangles are simply a fact of nature….are forever, at least in families….the actors come and go but the play lives on in generations’ (Kerr and Bowen, 1988, p. 134 & 135). Children are a primary example of triangulation; they are born into their parents’ relationship and will remain in that triangle for their entire lives. As an example, during times of marital disharmony, children may be drawn into a triangle; parents take the focus from their own anxieties with each other and ultimately place them onto the child. It is in these situations a poorly differentiated child may find him/herself taking sides and even acting out in order to reduce the tension between the…show more content…
Bowen considered that sibling position affects variation in basic and functional levels of differentiation. Sibling position could provide useful information in understanding the roles individuals tend to take in relationships. An individual is born into a sibling position. The first child, for example, the eldest are more likely to take on responsibility and leadership whilst the last born, youngest child may be more comfortable in being dependent and allowing others to make decisions. Bowen was particularly interested in the link between sibling position and the vulnerability to triangling with parents. ‘For example, a family that has an oldest who acts like a youngest can expect a good deal of triangulation with that child’ (Winek, 2010, p. 88). In other words, the family member who “has the problem” is triangulated and serves to stabilize a dyad in the family. Bowen would have stressed sibling order believing that each child had a place in the family hierarchy, and thus was more likely to fit some family projections. An example could be, an oldest child grows up and marries another older sibling. Both may be drawn to each other for their maturity and responsibility

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