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A general systems approach to severe family pathology
Am J Psychiatry 1976;133:669-673.
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Abstract

The author proposes a general systems approach to the examination and understanding of family functioning. Scrutinizing the family as an open system with 1) evolutionary goals and tangible tasks, 2) a need for "semipermeable" boundaries, 3) cultural and subcultural communication modes, 4) leadership effectiveness, and 5) the nature and age- appropriateness of the affective bonds will enable clinical judgements about family functioning that indicate general system competencies and defects. Such a framework may also lead to a typology of family process because the major functions of the family as a system (creation, nurturance, enculturation, and guidance of the young into adulthood) can be evaluated regardless of symptoms or diagnoses.

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