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A critical incidents study of differentiation Novotny, Helena Bozena 1993

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A CRITICAL INCIDENTS STUDY OF DIFFERENTIATIONbyHELENA BOZENA NOVOTNYB.A. Simon Fraser University, 1989A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Department of Counselling Psychology)We accept this thesis as conformingTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAAugust 1993© HELENA BOZENA NOVOTNY, 1993In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(SignatureDepartment of  Counselling PsychologyThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate^Align st 9, 1993DE-6 (2/88)iiABSTRACTEight couples participated in a workshop designed , toidentify what events facilitate or hinderdifferentiation in everyday life. The couples met inthree-hour weekly sessions over a period of eight weeks.The program incorporated psycho-educational andexperiential components. The content was based on thekey concepts of Bowen Family Systems Theory,communication skills, Transactional Analysis and ImagoTherapy. During the program and from interviews, 508incidents were collected. Flanagan's (1954) criticalincident technique was used as an evaluation method.Subsequently, the total of 508 reported incidents wasreduced to the six major categories. Each majorcategory had its facilitating and hinderingcounterparts. Then, a definition was created for eachcategory. The categories of "Openness & Intimacy" and"A Sense of Self" accounted for 51% of all facilitatingas well as all hindering events. The results of thestudy were found to be both reliable and valid. Theimplications for the development of skill-trainingprograms, counselling sessions and future research wereoutlined.iiiTABLE OF CONTENTSABSTRACT^ iiTABLE OF CONTENTS^ iiiLIST OF TABLES viiACKNOWLEDGEMENTS^ viiiCHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION^ 1Background of the Problem^ 1The Problem^ 2Rationale 4Approach to Research^ 5Definitions^ 6CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW^ 9Pre-marital or Neo-marital Programs^ 10Premarital Relationship Enhancement Program 11Marital Programs^ 12Minnesota Couples Communication Program^ 13Marriage Enrichment^ 13Marriage Encounter 14Conjugal Relationship Enhancement^ 14Structured Marriage Enrichment Programs^ 15The Relationship Enhancement Approach^ 15ivEmotionally Focused Couples Therapy^ 16Imago Relationship Therapy^ 17Parenting Programs^ 18Adlerian 18Parent Effective Training^ 18Systemic Training for Effective Parenting 19Behavioral^ 20Family Enrichment 21Divorce Mediation^ 21Conclusion^ 22Differentiation 23The Scale of Differentiation^ 24Other Theoretical Formulations of Bowen Theory ^ 25Chronic Anxiety^ 26The Binding of Anxiety^ 26Differentiation of Self in Relationships^ 27Nuclear Family Emotional System^ 29Family Projection Process^ 29Multigenerational Transmission Process^ 30Triangles^ 30Family Functioning 31The Theory of Change^ 33Integrative Skill Training Program for Couples ^ 34vCHAPTER 3. METHOD^ 38Evaluation Design 38Purpose^ 38The Critical Incident Technique^ 39Participants^ 41Generation of Incidents^ 44Daily Log^ 45Interviews 46Participant Observation^ 48Program Design^ 48Procedure: Chronological Description^ 49Category Construction^ 52Reliability and Validity 55Exhaustiveness of the Category System^ 56Independent Rater^ 56Theoretical Agreement 57Opposition of Incidents^ 57Participation Rate in the Category System ^ 57CHAPTER 4. RESULTS^ 58Reliability and Validity^ 59Exhaustiveness of the Category System^ 59Independent Rater^ 60Theoretical Agreement 61viOpposition of Incidents^ 64Participation Rate in the Category System^ 65Conclusion^ 66Category System 67CATEGORY ONE^ 68CATEGORY TWO 71CATEGORY THREE^ 76CATEGORY FOUR 80CATEGORY FIVE^ 82CATEGORY SIX 86Summary^ 88CHAPTER 5. DISCUSSION^ 91Summary of Results 91Limitations^ 91Implications for Theory^ 93Implications for Practice 100Implications for Research^ 104Summary^ 106REFERENCES 108APPENDIX A: COUPLES WORKSHOP^ 116APPENDIX B: CONSENT FORM 166APPENDIX C: LETTERS TO PARTICIPANTS^ 168LIST OF TABLESviiTABLE 1. Categories and Percentages of Events^ 90viiiACKNOWLEDGEMENTSI would like to express my gratitude to Dr. LarryCochran for providing a wealth of research expertise,wisdom and unreserved support throughout the executionof this thesis. I would also like to thank Dr. Rob Leesfor his tireless encouragement, empowerment andsupervision of this thesis and throughout the superbpracticum placement. I likewise appreciate the effortof Dr. Du-Fay Der on this thesis committee.Finally, I would like to convey my gratitude to mycherished companion, Mr. Charles Henry Warren. Thankyou for believing in me, for giving me your lovingsupport and for making our relationship a treasuredexperience.CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTIONBackground of the ProblemMarriage is a dynamic state between two individualsin their life's journey that ideally begins withattraction, proceeds through the rocky stretch of self-discovery and negotiations, and culminates in a creationof an intimate, joyful, lifelong union (Hendrix, 1990).Marriage is an important outlet for providing a means ofmeeting one's needs of closeness, contact and intimacy(Hansen, 1990). By doing so, marriage has the abilityto enhance each partner's satisfaction. As James (1988)points out, "people who are married have better physicaland emotional health, live longer and are more satisfiedwith life than are people who are separated or divorced(p. 1). Likewise, Lowenthal and Haven (1968) whoanalyzed life histories, found that the happiest,healthiest people in later years were people who wereinvolved in at least one close personal relationshipduring their lifetime (Hansen, 1989).Although marriage is important to well-being, onethird of marriages in North America end in divorce(James, 1988). But whatever the reasons behind thedecision to divorce, most divorcing couples report1marital distress and they also desire a more enrichingand supportive relationship (Wallerstein & Blakeslee,1990). Sager, Gundlach, Kremer, Levy and Royce (1968)surveyed clients who received individual psychotherapyand found that 50% of them disclosed serious maritalproblems through the course of the therapy.The ProblemNumerous methodology was developed to improve thelife of couples and families by the field of psychology.Bowen Family System Theory is one of them. BowenianFamily Systems Theory proposes that the lack ofdifferentiation or emotional separation from one'sfamily of origin is at the core of relationship anxiety(Bowen, 1978). The lower the level of differentiation,the more vulnerable the individual is to stressfulevents. The undifferentiated couple has a tendency toemotionally react to each other, as opposed to beingguided by the thought processes of reasoning, and thecouple is also less tolerant of each others'differences.According to Bowen Family Systems Theory, maritalconflict, dysfunction of a spouse (such as sickness ordrug abuse), preoccupation with a child via emotional2overinvolvement and emotional cut off are the four basicways of reducing marital anxiety within therelationship. Subsequently, such problems areidentified as symptomatic of the lack of differentiationin spouses. "The emotional attachment between thespouses is identical to the emotional attachment thateach spouse had in his or her family of origin" (Bowen,1978, p. 530). The most productive route for change isto focus on "the differentiation of self in the familiesof origin [that will] automatically make as much or moreprogress in working out the relationship system withspouses and children" (Bowen, 1978, p. 545).The purpose of this study is to investigate whatfacilitates or hinders the process of differentiation ofself. In a couples workshop employing the concepts ofFamily Systems Theory, the participants were asked tokeep a daily journal of events by answering thefollowing question: "What events and/or experienceshave you had during the workshop sessions, and betweenthe workshop sessions on a daily bases, which eitherfacilitated or hindered your ability to differentiate?"The study aims to classify these facilitating andhindering events into categories that could be useful3for practitioners or workshop leaders in helping peoplechange.Rationale There are a number of applications on how toimprove lives of couples and families ranging from theindividual and couples to the family and group therapiesthat recognize the importance of differentiation in theprocess of change in their practices. Nevertheless, theskill-training programs for couples and families have sofar failed to incorporate the concept of differentiationinto their curriculum.Most skill-training couples workshops thattraditionally focus on pre-marital, marriage enrichment,communication or parenting programs have not yetintroduced the concepts of Family Systems Theory,otherwise so widely accepted in the