familyNew, free practice question.

A family meets with a social worker following a teenage daughter's breakup with her boyfriend. The mother states that she really liked the boyfriend and has felt very depressed since the breakup. The father has tried to contact the boy in hopes of repairing the relationship. According to a family systems theory-based approach, what is MOST LIKELY happening in this family?

A. The family has connected relationships.

B. It is a disengaged family system.

C. It is an enmeshed family system.

D. It is a separated family system.

What's your answer?

Let's take 'em one at a time:

A. A connected family enjoys time together but also have separate friendships and interests. This family appears too involved in one another's business to be truly connected.

B. Disengaged families have very little emotional connection, usually don't spend much time together, and aren't impacted by one another's activities.

C. The mother's depression following the breakup, and the father's attempt to repair the relationship, are signs that this family is enmeshed. Let's keep going though!

D. Separated family systems don't have a lot of shared connections, though they do have a few activities they enjoy doing together.

Okay, that leaves just one clear answer: C, enmeshed.

Family systems lingo changes from theorist to theorist, practitioner to practitioner, but the core concepts are fairly stable. Here's a good page about Bowenian concepts which sort-of function as mini social work exam vignettes.

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March 24, 2020
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