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22 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
What constitutes the family structure?
The patterns of alliance and interactions within a family. Repeated transactions establish relatively enduring patterns.
Family structure governs which areas of family life?
- who (really) sets the rules
- whether rules are enforced
- who talks to whom in what way
- how conflicts are handled
- distance and proximity amongst family members
- degree of autonomy and sharing within the family.
Define subsystems
People who join together to perform various functions. Most significant subsystems within the family are often NOT the obvious ones. For example, the mother/child subsystem may be more real and important in one family than the husband/wife subsystem.
Describe the key attributes of the

Spouse Subsystem
Complementarity and mutual accommodation. - Must yield part of separateness to gain in belonging.
- Must be protected from being swallowed up by other functions (child rearing, work)
- The analogue for single parents is significant adult contacts the parent has (usually) outside the home.
- Must be nurtured and safeguarded or the parent will resent the children.
Describe key attributes of

Parental Subsystem
Children should have access to both parents, but still be excluded from many spouse functions.
- flexible, rational, but firm authority
- Adapt to growth of children:
- very young children = nurturance
- older children = control and guidance
- adolescents = autonomy outside the home
Define the key attributes of

Sibling subsystem
Social laboratory for learning about peer relationships.
- Boundaries should protect children's opportunity to deal with each other (including settling most fights) free from parental control.
Define the term boundaries as used by family therapists.
Invisible barriers surrounding individuals and subsystems regulating the degree of intrusion from outside.

Boundaries vary from rigid to diffuse, yielding subsystems which vary from disengaged to enmeshed.
What is meant by the term enmeshed subsystem? Describe some common symptoms.
Heightened togetherness and interaction at the expense of autonomy.

Symptoms: open doors, people interrupt each other, usually child centered families, and usually there is an absence of clear control and authority.
Name 5 different techniques for challenging enmeshment.
1. Do NOT challenge family values
2. Support each individual's life space
3. Strengthen subsystem boundaries
4. Challenge overprotectiveness
5. Support hierarchical structure of the family
Describe the following technique for challenging enmeshment in families:

Do NOT challenge family values
If you challenge family values head on, you will be identified as a critical outsider. Your advice, like that of a friend, will be ignored.
Describe the following technique for challenging enmeshment in families:

Support each individual's life space.
Support people's right to speak (or not speak) at times. "Everyone has a right to some privacy." Encourage family members to "speak for yourself", "don't check for approval". Don't discuss a third person without him or her participating. Gently address interrupters by saying "What was she going to say?".
Describe the following technique for challenging enmeshment in families:

Strengthen subsystem boundaries.
When two people are talking, block interruption of a third.

"They aren't finished yet, they don't need you to rescue them."
"This concerns your parents, not you."
"Let the children work it out."
Describe the following technique for challenging enmeshment in families:

Challenge overprotectiveness
Gently confront overprotectiveness or diver concern to someone other than the IP.
"Susie is old enough to do that for herself."

"Dad is trying to help, is not necessary when the child is 15-years-old."
Describe the following technique for challenging enmeshment in families:

Support hierarchical structure of the family.
Children need to know who is in charge, and that there are controls.
What do family therapist mean when they speak of disengaged subsystems? Describe some of the symptoms.
Members of disengaged subsystems exhibit lots of individuality, but not much sharing, cooperation, or affection. They typically respond slowly to problems.

Symptoms: parents who do everything separately, parents who don't know what children are doing, very little talking in sessions.
Identify 3 techniques for breaking through disengagement.
1. Challenge conflict-avoidance
2. Keep disengaged person from being driven further away.
3. Block triangulation outside the family.
Describe the following technique for breaking through disengagement in families:

Challenge conflict-avoidance
Create boundaries to let (force) disagreeing family members to discuss and resolve conflicts. The therapist prevents intrusion or escape, but does not become referee or judge. It is sometimes useful to align with one (usually weaker) party of the conflict. Triangulators must be blocked, but supported. Criticize behaviors in the context of acceptance of persons. "What you are doing is wrong (hurtful), but I think you can change."
Describe the following technique for breaking through disengagement in families:

Keep the disengaged person from being driven further away.
Help the pursuing person find more effective ways of making contact than by nagging or developing symptoms. Encourage some explicit permission for separateness, then encourage seduction rather than demandingness.
Describe the following technique for breaking through disengagement in families:

Block triangulation outside the family
Discourage substitute relationships. Investment in family must be partly at the expense of outside contacts and activities (jobs, hobbies, friends, lovers). The less involvement and satisfaction found outside the family, the more emotional needs will be found within the family. Each side can be used to regulate the other.
Name three primary roles of the family therapist within the therapeutic context.
A. The therapist is a leader.
B. The therapist is a monitor of interpersonal distance (self and others).
c. A therapist is a reframer of reality.
Describe the following role of the family therapist:

A. A therapist is a leader.
1. A source of hope, knowledge, and mystery - as such the therapist challenges close stereotyped reality of the family indicating that there are alternatives that they have not yet tried.
2. An alert responder to system feedback, a self manipulator, and an accommodator - as such, the therapist accepts his dependency on the system and leads because he follows.
3. A confirmer of people - as such, the therapist normalizes and is a source of enhancement and validation.
Describe the following role of the family therapist:

B. A therapist is a monitor of interpersonal distance (self and others).
1. In proximity the therapist...
a. Joins with members encouraging them, confiding, sharing, facilitating, or blocking exploration or expressions of affect.
b. Enters into conflicts with family - as such, he substitutes other members' positions in the system, modeling and freeeing them to search for alternative behaviors.
c. Is a member of coalitions supporting members in their conflicts with others - as such, he challenges members to change and forces his own ally to disregard accepted interpersonal signals that maintain homeostasis.