field of psychology,as part of their training objective. Sinceskill-training programs for couples have been classifiedas an effective intervention in prevention andimprovement of human functioning (L'Abate, 1981), thereis an increasing need or demand for education aboutFamily Systems Theory in such a context.The present study attempts to do just that bydesigning and implementing an Integrative Systemic4Skill-Training Program for Couples. This program, inaddition to teaching communication skills, marriageenrichment and the basis of Transactional Analysis, alsoemploys the Family Systems Theory concepts as anintegral part.Approach to Research The question of effectiveness of the IntegrativeSystemic Skill-Training Program for Couples is immature,since it is not clear or warranted that Bowen's conceptof differentiation can be translated into a practicethat is measurable and meaningful.Exploratory evaluation of the events thatfacilitate or hinder differentiation gives more valueand richness as it provides a guide for future programsand gives guidelines for evaluating them. The methodemployed by the present study is the critical incidentstechnique (Flanagan, 1954) which was designed togenerate descriptive and qualitative data rendering itappropriate for this study's intent of exploratoryevaluation.5Definitions Family Systems Theory: Family Systems Theory refers to Bowen Theory aspublished by Murray Bowen in 1978. Bowen Theoryconsists of eight theoretical interlocking andoverlapping concepts. The family is perceived as anemotional system that strives for homeostasis.Subsequently, a change in one component of the systemwill adjust the balance of the whole system. Thegreater the degree of emotional fusion of the familysystem, the less personal freedom an individual willhave. Under stressful circumstances, the system willexperience more anxiety, and the pressure for status quowill also increase. Optimal functioning of the familysystem requires a greater emotional separateness offamily members.Togetherness: Togetherness is one of two counterbalancing lifeforces that govern individual and family emotionalsystems. Togetherness propels humans to be a connectedand cooperative entity (Bowen, 1978). Optimal humanfunctioning requires a dynamic balance between thesecounterbalancing life forces. Human life begins withtogetherness in the symbiotic fusion with the natural6mother and proceeds through the process of individuationby emotional separation from one's family of origin.Separateness: The terms separateness or individuality tend to beused interchangeably in the study. They refer to theother counterbalancing life force that propels eachhuman being to become a distinct self-directed entity(Bowen, 1978). According to Bowen, separateness is themore valued entity for the optimal human functioningthan togetherness.Differentiation: Differentiation or differentiation of self is aprocess that describes a person's ability to define selfas a separate entity and to be governed by thoughtsrather than by feelings. An undifferentiated individualis emotionally fused. Emotional fusion demonstratesitself by either a lost sense of self in which one feelsdrowned and enmeshed in a relationship or by feelingemotionally cut off and alienated. In contrast, adifferentiated person can be intimate in a relationshipyet remain separate. The following definition ofdifferentiation of self was given to the participants inthis study:7The degree to which one can be a separate self inan intimate relationship, without feeling drownedor alienated, while at the same time maintainingthe ability to be governed by thoughts rather thanby feelings.8CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEWThe last two decades have seen an upsurge of newinterventions for couples that are targeted for a non-clinical population. These interventions arecharacterized by a time-limited group format addressingspecific topics that are applied to couples that are notconsidered as "sick" or as "emotionally impaired"(L'Abate, 1981). Subsequently, the goals of theseskill-training programs are educational or enrichmentoriented and preventative rather than therapeutic(L'Abate, 1981).Among the several trends in the evolution ofskill-training programs, it is useful to first considerthe human potential movement with emphasis on directconfrontation, role-playing, psychodrama, Gestalttherapy, sensitivity training, marathon and groupapproaches with reduced emphasis on traditional mentalhealth practices and medical view of illness as well ashuman functioning (L'Abate, 1981). A humanistic focusis on assets and strengths.The next development can be seen in the increasedpopularity of self-help groups, such as AlcoholicsAnonymous, that thrive on paraprofessionalism. In910addition, the growth of consumerism led towards thetrend of brief and cost-effective types of treatments.Another major influence has been the increasedpopularity of behavior therapy emphasizing self-controlstrategies and gradual, linear, step-by-step approachesthat have developed into the programmed interpersonalrelations movement (Brown & L'Abate, 1969; L'Abate,1974).Another trend combines play and art with therapy ina play therapy or an art therapy formats (L'Abate,1979). Finally, family life education has beentransformed into skill-training and enrichment programsthat are known to greatly impact family life (L'Abate,1981). "Skill-training programs can be classifiedaccording to a family life-cycle sequence: (a) pre-marital or neo-marital training; (b) marital; (c)parenthood; (d) total family [or family enrichment];and (e) divorce mediation" (L'Abate, 1981, p. 634).Pre-marital or Neo-marital Programs The purpose of pre-marital or neo-marital programsis to prevent couples who are planning marriage or acommon-law committed relationship from occurrence ofrelationship distress and dissolution after marriage.11Thus, the most beneficial changes as a result ofpremarital intervention would take place after, ratherthan before marriage (L'Abate, 1981).Traditionally, preventative skill-training programsfor couples have received inadequate attention frommarital therapists and treatment agencies, and, were,instead, the responsibility of the clergy and church-affiliated groups (Markman, Floyd, Stanley & Lewis,1986). Until recently, work with couples beforemarriage was placed into the context of familydevelopmental theory. The family life cycle as aframework for viewing family development and familytransition across the life span has received increasedattention from family therapists (Carter & McGoldrick,1980; Duvall, 1977; Haley, 1972; Lewis, 1984;Napier, 1980; Nock, 1979). PREP program, one example ofpre-marital programs, is described below.The Premarital Relationship Enhancement Program(PREP). PREP is a cognitive-behaviorally orientedintervention for couples who have made a commitment tomarry. PREP has become very popular during the pastdecade and has been found effective in improvingcommunication and problem-solving skills and increasingrelationship satisfaction (Markman & Floyd, 1980;12Markman, Floyd, Stanley, & Jamieson, 1984) andidentification and modification of dysfunctionalinteraction patterns that precede the development ofrelationship dissatisfaction (Markman, 1979, 1981).PREP is most effective for couples who have astrong commitment to the stability and continuity of therelationship. However, PREP is not designed to treatcouples who are experiencing major, current relationshipproblems (Markman et al., 1986).Marital Programs A variety of marital skill-training programs shareseveral common characteristics: emphasis on open anddirect exchange of feelings, assumption of personalresponsibility for whatever is said, differentiation offeeling from thoughts and actions and an expansion ofthe available options (Markman et al., 1986).The programs considered here will include MinnesotaCouples Communication Program (MCCP), the Association ofCouples for Marriage Enrichment (ACME), MarriageEncounter (ME), Conjugal Relationships Enhancement(CRE), Structured Enrichment Programs (SEP),Relationship Enhancement Approach (REA), Emotionally13Focused Couples Therapy (EFCT) and Imago RelationshipTherapy (IRT).Minnesota Couples Communication Program (MCCP). Minnesota Couples Communication Program is probably mosteffective and one of the oldest existing communicationtraining programs (Miller, Nunnally, & Wackman, updated,1975). MCCP stresses disclosure, receptivity andcommunication skills (L'Abate, 1981). It likewiseincorporated the mutual esteem building for couples andthe development of a more egalitarian relationship. Thefocus of MCCP is on awareness in order to illuminate therules of the interactional pattern of a couple and onmastering communication skills in order to develop amore functional interactional pattern.Marriage Enrichment. Association of Couples forMarriage Enrichment (ACME) is a national organizationcomposed of married couples who attend either a