Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

We-ness in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Michael BaglieriEmail author
  • Corinne Datchi
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_170

Name of Concept



Couple identity; Mutual identity; Relational identity


We-ness is a psychological concept that describes the couple’s relational or mutual identity. We-ness is greater than the sum of its parts; it is an interpersonal identity that is distinct from, yet related to the partners’ individual identities. We-ness develops from three primary unconscious processes: (1) internalizing shared experiences, (2) establishing relational patterns, and (3) co-creating a relational narrative. We-ness corresponds to the partners’ tacit recognition that the relational and the individual – the self, the other, and we – are important, interdependent dimensions of the couple relationship. In couple therapy, when partners become more aware of we-ness, they also become more aware of the relational culture they have co-created. In addition, their sense of self in the context of their relationship gets stronger.

Theoretical Context for Concept

The concept of we-ness...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Seton Hall UniversitySouth OrangeUSA
  2. 2.University of KansasLawrenceUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Corinne Datchi
    • 1
  • Ryan M. Earl
    • 2
  1. 1.Seton Hall UniversitySouth OrangeUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA