More About Family Patterns and the Individual

In this model, the “ideal self” is described as one who is well “differentiated”. A person who is “differentiated” has a high regard for self and a well-defined sense of autonomy while still comfortable identifying as a part of the family system, able to respond in thoughtful and caring ways even when challenging emotional and mental situations occur. The goal of therapy is to help clients move toward greater differentiation and their desired life.

In addition to identifying the processes of interaction that exist within families, family therapy takes into account the larger context of culture and societal status. In a similar way to family interactions, we are all affected by the culture and societal status we live in. The ideas we have about ourselves are shaped and determined according to our surroundings, our place of work, our community etc. These are all taken into consideration when we approach therapy.

All people have an inner need to form meaningful relationships with others where they feel valued and secure. The initial significant relationship every person has is child to parent, and, thus, the type of relationship people have with their parents affects all of the relationships they have throughout their life. Through identifying harmful emotional patterns that erupt in relationships and interactions with others and reinforcing personal needs, Marriage and Family Therapy has been effective in helping couples, families and individuals reconnect emotionally and lessen the anxiety that accompanies an emotional connection with another.