The lessimpulsive, more independent and autonomous. These
The purpose of this paper is to explain using Bowen’s family systems framework, howan individual’s level of differentiation and anxiety influence family relationships andstrengths. Bowen’s family systems theory addresses how patterns of interaction in thefamily of origin influence a couple’s interaction in the next generation with theirchildren. Bowen describes the differences in family functioning, by the degree of anxietyor the degree of differentiation within the family.
Bowen’s definition of differentiationof self as a persons ability to differentiate intellectual functioning ( thinking ), fromfeelings. The level of differentiation of self is determined in the family of origin. Whenan individual has an increased level of differentiation, he has a clear sense of his ownidentity. A person’s intellectual functioning helps behavior to be rational, lessimpulsive, more independent and autonomous.
These individuals have good problemsolving techniques, and are less influenced by others. As differentiation of self increases,levels of anxiety decrease. As anxiety goes up, differentiation goes down. A child’sdifferentiation of self develops around an emotional system. With a high level ofanxiety, functioning is impulsive, rather than rational.Individuals with a low level ofdifferentiation, develop dependent and emotionally fused relationships.
Theseindividuals are more dependent on others. Their sense of self is clouded, and they don’tdevelop a clear identity. Their feelings and thoughts are fused, and they express apseudoself rather than their true opinions. Families whose members have increased levels of differentiation and decreasedlevels of anxiety, they will be rational and cognitive in their ways of relating to otherfamily members, and more effective with problem solving skills. They will try to clearlycommunicate their views or beliefs.
They will have healthier relationships. Anindividual with an increased level of differentiated self , will allow their child to be theirown person, and express himself openly. This leads to a well adjusted independent Family Systems 3adolescent, with flexible problem solving skills, and an increased level of goalorientation. Families with decreased levels of differentiation and increased anxiety with in thefamily system these members are driven more by their emotional self. They aredominated by the feelings of others.
Individuals with decreased levels of differentiatedself are dependent on others in relationships. For example, a parent who “babies” achild, and doesn’t foster his independence, blocks that child’s ability to pursue his owninterests and achievements. It’s a less healthy relationship. The goal in treatment for thefamily, is to help them relate on cognitive levels, and stop dysfunctional, repetitivepatterns of family relations.