Multigenerational Family Systems

Authored by: Elizabeth Skowron , Jessica Farrar

Handbook of family therapy

Print publication date:  December  2015
Online publication date:  December  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415518017
eBook ISBN: 9780203123584
Adobe ISBN:


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Since their introduction in the 1950s and 1960s, multigenerational approaches to family therapy have occupied a central role in the field, and though they reflect varying nuances and emphases, their foundational themes remain consistent. Most importantly, multigenerational theories and their associated interventions are based on the notion that the emotional processes in a family system shape dynamics that influence the trajectory of both individual and family development across generations. These underlying relational patterns persist and compound from one generation to the next, even as the individual family members change, grow, and die. Although the notion that parents’ psychological being will inevitably affect their children in some way is nothing new, the concept of the multigenerational transmission process goes beyond the idea that problems and patterns are merely handed down from parents to children, but rather that all members are part of a much larger, dynamic emotional system. In other words, families are considered as ongoing multigenerational systems rather than discrete, nuclear entities.

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