weeklyor a single week-end retreat Marriage Enrichmentprograms and are committed to achieving more mutualhappiness and fulfillment as well as to seeking personalgrowth (Mace, 1975; Mace & Mace, 1976). The MarriageEnrichment programs are focused on enhancement ofcommunication skills, broadening and deepening emotional14and/or sexual lives and reinforcing and fosteringexisting marital strengths (Gurman & Kniskern, 1977).Marriage Encounter (ME). Marriage Encounter is aprogram usually designed for weekend retreats mostlyunder the auspices of religious organizations andsometimes organized by private therapists or clinics(Bosco, 1973; Calvo, 1975; Demarest, 1977). The focusis on several themes: the "I" theme, the "We," the"We-God," and the "We-God-World" themes (L'Abate, 1981).These encounters tend to teach couples how to sharefeelings and how to communicate on a deeper emotionallevel (namely by sharing their pain and hurt) and topromote increased competence of the relationship(L'Abate, 1977a).Conjugal Relationship Enhancement (CRE). ConjugalRelationship Enhancement was developed by Gurney (1977)with a goal of replacing vicious communication cycleswith more direct and open cycles. The communicationprocess is separated into distinct components such asexpressing feelings and thoughts clearly, accepting theexpressions of another, self-criticism of one's owncommunication skills, constructive conflict resolution(L'Abate, 1981). CRE employs Rogerian concepts ofunconditional acceptance and respect for feelings of15others (Rogers, 1951) as well as the concepts of sociallearning theory such as modeling (L'Abate, 1981).Structured Marriage Enrichment Programs (SEP). L'Abate (1975, 1977b) developed a didactic, structuredapproach of Marriage Enrichment Program for Couplesdesigned to provide the most effective and inexpensivetechnique for couples to achieve greater self-differentiation and a higher quality of family life(L'Abate, 1976). The SEP addresses areas of premarital,sexual and marital interaction combining both affectiveand cognitive aspects of living as they apply tospecific purposes and/or situations (L'Abate, 1981).Unlike other marital skill training programs whichemploy groups of couples, SEP was designed for treatmentof only one couple in the format of six therapeuticsession.The Relationship Enhancement Approach (REA). TheRelationship Enhancement Approach is advocating aholistic marital therapy by integrating enrichment withtherapy. Subsequently, instead of diagnosing thedeficits of the relationship, the holistic therapisthelps a couple to define, as early in therapy aspossible, the kind of relationship they would like tohave and then teaches them the skills they need in order16to reach these goals (Bernard Gurney Jr., Gregory Brock,& Jeanette Coufal, 1986). The requisite skills areusually those that promote intimacy, honesty,compassion, harmony and love. The REA's goal is to addknowledge, skills and confidence to a love relationshipby addressing expressive, empathic, negotiation,conflict resolution, self-change skills and by helpingothers change. REA therapy can be used with anindividual, a dyad or a group.Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFCT). Developed at University of British Columbia by Greenbergand Johnson (1986), Emotionally Focused Couples Therapycombines an experiential tradition in psychotherapywhich emphasizes the role of affect in change (Greenberg& Safran, 1984; Perls, Hefferline, & Goodman, 1951;Satir, 1967) and the systemic tradition which emphasizesthe role of communication and interaction cycles inmaintaining problem states (Hoffman, 1982; Sluzki, 1978;Watzlawick, Beavin & Jackson, 1967). The focus of EFCTtreatments is to change both the interactional cycle andeach person's experience of the relationship bydelineating the conflict issues in the core struggle,identifying the negative interaction cycle, accessingunacknowledged feelings, refraining the problem in terms17of underlying feelings, identifying disowned needs,accepting a partner's experience, expressing needs,facilitating the emergence of new solutions andconsolidating new positions (Greenberg & Johnson, 1986).Imago Relationship Therapy (IRT). The ImagoRelationship Therapy is the result of an eclecticapproach to marital therapy developed by HarvilleHendrix (1990) that combines depth psychology, thebehavioral sciences, the Western spiritual tradition,some elements of Transactional Analysis, Gestaltpsychology, systems theory and cognitive therapy.According to Hendrix, our search for the ideal mate, TheImago, is guided by an unconscious image of a partner,that has been forming since birth, who both resemblesour caretakers, in particular their negativecharacteristics, and compensates for the repressed partsof ourselves. This integrative highly structuredprogram focuses on finishing the unfinished business ofthe issues in one's family of origin, developing arelationship vision, improving communication skills,reromanticizing and achieving self-integration.18Parenting Programs The parenting programs aim is both corrective byimproving parent-child relationships and preventative byhelping parents raise children who will be happy andhealthy functioning adults. A few major types ofparental programs include Adlerian and Behavioralapproaches.Adlerian. Adlerian programs (Dreikurs & Soltz,1967) focus on the family constellation and birth ordereffects, negative payoffs, power, attention, revenge andhelplessness, feelings corresponding to the negative andpositive payoffs, logical consequences, positiveattention and alternatives, rules of communication,family conferences, enjoyment of family life andallocation of responsibilities (L'Abate, 1981).Adlerian programs exercise empowerment of a child.Among the major Adlerian parent training programs areParent Effectiveness Training (PET) and SystematicTraining for Effective Parenting STEP). Both of theseprograms have been widely implemented over the pastdecade.Parent Effectiveness Training (PET). Originated byGordon (1977), PET is rooted in Rogerian tradition, withan emphasis on unconditional positive regard and active19listening as it applies to a variety of potentiallyconflictful relationships (L'Abate, 1981). The focus ofPET is on negotiation of acceptable behavior by sharingpower by both, the parent and the child, in a"everybody-wins" format (L'Abate, 1981, p. 647). Such aproblem-solving process includes identification of theconflictual issue, generation and evaluation of possiblealternative solutions, deciding on the best solutionthat is equally acceptable to both partners, working outa plan of implementation and follow-up evaluation of thesolution (Gordon, 1977).Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP). Developed by Dinkmeyer and McKay (1976, 1982), STEPoperates on the premise that it is necessary for theparents to change their own behavior in order to changethe behavior of their children. One of the key STEPprogram concepts is to identify the goals of misbehavingby recognizing that all behavior occurs for a socialpurpose, such as attention getting or belonging.Another key idea of the STEP program is theencouragement of a child by focusing on children'spositive qualities and assets. In addition, STEPteaches communication skills, instilling discipline by20the use of appropriate consequences and the use offamily meetings (Dinkmeyer & McKay, 1982).Behavioral. Behavioral parenting programs arebased on behavioral and social learning principles.Among the most successful behavioral programs isPatterson and Gulion's (1963) program based on thedyadic model that reframes the child's problematicbehavior as a child's problematic interaction withanother person within the child's social environment,that is, parent, sibling, teacher and so forth. Thedyadic model assumes that the faulty interaction betweenthe child and parent is at the root of the difficulty(Gordon & Davidson, 1981). These interactions operateon the principle of reciprocity, the process by whichthere is an equity in the exchange of positive andnegative interactions between the child and the family.Functional analysis is used to identify the problembehaviors as well as their antecedents and consequences.The treatment typically involves some form of systematicparent training in recognizing the problem behaviors,observing and recording them and in systematicallyintervening using social learning principles to bringabout mutually reinforcing interactions (Clark-Hall,1978).21Family Enrichment (FE) The Family Enrichment Program is a systematicapproach aiding the family unit to improve theirfunctioning and self-differentiation through planned orprogrammed change by implementing a structured writtenformat of interventions (L'Abate, 1981). For example,structured intervention, Enrichment, developed byL'Abate (1974, 1977) consists of 26 different problem-specific programs oriented to enrichment along cognitiveor affective lines covering issues such as