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My Family Is Me I Am My Family Part Four





Obviously, in the kind of pressure-filled society in which we live, all families are subjected to stresses and problems requiring a high degree of flexible adaptability in order to mobilize emotional resources for the maintenance of meaningful interactions. There are danger signals that can alert the family to potential trouble including:

1. False togetherness '

A tendency to promote intimacy and affection not for its genuine value of developing warmth, trust, and co-operation, but to cover up unresolved conflict. It becomes a caricature, unnatural, and, paradoxically, promotes an even sharper isolation from conflict-solving resources.

2. Rigidity '

A tightening of parental controls and power resulting not in clearer role definitions, but in narrowing family functions and capacity for growth by rigid coercion into limited roles.

3. Over permissiveness '

An exaggerated permissiveness in marital and parental obligations resulting in each going his own way. Overtly it appears that cohesiveness is enhanced by the decreased conflict, competition, and aggressivity in family relations. Covertly, however, the message is, you do not give a damn about me; I am not going to give a damn about you. Indeed, marital sexual problems are solved by extramarital affairs, and problems with the offspring, by the liberal use of uninvolvement and isolation such as boarding schools, extended camps, etc.

4. Narrow specialization '

This occurs when a family says it really can do some one thing well together, material success, etc., but feels that, if the base were broadened, the structure would collapse.

5. Scapegoating '

We are okay - it is just you; one segment of the family holds itself together at the expense of another integral segment.

6. Routine and rituals '

In this situation, emotional barriers have arisen, relationships have become alienated, intimacy is avoided, and problem-solving potential is lost. The emphasis then shifts from the personal and intimate to routine and rituals, the family reunion becoming an onerous chore and loveless ritual.

7. Self-indulgence '

An exaggerated concern with self-gratification and play emerges in response to problems. For example, alcohol, drugs, gambling, love affairs, and even psychotherapy may be taken, or undertaken, to avoid understanding. Who looks for a thief in a police station?

It is well known that problems within a family may first be brought to the attention of the family doctor. Frequently the difficulties are disguised by focusing on a problem child, sexual dissatisfactions, hypochondriacal symptoms, school or work problems and so forth. The physician who is willing to orient himself toward his patients interpersonal, familial relationships may provide an enormously beneficial service, with rewarding results, in a remarkably brief period of time. Indeed, when people erect walls about themselves for protection from painfully perceived impingement upon their most intimate environment, they come to live in very dark and lonely cities. For, just as walls may protect, they may also prevent one from being able to see out beyond them, thereby perpetuating problems and impeding any meaningful solution.

The role of the therapist, then, is to arouse such defenses to the service of problem resolution and to make possible the replacement of the symptom or aberrant behavior by healthier adaptations. More specifically, the role of the intervening therapist can be delineated as:

1. Establishing useful rapport;

2. Catalyzing the expression of major and minor conflicts;

3. Counteracting inappropriate ways of expressing conflict;

4. Transforming dormant, intrapsychic, concealed conflicts into interpersonal interactions whenever possible and appropriate;

5. Neutralizing scapegoating;

6. Fulfilling, in part, the role of a parent, i.e., controller of danger, source of emotional support, supplier of elements a family needs but lacks;

7. Penetrating and undermining resistance and decreasing the intensity of conflict, guilt, and fear;

8. Serving as an instrument of reality testing; and

9. Serving as an educator-personifier of more useful models of adaption.


About Author Sheldon Kardener :

Sheldon H. Kardener, MD, has written, lectured and taught extensively while practicing psychodynamic psychotherapy for over 40 years. Always on the cutting-edge, he is often called father of Focused Dynamic Therapy. His book, Breaking Free: How Chains From Childhood Keep Us From What We Want, is a breakthrough book, the biggest breakthrough in psychotherapy since the 60s. Learn more at <a href="http://www.shkardenermd.com" target="_blank">http://www.shkardenermd.com</a> or call 310.399.8727


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Article Added on Tuesday, August 3, 2010
LD
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