Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Intensity in Structural Family Therapy

Living reference work entry

Latest version View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_970-2


There is a parable about an argument between the sun and the wind as to who’s the strongest. Unable to settle it, they decide on a bet. They see a man wearing a coat walking down a road and say that whoever can get the man’s coat off, “wins!” The wind is first – blowing and blowing to get the coat off, yet the more fiercely the wind blows, the more closely the man wraps the coat around himself. Now it’s the sun’s turn. The sun slowly, but surely increases the temperature until it gets so hot that the man takes the coat off by himself.

Theoretical Framework

Within the family’s “intimate ecology” (Lappin and Reiter 2014, p. 168), members’ behaviors are both interdependent and complementary – for instance, to the degree that one member underfunctions, another overfunctions. These relational patterns are strong organizers of individual traits, selecting some of them (like overfunctioning) at the expense of others – those “hidden” aspects of self that await discovery and...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Minuchin Center for the FamilyWoodburyUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • David Kearns
    • 1
  1. 1.Iowa CityUSA