financialmanagement, assertiveness, value clarification ordifferentiation. Some special purpose programs includesingle parents, adopted children, physicallyhandicapped, mentally retarded children, families ofalcoholics or deal with various phases of the familylife-cycle (L'Abate, 1976). Although the majority ofthe programs are suited for individual couples andparents, some programs lend themselves to a group formatof groups of parents/couples (L'Abatte, 1981).Divorce MediationDivorce Mediation is a process of resolvingconflict (due to a marital break up) through the use ofa neutral third-party mediator. The role of a mediatoris to facilitate and successfully negotiate on thebehalf of the disputant parties the division and theallocation of the marital property and finances,children's custody, maintenance, child-support paymentsand visitation rights (Milne, 1986). In addition, thedivorce mediator can assist the divorcing couple withthe psychological tasks associated with the divorce forthe individual adults (Ahrons & Rodgers, 1987) as wellas tasks for the children as they relate to theirdevelopmental stages (Wallerstein & Blakeslee, 1990).Likewise, the reinstitution and reorganization of theparental unit (as the spouses establish two separatehouseholds) is addressed. This relatively new area ofmarital skill-training programs is gaining a reputationwith the demands of modern family life.ConclusionIn his overview of skill-training programs for couplesand families, L'Abate (1981) concluded that:Skill-oriented programs have shown themselves to bewide in scope and deep in content. Their potentialfor use with functional and semifunctional couplesand families is almost assured....If for every"clinical" or "dysfunctional" couple and familythere are three to four other couples and familiesin need of help, then these programs could be inthe front line to help prevent further individual,marital, and familial breakdowns. (p. 657)22Subsequently, in view of such potential effectiveness,we can ask ourselves why the skill-training programs,incorporating a broad range of approaches, have mostlybeen ignoring the concept of differentiation--the keyconcept of Family Systems Theory.DifferentiationThe concept of differentiation has been a featureof the psychoanalytic theory for some time, but it isonly since Bowen (1972) introduced it as a key conceptof the Bowen Family Systems Theory that it has become aprominent component of the field of family therapy.Bowen assumed the family to be a naturallyoccurring emotional system governed by the twocounterbalancing life forces: individuality andtogetherness. Individuality propels each human being tobecome a distinct self-directed entity; togethernesspropels humans to be a connected and cooperative entity.Optimal human functioning requires a dynamic balancebetween these counterbalancing life forces.Human life begins with togetherness in thesymbiotic relationship with the natural mother andcontinues through the developmental process ofdifferentiation. The basic level of differentiation is2324largely determined by the degree of emotional separationa person achieves from her or his family of origin.More specifically, Kerr and Bowen defined the concept ofdifferentiation as:The ability to be in emotional contact with othersyet still remain autonomous in one's emotionalfunctioning (Kerr & Bowen, 1988, p. 145);the degree to which they [people] are able todistinguish between the feeling process and theintellectual process (Kerr & Bowen, 1988, p. 97);the process by which individuality and togethernessare managed by a person and within a relationshipsystem (Kerr & Bowen, 1988, p. 95);The variable degree of emotional separation thatpeople achieve from their families of originaccounts for a variation in their levels ofdifferentiation of self. (Kerr, 1988, p. 41)The Scale of DifferentiationTo describe the variation in the level ofdifferentiation among people, Bowen (1978) developed ascale of differentiation. The scale of differentiation,ranging on a continuum from low to high levels ofdifferentiation, indicates various levels of the basicself present in a person."Complete differentiation exists in a person whohas fully resolved the emotional attachment to hisfamily" (Bowen & Kerr, 1988, p. 97). In such a fullydifferentiated person, "the basic self may be changedfrom within self on the basis of new knowledge andexperience" and "is not negotiable in the relationshipsystem in that it is not changed by coercion orpressure, or to gain approval, or enhance one's standwith others" (Bowen, 1966, p. 476)."Complete undifferentiation exists in a person whohas achieved no emotional separation from his family"(Bowen & Kerr, 1988, p. 97). Such an undifferentiatedperson would develop a pseudo-self, that is, a pretendself. Pseudo-self is a fluid shifting level of self"acquired under the influence of the relationshipsystem" that is "negotiable in the relationship system"(Bowen, 1966, p. 473).Other Theoretical Formulations of Bowen TheoryBowen's central premise states that the unresolvedemotional attachment to one's family of origin must beresolved before one can differentiate into a healthypersonality. Bowen Family Systems Theory includesnumerous theoretical concepts other than the key conceptof differentiation of self. Some of these includechronic anxiety, the nuclear family emotional system,family projection process, the multigenerationaltransmission process and triangles.2526Chronic Anxiety. The two principal variables ofFamily Systems Theory are differentiation of self andchronic anxiety. "Anxiety can be defined as theresponse of an organism to a threat, real or imagined"(Kerr & Bowen, 1988, p. 112). The distinction betweenacute and chronic anxiety indicates that "acute anxietyis fed by fear of what is; chronic anxiety is fed byfear of what might be" (Kerr & Bowen, 1988, p. 113).The differentiation scale does not define clinicaldiagnostic categories but is primarily of theoreticalimportance in defining an individual's adaptiveness tostress. People in the lower half of the scale live in a"feeling" controlled world where major life's decisionsare based "on what feels right," as opposed to what theythink is right (Bowen & Kerr, 1988, p. 132). "People atany point on the scale, if stressed sufficiently, candevelop physical, emotional, or social symptoms. Thehigher the level of differentiation, however, the morestress required to trigger a symptom" (Bowen & Kerr,1988, p. 97). Thus, a greater level of differentiationnot only increases a person's ability to functionrationally, but also protects a person's health.The Binding of Anxiety. The fundamentalexplanation of why chronic anxiety increases as the27level of differentiation decreases is because the lessemotional separation persons have from their family oforigin, the more anxiety they experience about being ontheir own and about assuming responsibility forthemselves (Kerr & Bowen, 1988).Other than drugs and personality traits, such asobsessiveness or aggression, relationships are by farthe most effective way to "bind" or integrate thechronic anxiety into a person's life structure (Kerr,1988 p. 48).Differentiation of Self in Relationships. The ideaof differentiation is essential to understandingrelationships.Basic self is differentiated, or separated, fromthe emotional system of one's family very early inlife, and to different degrees in different peopleand families. (Gilbert, 1992, p. 18)When basic self was only partially formed in one'sfamily of origin, "separation from fusion with others inthe family was incomplete" (Gilbert, 1992, p. 19).Subsequently, the only partially differentiated selfcauses adults to automatically react emotionally toothers and the environment as opposed to actingproactively by using reasoning, judgment and logic.28As the boundaries of less differentiated people aremore permeable, "in adulthood they tend to try tocomplete or compensate for the lack in relationshipswith other. This tendency toward attachment isautomatic and outside conscious awareness" (Gilbert,1992, p. 19). The relationships can then be seen as "anattempt to complete the self the same way it wascompleted in the original family system" (Gilbert, 1992,p. 20).Human beings will attempt to complete the self inrelationships to the degree that it is incompleteby itself. At the same time, the others in theirsystems will also be aiming for self-completion.The effort to make a complete self out of twoundifferentiated selfs results in a fusion ofself s. It is based on the need for attachment, ortogetherness, that was not resolved in the originalfamily. (Gilbert, 1992, p. 20)As fusion reduces anxiety, the pressure forsameness increases with the amount of anxiety (Freeman,1992). "The more people respond based on anxiety, theless tolerant they are of one another and the more theyare irritated by difference" (Kerr & Bowen, 1988,p. 121). People unconsciously seek partners onapproximately the same level of differentiation