Find the Root Cause of Your Problems
A family is a system of its own complexion composed of related people. Families interact with and operate within the communities and societies that they belong to. To decipher this family system, the complexion has to be simplified for ease of analysis.
A Genogram (a diagram illustrating a person’s family members, how they are related, and their medical history) is a tool that makes this possible. In an attempt to establish a theoretical yet comprehensive algorithm for understanding a family, this paper employs a theory that advocates for the idea that a proper course of action is that one capitalizes, by and large, on happiness.
The discussion commences with what families do to contain tensions and feuds within. What follows is a look into the impacts of areas of privilege as well as non-privilege on the family system concerning a person’s childhood. Professional positions to be taken by family therapists conclude the essay.
Bowen’s concept of differentiation
Talking of differentiation, it is a concept that can refer to a person as well as the family system. When a person can remain emotionally connected with the others in the family and express their individuality and act autonomously, we say he/she has individual differentiation. Differentiation may therefore refer to each family member’s ability to maintain his or her sense of self while remaining emotionally connected to the family; this is the mark of a healthy family.
Being differentiated means reacting by thinking and observing the processes that are happening between family members. Differentiation ensures that a family has a strong sense of self, an assertive communication style, and an acceptance of personal responsibility. When differentiation lacks, the pressure for togetherness is strong and family members react more readily from emotion and subjectivity than from thinking and objectivity. (Peter, 2008)
I strongly believe that I am differentiated as per the hereinafter discussed reasons. I accept differences in goals, values, and beliefs between my family members. I see little need to encourage other family members to be the same. I can accept different opinions and choices from other people. It is not necessary to triangle a third person into an alliance to “prove the other is wrong”.
I can accept different opinions and choices from other people. I can maintain a sense of self whilst being in contact with my family of origin by observing more, reacting less, and being objective. I maintain my own identity without disowning ties with my family of origin.
When I step outside the family emotional system and observe the processes between other family members without feeling the urge to be a part of it. If called upon to join a dispute, I maintain an objective stance and let the family members originally involved in a dispute handle their differences alone. An undifferentiated person easily triangles into allying with one of the disputing members.
Family of Origin Genogram
The Genogram is a layout of the family members that illustrates their relationships with one another. It also describes what these members are products of as suggested by their behaviors, ways of life, beliefs, and religion, amongst others. A Genogram is a family tree representation of the links between parents and children. Unlimited interaction gives the subject its complex nature. This paper emphasizes the necessity of understanding families since personalities can make your life easier and more successful. Family therapies are essential because of the inevitability of conflicts within the interactions.
Family Emotional System
The Genogram informs on the modes of interaction between the family member and this interaction is not a warranty but consequential conflicts and emotional or tension rise result from it. These basic interactive relationships define where the tension develops. According to Rabstejne, (2010) member attitudes and points of reference are basic forces that drive these emotions and developed tensions. Serious conflicts result if family tension is existent for a prolonged period.
The factors that tension intensity depends on include; the family’s adaptation to stress, patterns of relationships, and interaction with communities or societies. The patterns of relationships play important roles in dealing with tension because they help in the identification of problems. The basic patterns are dysfunction in one spouse, marital conflicts, and impairments.
Dysfunction in a Spouse
The dysfunction in question may be physical or emotional, emotional, herein, engulfs those of the mind and feelings of the heart. This is, usually, the result of one partner insensitively trying to change the other spouse. This is best explained by the pressure that one spouse puts on the other. This pressure pushes the victim’s spouse to behave or act in some manner desirable to the villain. This kind of relationship goes on for a while till the anxiety and emotions of the other partner heighten. It is this alongside other effective factors that develop conflict and dysfunction spread out.
An increase in family tension makes everyone around more anxious. At some point, communication between the spouses deteriorates and worsens such that they discuss family issues with third-party persons. In most cases, these third parties are only friends. Due to this, they lose focus and instead of dealing with the real problem, they criticize each other and put their efforts into trying to change or control one another.
Impairment of One or More Children
The impairment may be of any form, mental or physical, and the parent’s reaction towards the child is the most relevant. Since the child is disadvantaged and uniquely different from the others, the parents focus a lot on them and gradually, their worry increases. The child is affected when the parents expect a lot from them, which they are not able to achieve. It affects them mentally and emotionally.
Areas of Privilege and Non-Privilege That Impact Childhood
Membership in a family can only be decided by each member of that family. Early childhood educators play the role of noting those that constitute the family of a child yet they never define the family of the child for them. The privileges that this child has access to depend on the social status of the family, the community in which they exist, and the perspective of life that they have. Depending on the location of origin, these privileges can be grouped along racial and gender lines.
According to McGoldrick & Hardy, the term privilege should not be perceived as a favored state only but as over-empowering certain parties. However, the article Unpacking the invisible knapsack suggests that some privileges are conferred by birth. This introduces privilege defined along racial lines, the white privilege. In countries of whites and black, childhood schooling is characterized by teachers treating these two races differently.
Gender is an area of both privilege and non-privileges as well. In a family setting, parental love is of the essence in the growth and development of a child. The privilege difference is exhibited when parents love their children by gender where a mother loves the daughter more than the son and a father loves a son more than the daughter.
From a different perspective, a child with no parents considers themselves not as privileged as those parents are. This is evidenced by the social sense. The book by McGoldrick and Hardy, (1989) imposes the realization that when handling persons with particular emotional pains due to say, racial discrimination, it is important to view racism as an individual act.
To avoid triangulation into families that they work with, a therapist must differentiate from their families of origin. Triangulation, in this context, refers to a three-person relationship. A two-person relationship, like that of a spouse, is considered unstable because it tolerates little tension before, unexpectedly, involving a third party.
Since the therapist belongs to a family too and has their own opinions on family issues, the profession requires that they be careful not to be considered, by the spouses, as the third-party with whom to shift or heighten the tension.
The idea behind this is that even though spreading the tension to a third party stabilizes the system, the problem does not get solved. The relevance of the therapist is to help the family resolve problems and give references to psychiatrists if necessary.
Precisely, one of the most difficult families to work with as a therapist is those of parents who are unwilling to change for the better, despite a therapist’s professional advice. This is mostly common with therapy for children who have experienced neglect. Nevertheless, the therapist must advise on how to develop their relationship with their children.
After a detailed discussion, the paper’s objectives of informing the key areas and critical factors of the family were achieved. The Genogram plays an essential role in establishing the necessary information about one’s family. A family system is also important for various social developments of a child and the privileges that a child is conferred to define their conduct and points of view.
For family therapists, professionalism must take its course all through, complemented by sensitivity to the view and position of a patient root cause problem solving, Further research is recommended to inform this area.
The article was originally written by
Babak Max Karimbeik, edited by Bob Billings