Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Joining in Structural Family Therapy

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_971-1


In Structural Family Therapy, joining is the process that forms and sustains the therapeutic system between the family and therapist. While most present in the earlier stages of therapy, it is the “glue” that holds the therapeutic system together throughout treatment and is essential to the process of change (Minuchin and Fishman 1981).

Theoretical Context

Joining is an emotionally connected means towards a therapeutically transformed end. Good joining is not an absolute quality attached to certain specific behaviors of the therapist and absent from others. Effective joining is the automatic result of the correct assessment of what it takes to gain an affiliative, respectful guiding influence with each family.

Me. We

Muhammad Ali

Joining requires the therapist’s differential use of self. It is a “fit” unique to each therapist and for every family they see. Joining is both specific and universal. The “shape” of each clinical context will vary with the endless diversity of...

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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