thatensures comparable levels of emotional fusion."When the level of anxiety is low, a relationshipbetween two people can be calm and comfortable" (Kerr,291988, p. 52). However, when the equilibrium of therelationship is disturbed by emotional forces fromwithin it or by outside events, the anxiety rises andits symptoms are expressed.Nuclear Family Emotional System. Bowen (Bowen,1978; Kerr & Bowen, 1988) identified four major areaswithin the nuclear family in which symptom will beexpressed under stress: (1) marital conflict, (2)dysfunction in a spouse, (3) projection to one or morechildren and 4) emotional cut-off. Thus, maritalconflict is one way to absorb large quantities of theanxiety due to undifferentiation. Likewise, one spousecan adapt to the increased anxiety by physical oremotional illness, social dysfunction such as drinking,drug abuse or other forms of irresponsible behavior.Also, since family is an emotional system, one person'sanxiety can be projected on to or carried by anotherfamily member, like a child. Finally, emotional cut-offcan relieve one's anxiety as long as the individualremains isolated.Family Projection Process. The projection is aprocess by which parents project part of theirimmaturity to one or more children (Bowen, 1978).Subsequently, the parents become less anxious by30focusing on the child. In turn, such a child becomesmost emotionally fused with the parents and achieves thelowest level of differentiation compared to otherchildren in the family.Multigenerational Transmission Process. Thisconcept refers to "the transmission of the familyemotional process through multiple generations"In every generation the child most involved in thefamily's fusion moves toward a lower level ofdifferentiation of self, while the least involvedchild moves toward a higher level ofdifferentiation. (Nichols, 1984, p. 352)This process moves also beyond the nuclear familyto several generations. The presenting problemmanifesting itself in a symptomatic or identifiedpatient, often a child, is a byproduct of parental andancestral fusion going back for several generations.Triangles. "The triangle describes the dynamicequilibrium of a three-person system" (Kerr & Bowen,1988, p. 135) that is formulated under the influence ofanxiety. When anxiety in a two-person system increases,a third uninvolved person, such as a child, istriangulated into the twosome to reduce the tension.Though the triangle relieves tension, it also impedesresolution of the problem between the pair (Nichols,1984). When one triangle fails to solve the problem,the tension spills over into another interlockingtriangle (Kerr, 1988). "A system larger than threepersons becomes a series of interlocking triangles"(Bowen, 1966, p. 478).Family FunctioningIn a well-differentiated family, whereemotionality, subjectivity or pressure for togethernessare not strong influences, a child is allowed to grow tothink, feel and act for herself/himself. As a result,"the child grows to be part of the family, yet anindividual within it" (Kerr, 1988, p. 41).In contrast, in a poorly differentiated family,where there is high intensity of emotionality andpressure for togetherness, a child is prevented fromgrowing to think, feel and act for herself/himself. Insuch a family, "the child functions in reaction toothers" (Kerr, 1988, p. 41). The highly reactive childoften operates in an oppositional stance to his/herparent by either acting out behaviors or by withdrawaland passivity. Thus, the child is a symptom-carrier forthe family.Kerr (1988) linked the considerable differences inthe degree of emotional separation people achieve from3132their families of origin to two variables: the degreeto which the person's parents achieved emotionalseparation from their families of origin and thecharacteristics of a person's relationship with her orhis parents, sibling, and other important relatives.Thought "parents tend to function in ways that result intheir children's achieving about the same degree ofemotional separation from them that they achieved fromtheir parents,...not all children of one set of parentsseparate emotionally to the same degree" as "parents'relationship with one child may foster more separationthan their relationship with another" (Kerr, 1988,p. 41).Although the basic level of differentiation isfairly well established by adolescence and usuallyremains fixed for life, it can be increased by consciousseparation of thoughts from feelings and byrepositioning one's self in the family of origin. Anincrease in the level of the parental differentiationfrom their family of origin subsequently lowers theemotionally reactive milieu of the family of procreationand, in turn, facilitates the greater differentiation ofthe children.33The Theory of Change According to Bowen (1978), "the most productiveroute for change, for families who are motivated, is towork at defining self in the family of origin, and tospecifically avoid focus on the emotional issues in thenuclear family" (p. 545). Therefore, Bowen perceivedworking on symptoms as missing the basic issue.After twenty years of family therapy, Bowenconcluded that eventhough "there is much to be gainedfrom focusing on the emotional interdependence in themarriage," there is "some solid evidence that focus[ing]on the family of origin can be even more productive"(Bowen, 1978, p. 545). "Efforts to gain objectivity andto control emotional reactivity in the nuclear familycan remain for long periods on the level of emotionalgame playing in which the games of each spouse cancelout the potential gains of both" (Bowen, 1978, p. 545).Bowen (1978) concluded thatfamilies in which the focus in on thedifferentiation of self in the families of originautomatically make as much or more progress inworking out the relationship system with spousesand children as families seen in formal familytherapy in which there is a principal focus on theinterdependence in the marriage. (p. 545)According to Bowen, a prerequisite to the successof differentiation from one's family is knowledge of the34concepts of Family Systems Theory and a strongmotivation to change (Nichols, 1984). "In the familythe differentiation begins with one responsible familymember in a key position," such as parent (Bowen, 1978,p. 449). When this person moves to a higher level offunctioning, the others will automatically follow in anunconscious attempt to maintain the family equilibrium."Part of the process of differentiating a self isto contact as many members of the family as possible anddevelop a relationship with each of them" (Nichols,1984, p. 365). This enables one to assume a proactive,non-reactive, stance with the members of the family oforigin as well as with the nuclear family members.Integrative Systemic Skill-Training Program for Couples The process of differentiation has been a focus ofindividual, couples, family and groups of couplestherapy for some time, but has not yet been a part ofcouples skill-training workshops. Most skill-trainingworkshops for couples have traditionally focused onpremarital preparation, marital enrichment and parentingprograms with a variety of goals, such as behavioralchange, skill acquisition, emotional expression,35cognitive growth, attitudinal shifts, communication andproblem resolution.Although, the growing trend of therapy in theeighties and nineties is considerably more integrativeand systemic in its orientation (Brehm, 1985), theconcept of differentiation has not yet been incorporatedinto the skill-training workshops for couples (with someexceptions, like Hendix's (1990) The Imago Therapy orBetz & Gunn's (1988) Parenting Program). The presentstudy attempts to integrate the concept ofdifferentiation as an integral part of a skill-trainingprogram for couples (Appendix A).The Integrative Systemic Skill-Training Program forCouples incorporates psycho-educational and experientialcomponents. The program's content is based on the keyconcepts of Bowen Family System Theory, communicationskills, Transaction Analysis and Imago Therapy.First, the brief lecture format introduced variousconcepts. Then, experiential exercises were employed toallow the participants to relate these concepts to theirown life experience. Lastly, the discussion anddebriefing gave the participants an opportunity to sharetheir experiences and understanding of the conceptsamong themselves.36As knowledge of the Family Systems Theory conceptsis a prerequisite to one's differentiation, the coupleswere educated about the principles of Bowen FamilySystems Theory and its concepts. Special attention wasgiven to the key concept: differentiation of self.Couples were also encouraged to employ these principlesin their daily lives.In addition, some traditional topics ofskill-training programs for couples that were foundhighly effective by the research (L'Abate, 1981) wereemployed. These included Minnesota CouplesCommunication Program skills and Marriage Enrichmentexercises. These topics were also explored