CMN 120 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Stewart Hagestad

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11 Apr 2017
Lecture 11 - 3/8 - Family systems/Marriage
1. Introduction
1. Classic approach to family communication (TWO)
1.1. Integration (cohesion)
1.2. Adaptability
2. Family classifications (TWO)
1.1. Family of origin (family you are born into/adopted/raised
1.2. Family of procreation (husband/wife, kids, in-laws)
2. Family Cohesion (FOUR DIMENSIONS)
1. Cohesion = emotional bond among family members
1.1. Can show up in amount of time family spends together,
physical space spent together
1.2. This variable of cohesion is a dimension (not a category);
able to vary
<--Disengaged (barely cohesion)----Separated----Connected----Enmeshed (alot
Autonomy Family Identification
- ppl are not stuck in one spot, may move as situations arise
b. Disengaged - low cohesion
b.1. High levels of autonomy doing their own thing
b.2. Rely on themselves vs. other family members
b.3. Little attachment & commitment
b.4. Not much emotional closeness or bond
b. Enmeshed - high cohesion
b.1. High commitment, high cohesion, high closeness to family
b.2. Loyalty, consensus
b.3. Basically no individuality - family comes first
b.4. Too cohesive
b. Separated - low to moderate cohesion
b.1. A little more autonomy
b.2. Still some family identification
b. Connected - moderate to high cohesion
b.1. Autonomy but still connected to family
b.2. More of emotional bond or more for family identification
than autonomy
middle two are better; too much autonomy/connection can become
3. Family Adaptability (FOUR DIMENSIONS)
1. Adaptability = ability to change power structure, role
relationships, and relational rules in response to stress
1.1. How well can your family adjust to problems?
1.2. Dimensions can vary
Rigid <------- Structured -------- Flexible -------> Chaotic
1.1.1. Rigid - low adaptability Low ability to adapt when something
stressful happens or something changes
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1.1.2. Chaotic - high adaptability Will adapt to anything, make changes
constantly No rules Go with the flow type of family
1.1.2. Structured - low to moderate adaptability More rules/control but still able to
adjust when stressful things happen Rules can be modified, though
doesn’t happen frequently Substantial routines/roles
1.1.2. Flexible - moderate to high adaptability A little structure but not much Making more change but still have a
little bit of rules
4. The Role of Communication
1. We have the ability to move across these dimensions
2. Communication is critical in moving along the dimensions; context
makes a big difference
1.1. Certain situations will require more
engagement/structure/flexibility, etc.
1.2. Positive communication skills instead of negative
communication skills
1.2.1. Positive enables a family to share and adjust
to changing needs (empathy, self reflective listening,
supportive communication)
1.2.2. Negative communication doesn’t allow families
to move across dimensions, family will probably be
stuck in that same spot
4. Family Systems Theory
1. Rooted in idea of general systems theory = examines the way
components of a system interact with one another to form a
whole (White & Klein, 2002)
2. Family is a system & there are different parts of it
1.1. Family is an open & ongoing system
1.1.1. Open Family receives input from
environment & gives output to environment Communicating to receiver
(environment) Environment examples: ppl outside the
family, coworkers, kids, friends, job Families are not closed off; going to
interact with others outside the family
1.1.2. Ongoing
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future Families have history & trajectories
(Ex: a family story)
2. Family Characteristics & Processes (EIGHT)
1.1. Interdependence
1.1.1. Families will depend on each other to function
1.1.2. They need each other to be considered an
actual family Ex: A man is a husband, but he can’t
call himself a husband unless he has a spouse
can’t be a “wife” or “husband” without a
spouse; need to have children to be a “mother”
or “father”
1.1.2. Change in one family members can impact
change in another
1.2. Mutual influence
1.2.1. Each action/behavior that one family member
does will trigger a response in another family
member and so on REACTIONARY
1.2.2. Specifically communication behaviors; not
just roles
1.3. Wholeness
1.3.1. Emergence - family takes on its properties; has
its own identity
1.3.2. Family is greater than a sum of its parts
1.4. Patterns and rules
1.4.1. Rules are important because it helps predict
& guide behavior Can be both explicit and implicit Bedtime, chores - routines, traditions
1.2. Calibration & feedback
1.2.1. Calibration - ppl (usually parents) checks to
make sure rules & patterns are being followed
1.2.2. Feedback - response based on if rules are
being allowed Correction process to make sure rules
are followed correctly (negative) Affirming rule/norm is followed and
praise for following rule (positive)
1.2. Adaptation
1.2.1. Families are constantly changing Losing job, losing loved one, moving
away, divorce, etc.
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