The application of a domains‐based analysis to family processes: Implications for assessment and therapy

Wren, Bernadette, Alderton, Jane, Burck, Charlotte, Kennedy, Eilis, Senior, Rob, Hill, Jonathan, Aslam, Neelo and Broyden, Nichaela (2014) The application of a domains‐based analysis to family processes: Implications for assessment and therapy. Journal of Family Therapy, 36 (1). pp. 62-80. ISSN 0163-4445

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Social domains are classes of interpersonal processes each with distinct procedural rules underpinning mutual understanding, emotion regulation and action. We describe the features of three domains of family life—safety, attachment and discipline/expectation—and contrast them with exploratory processes in terms of the emotions expressed, the role of certainty versus uncertainty, and the degree of hierarchy in an interaction. We argue that everything that people say and do in family life carries information about the type of interaction they are engaged in—that is, the domain. However, sometimes what they say or how they behave does not make the domain clear, or participants in the social interactions are not in the same domain (there is a domain mismatch). This may result in misunderstandings, irresolvable arguments or distress. We describe how it is possible to identify domains and judge whether they are clear and unclear, and matched and mismatched, in observed family interactions and in accounts of family processes. This then provides a focus for treatment and helps to define criteria for evaluating outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Article first published online: 14 Sep 2011
Uncontrolled Keywords: Family Processes, Mutual Understanding, Emotion Regulation, Uncertainty, Safety, Attachment, Discipline, Expectation, Exploratory Processes, Research & Development Unit
Subjects: Families > Families - Psychology
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services

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