through thelens of Family Systems Theory in terms of family oforigin communication patterns or unexpressed needs,among others.Also, numerous experiential exercises of the ImagoRelationship Therapy were employed in order to explorethe unfinished business with the family of origin and toachieve a greater degree of wholeness by acquiring moreof the basic self.Likewise, the concepts of Transactional Analysis(TA) were used as a basis of many healing experientialexercises. The goal was to achieve a greater separation37between the basic self and the introjects of theparental figures (in Bowen's language so calledundifferentiated ego mass). The concepts of TAaddressed differentiation in a symbolic experientialmanner.For the purpose of this study, the IntegrativeSystemic Skill-Training Program for Couples has beendeveloped in order to answer this research's question:"What specific events or experiences hinder orfacilitate the process of differentiation of self?"Such an exploratory evaluation has been achieved by theuse of a daily log in which the participants recordedtheir daily events as they relate to differentiation inboth positive and negative ways.The goal of the skill training interventions andthe awareness enhancing exercises was to sensitize theparticipants to the concept of differentiation and topromote greater differentiation of self. Although,technically, only a small increment of change in one'slevel of differentiation is possible after leaving one'soriginal family, any change in the basic level ofdifferentiation can make a radical difference in thefunctional level of differentiation in all areas oflife, particularly in relationships (Gilbert, 1992).CHAPTER 3. METHODEvaluation DesignPurpose. The purpose of this study is to discoverwhat events or experiences hinder or facilitate theprocess of differentiation of self. Since Bowen'sconcept of differentiation has not yet been translatedinto an assessment measuring device that is widelyacceptable and meaningful, a deductive approach toresearch that tests hypotheses with the aim to producegeneralizations is not suited for the present study. Incontrast, the inductive approach that gives attention toindividual experiences and allows the categories toemerge from the incidents themselves lends itself wellto the exploratory evaluation of the present study.Patton's (1980) description of such an inductiveapproach to categorization in research design is usefulas it is contrasted with the deductive approach inexperimental design:A qualitative research strategy is inductive inthat the researcher attempts to make sense of thesituation without imposing preexisting expectationson the research setting. Qualitative designs beginwith specific observations and build toward generalpatterns. Categories or dimensions of analysisemerge from open-ended observations as theresearcher comes to understand organizing patternsthat exist in the empirical world under study.3839This contrasts with the hypothetico-deductiveapproach of experimental designs which require thespecification of main variables and the statementof specific research hypotheses before datacollection. ... The strategy in qualitative designsis to allow the important dimensions to emerge fromanalysis of cases under study without pre-supposingin advance what those important dimensions will be.The qualitative methodologist attempts tounderstand the multiple interrelationships amongdimensions which emerge from the data withoutmaking prior assumptions about the linear orcorrelative relationships among narrowly defined,operationalized variables. (pp. 40-41)The critical incident technique pioneered byFlanagan (1954) was selected as the most appropriatemethod for conducting this research because it wasdesigned to generate descriptive and qualitative data ofa still mostly uncharted domain (Proulx, 1991). Thisaim of critical incident design corresponds well to thegoal of exploratory evaluation of the present study.The critical incidents are well suited for anexploration of events that facilitate or hinderdifferentiation of self.The Critical Incident Technique. In one of theinitial studies, Flanagan (1954) used the criticalincident technique to uncover which specific behaviorsof combat veterans were helpful or hindering to theaccomplishment of the assigned mission. In a morerecent study, Flanagan (1978) extended the criticalincident technique to include the subjects' experiences40as well as behaviors as they facilitated or hindered"quality of life." Subsequently, the critical incidenttechnique has been used for many studies with diverseaims (Andersson & Nilsson, 1964; Borgen & Amundson,1984; Broughton, 1984; Cochran, 1985; Klein, 1989;Tjosvold, 1990).The critical incident technique involves acollection of specific incidents either disclosed in aninterview or written up by the observers themselves thatreport on the subject's experiences as well as behaviorsthat facilitate or hinder the attainment of the aimunder study. Flanagan (1954) defined a criticalincident as follows:...any observable human activity that issufficiently complete in itself to permitinferences and predictions to be made about theperson performing the act. To be critical, anincident must occur in a situation where thepurpose or intent of the act seems fairly clear tothe observer and where its consequences aresufficiently definite to leave little doubtconcerning its effects. (p. 327)Flanagan (1954) further stated that the reportingof the critical incident "should be limited to thosebehaviors which, according to competent observers, makea significant contribution to the activity" (p. 355).Subsequently, during the analysis of the data, vaguereports should be discarded because they might contain41some inaccuracies. Flanagan (1954) defined competentobservers as "those in the best position to make thenecessary observations and evaluation" (p. 355). Inview of this study, the subjects themselves are the bestqualified observers of their subjective experiences inrelationship to both positive and negative changes intheir level of differentiation.Participants Participation in the present study was limited tomarried or common-law couples with one or more children.The couples were drawn from a pool of referrals to aMental Health Center by either self referral or byreferral from school professionals and familyphysicians. The participants were predominantly middleclass, caucasian (with exception of one culturallydiverse couple) and middle age ranging from 31 to 53years of age. For 10 participants their presentrelationship was their first marriage and for 6 othersthis was their second marriage (or common-lawrelationship). The length of the relationships variedfrom 2 to 22 years. With exception of two full-timehomemakers, all participants were employed outside theirhome with incomes ranging from mid-income to high-income42categories. The high-income category included a self-employed professional with a graduate medical degree, aself-employed businessman and a high income labor jobearner. Mid-income group encompassed a variety ofclerical jobs, a variety of self-employment andmanufacturing positions.The following criteria were used for the selection:(1) Parents recognized that their child had abehavioral problem;(2) Parents desired professional help in dealingwith the child's problem;(3) Both parents committed to attend three-hourweekly workshop sessions over a period ofeight weeks and to participate in pre-, mid-,and post- half-hour interviews and(4) Both parents needed to have cognitive skillsrequired for completing the daily log homeworkassignment.The rationale for the selection of couples with anacting out child for the study was provided by theprinciples of Bowen Family Systems Theory. According toBowen Family Systems Theory, the child's acting outbehavior is symptomatic of parental anxiety due to theparental lack of differentiation. According to Bowen,43an increased level of parental differentiation reducesparental anxiety. Reduction in parental anxiety,subsequently detriangulates the child from the parentaltriangle. In Bowen's view, such a triangle is createdand maintained in order to reduce or carry parentalanxiety. As a result, the increased level ofdifferentiation allows the parent to assume a proactivestance towards the child's behavior and to addressdiscipline in a rational way.In addition, an increased parental differentiationlevel will likewise foster a greater differentiation ofa child. The key principle of differentiation indicatesthat differentiation needs to take place in one's familyof origin as opposed to one's present nuclear family.Therefore, it is necessary for parents to differentiatewithin their family of origin first, in order to allowtheir children to likewise differentiate in the nuclearfamily. In conclusion, Family Systems Theory assumesthat better differentiated parents will be able toparent their child on the basis of rational thought asopposed to their emotionality while