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Tag Archives: conflict


Session 3: Parents Create Change in the Family System

Jenny* and Stefan are parents having difficulty with their 7 year-old son, Nicholas. They have come into therapy to create change in their family system.  This is their third therapy session. Stefan:  I know we started seeing you for therapy because of Nicholas, but things are going much better with him lately.  Jen and I are

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60 Minutes Interview

Emotional Triangles with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton

The Bowen Family Systems Theory concept of Emotional Triangles was illustrated in a recent T.V. interview with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Reporter Steve Kroft interviewed Clinton and Obama. They answered his questions about how they resolved their differences after the contentious 2008 election.  Both acknowledged that their staffs and their spouses had more difficulty

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A Lesson From An Animal Family About Human Family Attachment

Is attachment in human families anything like attachment in animal families? Can we learn anything about ourselves by watching animal families interact? A family of squirrels visits my home nearly every day. They’re usually waiting for my husband or me first thing in the morning. I toss almonds outside before I can even make my

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Tearing Away to Grow Up

Selma, 38, has come in to therapy because of an on-going conflict with her daughter, Salina.   Salina is 19 years-old and, according to her mother, her behavior has recently spiraled out of control.   Selma was married to Salina’s father, William, until Salina was 9.   That’s when William got caught having an affair with a co-worker

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Giving up to Go Along

What does it mean to accommodate, or give up “self”, to preserve harmony? Ellis is a 53 year-old father of two. His wife, Stacy, is 51. Ellis runs a successful insurance business and Stacy is a homemaker. Their kids, Evan, 22, and Sheri, 19, are living at home. Evan started college at 18 but quit

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Your Family is an Emotional System

Q:  My husband and I are having a lot of problems lately.  I asked him to come to marriage counseling but he says I’m the one with the problem so I should just go by myself.  How can we work on our relationship if he won’t even admit he has a problem? Q:  My daughter,

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Are you a Reckless Rescuer?

Margo didn’t really want therapy for herself.  She had called about her 23 year-old son, Stephan.  She was hoping I’d see him for therapy to help “straighten him out”.  I told her I don’t work with kids that age if they are still living at home and financially dependent on their parents, which was the

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Growing Apart: A Case of Not Enough, or Too Much?

Shayna is 32 years old and attending her first therapy appointment.  She’s decided to enter therapy because she’s been feeling depressed and lethargic.  She reports that she’s avoiding her friends and not participating in the activities she used to enjoy.  She’s also gained about 25 pounds which has her really upset.  She knows it would

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The Family Emotional System

The term emotional system refers to any group of people who have developed interdependencies to the point where the resulting system through which they are connected (administratively, physically, or emotionally) has evolved its own principles of organization.__A family emotional system includes the members’ thoughts, feelings, emotions, fantasies, and associations, their past connections individually and together.

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