Communication Patterns and Family Functions<br />
Introduction<br /><ul><li>Each family has a unique system of communicating with each other.
Like all other systems, there are functions for family communication.
If these functions fail, the system fails. (Cushman and Craig, 1976)
There are primary functions and secondary functions.</li></li></ul><li>Primary Function<br />Cohesion (how close/intimate the family members are to each other)<br />Adaptability (how well the family members adapt to changes with each other)<br />Extra third: Communication (how well a family communicates to one another)<br /><ul><li>These functions act as dimensions that create a grid of 16 possibilities.</li></ul>(Circumplex model of marital and family systems, Olson, Sprenkle, and Russel 1979)<br /><ul><li>In the center lie the balanced regions
In the corners are the extremes, and are considered as “dysfunctional.”</li></ul>Supporting Function<br />
Supporting Function<br />1. Family Image. (how one sees the family)<br />2. Family Themes. (what family believes in)<br />3. Family Boundaries. (what separates family from nonfamily)<br />4. Biosocial Issues. (issues of rank in family) (Hess and Handel)<br />
Primary Function<br />COHESION<br />Emotional bonding that family members experience with each other. (Olson 2000)<br />Levels of COHESION<br />DISENGAGED extreme separateness and little family belongingness<br />SEPARATED emotional independence with some joint involvement and belonging<br />CONNECTED strive for emotional closeness, loyalty and joint involvement and some individuality<br />ENMESHED extreme closeness, loyalty and almost no individuality<br />
Primary Function<br />ADAPTABILITY<br />-a primary function of families identified by Galvin and Brommel<br />-it is defined as “the ability of a marital/family system to change its power structure, role relationships, and relationship rules in response to situational and developmental stress” (Olsen et al, 1983 in Galvin, 2006)<br />-while families need stability and change in order to function, it is believed that families that experience extensive change may be considered chaotic.<br /> <br />-the unpredictability and stress that resulted from constant change creates little opportunity for families to develop relationships and establish common meanings.<br />
ADAPTABILITY<br />Galvin emphasizes that communication is central to the adaptive functions of families that any effective adaptation relies on shared meanings gained through the family message system.<br /> <br />Variables that affect the adaptability function:<br /><ul><li>Family power structure (assertiveness and control)
Feedback (positive and negative)</li></ul>Combining the cohesion and adaptability functions would create an axis that would look like this:<br />Rigid Families<br />Chaotic Families<br />Low<br />High<br />Chaotic<br />Some scholars believed that while families with low adaptability functions tend to be rigid, too much ability may result to a chaotic family because of the constant change that the family is experiencing.<br />Disengaged<br />Enmeshed<br />COHESION<br />ADAPTABILITY<br />Rigid<br />
According to Galvin, most well-functioning families are found in the middle, and not near any of the extremes.<br />Sometimes, however, families may tend to be in the extremes if undergoing a particularly stressful stage such as death of a member in order to cope with the circumstances.<br />Different stages in a family life also predicts the position of the family in the axis.<br />For example, an acting-out teenager may cause the shift of the nature of the family from a highly cohesive, low adaptability family to one with a lower cohesiveness and higher adaptability function.<br />In the end, it is important to note that no single place in the axis is the better than the rest.<br />To function effectively, every family is tasked to find the most suitable position in the axis depending on the situation they are into.<br />
Primary Function<br />DIALECTICAL INTERPLAY<br />DIALECTIC<br />Implies opposition, polarity and interconnection<br />RELATIONAL DIALECTICS<br />Refers to the both/and quality of relationships or the need for partners to simultaneously experience independence and connection or openness and privacy.<br />
Supporting Function<br /><ul><li>Every family operates as an image-making mechanism.
Each member imagines how the family is like as well as how each member is.
This influences how each member interacts with others.</li></ul>Family Images<br />
Verbal and non-verbal behaviors of the family members are, in part, determined by this imagistic view of this relationship with each other and with the external environment (Jones, 1982).<br /> A person's image of his or her family embodies what is expected from it, what is given to it, and how important it is (Hess and Handel). <br />
If the persons involved hold different images of their relationships to each other, the differences will be reflected in communication patterns. <br /> If their images about each other is congruent and consistent over a period of time, a predictable pattern of communication may emerge where in both are comfortable with each other. <br />
Supporting Function<br />Family Themes<br /> A pattern of feelings, motives, fantasies and conventionalized understandings grouped around a particular locus of concern, which has a particular form in the personalities of individual members (Hess and Handel, 11).<br />
<ul><li>Fundamental VIEW of reality and a way of dealing with this VIEW
“Who are we?” “What do we do about it?” “How do we invest our energies?”
We view them as STATEMENTS that ACTUALIZE VALUES and COLLECTIVE IDENTITY
Attempt to deal with dialectical tensions:</li></ul>independence-dependence, openness<br />closedness, predictability-novelty<br /><ul><li>Sample theme issues families value:</li></ul>physical security, strength, dependability,<br />inclusion, and separation.<br />
We have responsibilities for those less </li></ul> fortunate than us.<br /><ul><li>We do not raise homing pigeons.</li></li></ul><li>Themes relate directly to family’s actions.<br />Pattern of behavior Affects interactions<br />May be complex and subtle<br />A family’s main theme(s) are needed to understand the meanings and communication behavior of its members<br />
Supporting Function<br />Defines the system as an entity<br />Permeable separation between its interior elements and its environment.<br />Physical or psychological limits<br />Family Boundaries<br />
Why do set boundaries?<br />Restrict<br /> members from certain physical and psychological forces<br />Regulate<br /> access to people, places, ideas, and values<br />
Personalities, types of experiences exposed to, freedom to create one’s own value system
Optimal family member: flexible but with individual boundaries</li></li></ul><li>Supporting Function<br />Internal Boundaries<br />Implications of Internal Boundaries<br /> Protect members’ self-identities and identity of generational groups<br /><ul><li>Diffuse: over involvement, co-dependency, loss of physical boundaries, incest
Inappropriately crossing boundaries and confused roles
Boundary issues transforming across series of generations</li></li></ul><li>Boundaries influence the kind of interpersonal communication occurring in the system. <br />Testing or forcing boundaries may involve deep emotional conflict.<br />Relationships may be strengthened or may suffer.<br />Resolve: increased growth of members and severing bonds of members who left the system<br />
Supporting Function<br />Of or having to do with the interaction of biological and social forces.<br />Of or pertaining to social phenomena that are affected by social factors.<br />Biosocial Issues<br />