respectingintergenerational boundaries and fostering a higherlevel of differentiation in their children.44Parents seeking help on behalf of the child'sproblematic behavior were informed about how theirparticipation in the couples workshop, involvingdifferentiation of self, could assist them in dealingeffectively with their child's problem. According tothe principles of Family Systems Theory, it is impliedthat with greater spousal differentiation, the overallfamily functioning, couples relationship and parent-child attitude will likewise improve. This expectationmotivated couples to participate in the present study.Initially, nine couples committed to the eight-weekcouples workshop. After the first session, one coupledeclined further participation due to their maritalbreak up. Eight remaining couples participated in theworkshop and thirteen participants carried out homeassignment of keeping a daily log of events.Generation of Incidents The collection of factual incidents involved threesources: daily log, interviews and participantobservations. In total, 508 incidents were collected.These included 371 incidents from the daily log, 102incidents recorded from interviews and the remaining 35incidents from the observations of the workshop leader.45Daily Log. Participants were asked to keep a dailyrecord of events that either hindered or facilitatedtheir differentiation of self by answering the followingquestion: "What events and/or experiences have you hadduring the workshop sessions, and between the workshopsessions, which either hindered or facilitated yourability to differentiate?" Participants were givenexamples of hindering and facilitating events andexplained how they related to the following definitionof differentiation:The degree to which one can be a separate self inan intimate relationship, without feeling drownedor alienated, while at the same time maintainingthe ability to be governed by thoughts rather thanby feelings.Every participant was given a supply of fifty whiteand fifty yellow index cards for recording their dailyevents. The yellow cards were to be used for hinderingevents and the white cards for facilitating events.Each card was to be signed and dated. The participantswere instructed to designate approximately ten minutesat the end of each day for reflection upon their day'sevents and then record anything that had a significantor noticeable impact on their differentiation in bothpositive and negative directions. It was suggested that46the participants bring these cards to the next workshopsession.In addition, the participants were instructed tofollow the format below:(1) Describe the event as a story by indicatingwhat led up to it, what happened and whatfollowed.(2) Who said what to whom?(3) What were your thoughts?(4) What were your feelings?(5) Identify specifically what makes this eventfacilitating or hindering?The index cards were collected at the beginning ofeach session. Discussion of the cards followedafterwards and participants were invited to share someexamples of their events and ask any questions. Newindex cards were available to participants as requested.The participants were also encouraged to phone theworkshop leader at any point during the week to clarifyany questions or problems with writing the daily log.Interviews. All participants took part in pre-session, mid-session and post-session interviews, eachhalf hour in duration. During the preliminaryinterview, participants were given an explanation of the47aim of the study and how a greater level ofdifferentiation could improve their personal functioningas well as their interactions with other family members.Participants were also asked to attend eight weeks of acouples workshop and explained the importance of keepingthe daily log was explained. They were likewiseinformed of their right to terminate their participationin the study, at any point, for any reason, with nonegative consequences. Participants signed the ConsentForm (Appendix B) indicating their voluntaryparticipation in the study and their right towithdrawal.Mid-session and post-session interviews lasted halfan hour for each participant. These were also audio-taped for future reference. The subjects were asked tocomment on in-session incidents, incidents observed bythe group leader, clarify those incidents in the dailylog which were not clear, and, in particular, discloseany other incidents that participants had not recordedin the daily log. The workshop leader presented asummary of the material and experiential exercisesaddressed during the workshop, to orient subjects to theconcept of differentiation. In addition, subjects wereasked to give their definition of differentiation andelaborate on it. During the final interview, thesubjects were also asked if they noticed any change intheir level of differentiation from before the workshopcompared to their differentiation level at the finalinterview and identify what they attributed this changeto.Participant Observation. Participant observationincluded leader's observations of the participants'reactions during presentations and experientialexercises, response to participants' statements,apparent emotional breakthroughs and noticeableinteractions with other participants or workshop leader.These also included observations of subjects' level ofactive participation, cooperation and risk taking duringthe eight-week program.Program Design The Integrative Systemic Skill-Training Program forCouples was implemented over an eight-week period inthree hour weekly sessions. This program incorporatedcommunication skills, marriage enrichment exercises,numerous experiential exercises from the ImagoRelationship Therapy and Transactional Analysis, and, inparticular, the principles of Bowen Family Systems4849Theory with its major concept of differentiation. Theformat of the program was in part psycho-educational andin part experiential. (For further description of theprogram design refer to Chapter 2. and for the detailedoutline of the program refer to Appendix A.)Procedure Chronological Description. Prospective coupleswere selected from a pool of referrals to a MentalHealth Center. All of these couples were parents whoapproached a Mental Health Center with a request forhelp with their child's behavior. Since the demand forcounselling services exceeded the Center's capacity tosatisfy such a need, a viable option for assisting thesefamilies was to initiate a skill-training workshopprogram. The local director of the Mental Health Centershowed great support and enthusiasm for theimplementation of this study within the Center.During the preliminary interview, couples wereinformed about the purpose of the study and its impliedbenefits to the participants. Participants were alsoinformed about the importance of keeping the criticalincidents record in a daily log and attending the50eight-weeks of three hour workshop sessions. Inaddition, the workshop facilitator read the Consent Formto the couples (Appendix B). Each participant agreed tosign the Consent Form. This interview lastedapproximately half hour.Within two weeks after the preliminary interviews,the eight week workshop started. Each session lastedthree hours. Yellow and white index cards weredistributed during the first session to be used as arecord of the daily log. These were collected anddiscussed at the beginning of each session. Also, anoutline of each session was introduced at the beginningof the session and weekly handouts were distributed.The first four sessions of the program focused on anexplanation of Bowen Family Systems Theory principles(especially the key concept of differentiation of self),relationship building and communication skill training.After each session, the workshop facilitator wrotea letter to each of the couples. The aim of the letterwas to comment on that week's session, bond with theparticipants, encourage curiosity and sustain highattendance record (Appendix C).After completion of the four sessions of theprogram, a mid-session interview took place outside the51workshop format. This interview was conducted on anindividual basis with each participant for a half hourand audio taped for future reference. Participants wereasked to clarify those incidents in the daily log whichwere not clear and to ask any questions, seekclarifications or make comments with respect to theprogram and its related concepts. In particular,participants were asked to report any additionalincidents not recorded in the daily log. Participantswere also asked to define differentiation at their levelof understanding.The second half of the program continued with thethe same format. These sessions addressed issues of amore personal nature, such as unfinished business offamily of origin and repetition of the interactionalpatterns across generations. Thus, the nature of thelatter part of the program was not only psycho-educational but also therapeutic.Again, the workshop facilitator sent letters toeach of the couples