Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Morphostasis in Family Systems Theory

  • Miranda Smith
  • Eli KaramEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_289

Name of Concept

Morphostasis in Family Systems Theory




In family systems theory, morphostasis is an automatic cybernetic process that is enacted to help the family self-regulate upon the introduction of new information that might be destabilizing.

Theoretical Context for Concept

Morphostasis is the tenet under Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s general systems theory that explains how systems remain consistently organized even in the face of constant environmental change. Morphostasis is a process by which members of a couple or family system react to new information in a way that self-corrects and thus maintains its norms. Morphostasis refers to those processes operating within systems that resist changes in existing strategies. Morphogenesis, on the other hand, refers to those processes operating within systems that foster systemic growth and development. At all times, there exists within a system a dynamic tension between morphostasis (stability) and...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Douglas C. Breunlin
    • 1
  1. 1.The Family InstituteNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA