Circumplex Model of Marriage and Family Therapy

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Circumplex Model of Marriage and Family Therapy

Circumplex Model of Marriage and Family Therapy Paper
Dindy Williams
BSHS/312
APRIL 4, 2011
Sharla Hansen

Circumplex Model of Marriage and Family Therapy Paper
The Circumplex Model of Marriage and Family Systems was developed in an attempt to bridge the gap between research, theory and practice. The model, together with the assessment tools developed to use with it, are specially designed to assess the functionality of families and develop a treatment plan. The hypothesis of the Circumplex Model is that balanced couple and family systems tend to function better than unbalanced systems.
Cohesion, flexibility, and communication are the three dimensions of the Circumplex model. These dimensions were the ones most commonly used out of a cluster of over 50 different concepts describing marital and family structure. A variety of other family models independently focused on similar variables relating to cohesion, flexibility, and communication. These models have been developed in the past 25 years by theorists using a family systems perspective. The theorists concluded that these dimensions were critical to treating families.
“Family cohesion is defined as the emotional bonding that family members have towards one another” (Olsen, D. H., 2000, May). Emotional bonding, boundaries, coalitions, time space, friends, decision making, interests, and recreation are some of the concepts used to measure the degree of cohesion within the Circumplex Model. The focus of cohesion is how families balance the separateness of the members versus the togetherness.
The model contains four levels of cohesion: disengaged, separated, connected and enmeshed. The central levels, separated and connected, are considered balanced and the most optimal for a healthy relationship. The extreme levels, disengaged and enmeshed, are considered unbalanced and tend to cause problems in the family structure.
Unbalanced levels of cohesion are either too high or too low. In a disengaged...

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