Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Accommodation in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Katherine O’NeilEmail author
  • Danielle A. Black
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_343

Name of Concept



Adaptation; Adjustment; Joining


Accommodation broadly refers to the spontaneous way a system instinctively adapts to coordinate functioning (Nichols 2017). Accommodation has two distinct definitions within the field of marriage and family therapy. The first is defined through a structural lens and describes the techniques a therapist uses to make self-adjustments in order to successfully join with and understand a system’s functioning (Minuchin 1974). The purpose of accommodation in this context is to join with the system to create change.

The second application of accommodation describes the way family members change or adapt their behavior to decrease another family member’s emotional distress often reinforcing an individual’s maladaptive behavior (Calvocoressi et al. 1995). Within the family system, accommodation maintains maladaptive functioning and/or behaviors often through subliminal patterns of interaction. Family...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Applied Psychological and Family StudiesThe Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityChicagoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • David Kearns
    • 1
  • Bahareh Sahebi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Family MedicineUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.The Family InstituteNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA