Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Family Projection Process

  • Shelly Xiaoyan Huang
  • Jessica Rohlfing PryorEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_3

Name of Concept

Family Projection Process


The concept of the family projection process may be employed by a Bowen family systems therapist in order to conceptualize a child’s clinical symptoms as embedded in the broader family patterns (Brown 2008). The family projection process describes the primary way parents transmit their emotional problems to their children. This projection process can impair the functioning of the children and also increase their vulnerability to clinical symptoms (Bowen 1978).

Theoretical Context for Concept

Murray Bowen’s (1978) family systems theory postulates that all families are characterized on a continuum of differentiation levels. The more undifferentiated a family member is, the more difficulty he or she experiences distinguishing thoughts from feelings, and the more he or she is prone to becoming emotionally reactive to the feelings and actions of others within the family. Similarly, the more undifferentiated a family system is, the more...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kelley Quirk
    • 1
  • Adam Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Human Development and Family StudiesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA