Browsing All Posts filed under »Family Systems«

Does Your Holiday Family Event Make You Itch?

December 5, 2013 by

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Well, you made it through Thanksgivukkah.  But don’t relax yet; the big season of joy is coming up fast. Being with your extended family can make you squirm, either due to their direct questions or simply as a results of the difference between your life situation and that of the larger group. If something important […]

Raising Nice Adults: Overfunctioning for Your Already Launched Adult Children

October 28, 2013 by

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Over a year ago I posted several blogs on helping to launch your young adults who haven’t yet found work, job, insurance, or significant other.  See “Fixing We’ll Just Fix It For You: Letting Your Children be Adults: the Two Principles,” and“But What If? Adult Children with Extenuating Circumstances.”  Recently, an extended version of that […]

Who Owns the Overweight Problem: National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September 17, 2013 by

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Everybody worries about a chubby child.  Thin parents and overweight parents, especially those who suffered from fat-kid syndrome themselves.  Even Michelle Obama weighs in on this topic. Yet nobody knows what to do about it, except make September a National Child Obesity Awareness Month. Thanks a lot. One thing surely won’t work: a parent trying […]

No More Monkeys Jumping On This Bed: Few Psych Meds Coming Our Way

June 16, 2013 by

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There’s nothing wrong with the size of the field. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that nearly one in four adults in America suffers from a diagnosable mental order in any given year. And there’s not been much to complain about the profitability of the field in past years either. Take 2009: Next Generation […]

The Ties that Bind–Up and Over

February 4, 2012 by

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As Mario Puzo informed us–and he ought to know–“The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other.” So far, so good. But loyalty to, precisely, which part of the family and when–and what does that have to do with, say, the price of tea in China? […]

But I got here first!: How birth order can effect sibling roles

January 24, 2012 by

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I’m a bit of a softie for sibling roles in family dynamics, and although there are definite limits to the validity of utilizing birth order to explain behavioral and personality traits, some value yet remains. Older research asserted a variety of characteristics to various birth-ordered children. It ranges from the 1975 Wark, Swanson and Mack […]

The Family Hero, or “Morticia and the Psychiatrist”: Part I

January 22, 2012 by

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Remember the wondrously insane and macabre Addams family? (“They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky/They’re all together ooky. . . .”) They were the anti-Partridge family, the inverse Brady Bunch, fabulously perverse, with two ghastly children, Wednesday (as in “Wednesday’s child is full of woe”), and her partner-in-crime Pugsley, whose unique hobby is stealing […]

The Family Hero, or “Morticia and the Psychiatrist”–Part II

January 21, 2012 by

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In his book, Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls, Robert Burney writes that “there are four basic roles that children adopt in order to survive growing up in emotionally dishonest, shame-based, dysfunctional family systems.” The children take these roles because they sense that the family’s dysfunction is so great, without their wearing the mantle of […]

All in the Family: The Genie in the Genogram

January 21, 2012 by

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As some of the past posts have shown (take the post on triangles, for example), utilizing the genogram within the family systems approach often has significant explanatory powers for why a person finds him or herself stuck within current relational patterns. But it can do more than that, too, I believe, if we use it to […]

The Triangle–What It Looks Like In Family Life

January 16, 2012 by

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Molly is a difficult [in my more honest moments I think of her as nearly tyrannical] early adolescent, who makes her mother’s life a horror. She picks on Mom’s clothes, her hairstyle–the way she chews her toast in the morning. It seems little escapes Molly’s critical eye, despite the fact that her mother Marge has […]

All In the Family: The Triangle–In Theory

January 15, 2012 by

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As you may have noticed from that genogram on the first post, family systems therapists are into shapes. A line, a squiggle, a square with an ‘X’ through it–these make our days. But the fundamental unit of relationship is that beautiful, potentially-pythagorean shape: the triangle. Of course, you might argue, isn’t the fundamental unit of […]

All in the Family: The Identified Patient

January 11, 2012 by

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“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” You only had to make it through the first chapter [first line, to be honest] of Anna Karenina to find this out–and there will be no quizzes assessing your knowledge of the novel after, so you’re home free now. Despite Tolstoy’s […]

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