Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

Living Edition
| Editors: Jay Lebow, Anthony Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin


Living reference work entry

Latest version View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_974-2


After the therapist joins well with the family, the aim of the therapist is to reorganize the unhealthy coalitions in the family. Structural Family Therapy created unbalancing as a way for the system to change the hierarchical relationships and boundaries of the members in the family. Unbalancing allows different family members to try out new roles in the family that before seemed unattainable.

Theoretical Framework

Unbalancing can be accomplished by joining with a specific member or subsystem of the family. A therapist meeting the family members can change the power structure of the family. Unbalancing has it genesis in structural family therapy.

Rationale for the Strategy or Intervention

When a therapist enters a family, the family defers to her as an expert. Therapist needs to freely move within the family reorganizing the hierarchy and boundaries in the family. The therapist recognizes she is creating stress in the family and must support the family at the same time...

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  1. Minuchin, S., & Fishman, H. (1981). Family therapy techniques. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Minuchin Center for the FamilyWoodburyUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • David Kearns
    • 1
  • Bahareh Sahebi
    • 2
  1. 1.Iowa CityUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA