2DefinitionsA system is defined as a whole made up of interactive parts. You can not add these parts together and get the total system. The system is more than the sum of it’s parts.
3Family SystemA family system is a social or biological construction made up of a set of people related by blood or intention.Members interact in reciprocal relationships, responding to one another in the content of roles.
4How they operateEach family type describes the way the family system operates within each typeIn assessing family types, Olson (1993) uses a multisystem assessment, which includes looking at different subsystems within the family, such as the martial system, parent-child system, and the family as a wholeEach family type can very much be thought of as separate family cultures, in which underlying group norms, role, behaviors and expectations
5Interaction – the interplay between members Reciprocity – both parties influence each other as they interact with each otherRoles – a character or function one plays
6Family Communication communication is either good or poor The types of systems families have reveal their communication typesCommunication is verbal and nonverbalIt includes rules within the system
7Wholeness, it is necessary to look at the family in it’s entirety – not just one or some parts Boundaries- the lines of demarcation that indicate who is “in or out” of the systemThey are physical or symbolicPermeable- able to enter or exit the systemOpen or closed
8“Change vs Stability”Family systems are stable in their chaos and orderly in their disorderFamilies are predictable in general and unpredictable in detail
9HomeostasisThe tendency of a system to return to a state of equilibriumThis is counteracted in the need for change in a living system
10SubsystemsSmaller units within the larger system that share the characteristics of the larger systemMultiple identities with in the system
11Feedback Loopsthe feedback loop as a “path along which information can be traced from one point in a system, through one or more other parts of the system or its environment, and back to the point of originFeedback loops are of two types: positive and negativeA negative feedback loop has been likened to a homeostatic system, in which the feedback loop provides information that returns the system to some preset level and reduce deviation causes to the system.A positive feedback loop tends to promote change
12Three main dimensions, family cohesion, flexibility and communication “family cohesion is defined as the emotional bonding that family members have toward one another” (Olson, 1993, p. 105)“family flexibility is the amount of change in its leadership, role relationships, and relationship rules” (Olson, 1993, p. 107)“family communication is measured by focusing on the family as a group with regards to their listening skills, speaking skills, self-disclosure, clarity, continuity-tracking, and respect and regard” (Olson, 1993, p. 108).
13Family cohesion has four separate levels DisengagedSeparatedConnectedEnmeshed
14Family flexibility has four levels ChaoticFlexibleStructuredRigid
15Rigidly Enmeshed Strictly enforce rules Negotiations are limited Rules are unchangingRoles are clearly definedLittle separation of selfTime together & little private spaceFew outside friendsDecisions made by the whole not individual
16Chaotically Disengaged Little disciplineLimited leadershipImpulsive decision makingLittle role clarityFrequently changing rulesEmotional separatenessLow interactionPrivate spaceIndividual friendships
18A disengaged relationship often has extreme, emotional separateness A disengaged relationship often has extreme, emotional separateness. There is little involvement between the couple or a family member and a lot of personal separateness and independence. Individuals often do their own thing and have separate interests.
19A separated relationship has some emotional separateness but is not as extreme as the disengaged system. While time apart is important, there is some time together and some joint decision-making. Activities and interests are generally separate but a few are shared.
20A connected relationship has some emotional closeness and loyalty in the relationship. Time together is more important than time apart. There is an emphasis on togetherness. While there are separate friends, there are also friends and interests shared by a couple or family.
21An enmeshed relationship has an extreme amount of emotional closeness and loyalty is demanded. Individuals are very dependent on each other and reactive to one another. There is a general lack of personal separateness and little privacy is permitted. The energy of the individuals is mainly focused inside the marriage or family and there are few outside individual friends or interests.
22Cohesion focuses on the ability of the couple and family system to balance separateness and togetherness. Very high levels of togetherness (enmeshed) and low levels of togetherness (disengaged) might be problematic for a marriage and family. On the other hand, relationships having moderate scores (separated and connected) are able to balance being alone together in a more functional manner.