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General Systems Theory
- System have Universal Characteristics shared by all living systems.
- 1930's Ludwig von Bertalanffy
- the whole (or system) is more than the sum of parts.
- global and expansive rather than reductionist
- "organized complexity" concerned with whole system not just parts
1940s - frameworks which function according to laws of recursiveness, feedback and self-correction.
Cybernetics Key Concepts-p24
- Boundaries: permeable, selective, variability
- Circular causality
- Feedback Loops
- Amplifying (Positive feedback loop)
- Attenuating (negative feedback loop)
- Ripple effect
Human Systems Theory-p25
- The primary domain of human systems theory is communication.
- Decomposition Law: What passes between people and oneself is communication one
- cannot not communicate
- Cognitive Maps - models-incoming info is perceived, understood, transformed and stored with behavioral response options - i.e. integration of experiences.
- Maps - flexible, expansive or rigid and limiting.
- David Kantor-critical identity image: how ones self image is formed.
Communication Theory p26
- verbal or non verbal
- dysfunctional communication:
- constant message (generally ignored)
- self-canceling message
- echoing (repetitive-no new info)
- family therapist should evaluate verbal and non-verbal style to see if communication is effective
- goal is to increase breadth and accuracy of individual's & family's cognitive maps.
- Past generation's influence on present:
- Bowen Extensions
- Contextual (Boszormenyi-Nagy)
- Object Relations/Psychodynamic
affects choice of mate
- each partner brings expectations, fantasies from family of origin
- approx 2 years of tx
- problems maintained in ongoing patterns that span generations.
- therapists differentiation predictor of ability to resist emotional reactivity with clients.
- Philip Guerin
- Betty Carter
- Norman Paul
- Monica McGoldrick
- Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy
- James Framo
Bowenian Transgenerational System Theory
- continuum: emotional fusion to differentiation
- differentiate between thoughts and feelings
- solid-self vs. pseudo-self
- lower level if differentiation=higher anxiety
Bowen's Six Concepts:
- Differentiation of self
- nuclear family emotional process
- Family Projection Process
- Multigenerational Transmission Process
- Sibling Position
Differentiation of Self
- family organism 2 competing needs: to be part of system and to be individual.
- when needs are not in balance, Anxiety results and emotional reactivity therefore either emotionally dependent or distant/avoidant.
- non-dfferentiated seek love, approval, security and comfort and bring needs into family.
- smallest stable unit in family.
- 2 members fighting will bring in a 3rd to stabilize relationship.
Nuclear Family Emotional Process
(Undifferentiated Ego Mass)
- Marriage partners tend to select mates at the same level of differentiation.
- the less differentiation pre-marriage the greater the fusion between spouses.
Family Projection Process
- Undifferentiated parents transmit their immaturity (lack of differentiation) onto their children.
- father reacts to stress by withdrawing and mother may become over-involved with child.
Multigenerational Transmission Process
"Emotional responses, nature and degree of intensity, are passed down from generation to generation."
Sibling order predictor of role played in family emotional process