after every session. The lettersfacilitated the group cohesiveness and encouragedparticipation.Within a week after the completion of the eight-session program, the post-session interviews took place.52The same format implemented in mid-session interview wasfollowed. In addition, the participants were asked toreport any changes in their level of differentiationfrom the beginning of the program. The participantswere asked to provide specific examples of criticalincidents indicative of such change. Finally,participants were thanked for their participation andfor a consistently high attendance record during theprogram.Category ConstructionCritical incidents were extracted from thefacilitating and hindering events that were written onthe index cards by the participants. The extraction ofthe critical incidents meant rewriting many events whileediting others to indicate "Who" was involved in theincident, to identify the "Context" of the event, toexplain "What happened" and to describe the "Effect"that followed the incident. As many of the incidentswere very lengthy, they were summarized into oneparagraph. Great caution was exercised to accuratelyextract the essential features of the critical incident.The summary conveyed the subjects' feelings, thoughts,behaviors and attitudes. In order to sustain the53original meaning, the quotes of subjects were kept inplace. In addition, subject's explanation of therationale for classifying the event facilitating orhindering was re-recorded.Vague and unclear reports were discarded. Thesewere not sufficiently complete to permit inferences andpredictions to be made about the person's intent. Someof the vague reports were clearly related to theparticipant's lack of understanding of the concept ofdifferentiation. These vague reports were collectedmostly from subjects who turned in a relatively verysmall number of index cards over the course of theprogram.Using the theoretical concepts of Bowen FamilySystems Theory as a guide, the critical incidents weresorted into groups on the basis of their similarities.The aim was to obtain groups of concrete incidents whichrefer to the same construct. These groupings thenbecame the basis of the evolving category system. Acategory was formed on the basis of grouping severalsimilar critical incidents from various participants.The researcher was very careful not to impose her owntheoretical constructs on the data and, instead, allowedthe categories to emerge spontaneously. This process54"more subjective than objective," also required"insight, experience, and judgement" on the part of theresearcher (Flanagan, 1954, p. 344). The researcher waslooking for the underlying patterns which gave meaningto the particular incident in relation to the frame ofreference selected (Proulx, 1991).Each facilitating category had a correspondingopposing hindering category. Two facilitatingcategories had two opposing hindering categories each.The clearest incidents were categorized first. Thesewere the prototypes of that category as they capturedthe key feature of the category. Other, less similarincidents were likewise included in the category. Someincidents lent themselves to be categorized into severalcategories and such borderline incidents werecategorized on the basis to which extent they resembledthe prototype of a particular category more than theother.After a tentative facilitating as well as hinderingcategory system was established, the critical incidentswere checked for the fit of their resemblance to theprototype and many were reclassified. Following severalreviews and modifications, six major categories weredistinguished with their facilitating and hindering55counterparts. As suggested by Flanagan (1954), theguideline in establishing the final category system isto maintain "the most appropriate level of specificity-generality" (p. 345). This meant "weighing theadvantages of the specificity achieved in specificincidents against the simplicity of a relatively smallnumber of headings" (Flanagan, 1954, p. 345). Eachmajor facilitating category and its hinderingcounterparts were then assigned labels that captured theessence of the category and conveyed "meanings inthemselves without the necessity of detailed definition,explanation, or differentiation" (Flanagan, 1954, p.345). Then a definition was created for each category.Each major category covered a wide range ofpossibilities. This range of the possibilities wasreflected by the broad definition of each category.Reliability and Validity Anderson and Nilsson (1964) conducted a study ofreliability and validity of the critical incidenttechnique. The aim of their study was to determine thejob training requirements for training store managers.Using a variety of methods to test critical incident56technique's validity and reliability, they concludedthis method to be both reliable and valid.Exhaustiveness of Category System. Anexhaustiveness test is a reliability check addressingthe question of saturation and comprehensiveness.Anderson and Nilsson (1964) discovered that the categorysystem became apparent after only a relatively smallnumber of incidents had been classified. Morespecifically, 95% of subcategories had emerged beforetwo-thirds of the incidents had been classified (Proulx,1991). Anderson and Nilsson (1964) concluded that thetechnique was comprehensive enough "to include all typesof behavioral units that the methods may be expected tocover" (p. 399). They also found that the structure ofthe incidents was not significantly affected by variousmethod of collection of the data or by the use ofdifferent interviewers.Independent Rater. Anderson and Nilsson (1964)further supported the reliability of the criticalincident technique by performing an inter-raterreliability check and establishing its guidelines foracceptance. One or more independent raters were askedto sort the incidents in the categories provided by theresearcher. They recommended that an acceptable level57of agreement between the researcher and the independentrater(s) was 75 to 85% for the major categories.Theoretical Agreement. In order to determine thevalidity of the technique, Anderson and Nilsson (1964)analyzed the literature used in the training of storemanagers. They concluded that all important aspects ofthe task of training store managers were covered by thecategory system. The category system was thereforeconsidered valid.Opposition of Incidents. For the category to bevalid, it is also considered that it must correspond toits counterpart category in a positive or negativedirection. In other words, categories of correspondinghindering and facilitating incidents must be in directcontrast to one another.Participation Rate in the Category System. Participation rate is another indicator of the validityof a category. Participation rate is determined bytaking a count of the number of subjects thatparticipated in each of the categories and calculating apercentage of participation. The level of thepercentage that is considered valid is to be establishedbeforehand. The higher the participation rate, the morevalid the category is.CHAPTER 4. RESULTSFrom eight couples, 508 incidents were collectedthrough the use of a daily log of events (totaling 371incidents), pre-, mid- and post-interviews (totaling 102incidents) and participant observations (totaling 35incidents). The guidelines of the specificity-generality principle, used in establishing the categorysystem, called for a relatively small number of specificmajor categories. Subsequently, the total of 508reported incidents was reduced to the six majorcategories. Each major category had its facilitatingand hindering counterparts. Out of the total of 508incidents, 323 or 64% were facilitating and 185 or 36%were hindering. Though gender differences are not afocus of the present study, it is worthwhile to mentionthat out of the total of 508 reported incidents, 315 or62% were reported by females and 193 or 38% werereported by males. The results of the present studywill be presented, first, by reporting the results ofthe tests to determine the reliability and validity,and, next, by providing the description of the major sixcategories, namely: RESPONSIBILITY versus BLAMING orEXCUSING, ANXIETY CONTROL versus INABILITY TO CONTROL 5859ANXIETY or PROJECTION OF ANXIETY, A SENSE OF SELF versus LACK OF INDIVIDUAL BOUNDARIES, ACCEPTANCE OF OTHERS versus REJECTION OF OTHERS, OPENNESS & INTIMACY versus LACK OF OPENNESS & INTIMACY and COGNITIVE versus EMOTIONAL FUNCTIONING.Reliability and ValidityA variety of methods to test reliability andvalidity of the critical incidents technique used byAnderson and Nilsson (1964) was also employed by thepresent study. As noted in Chapter 3., Anderson andNilsson (1964) concluded: "According to the results ofthe studies reported here on the reliability andvalidity aspects of the critical incidents technique, itwould appear justifiable to conclude that theinformation collected by this method is both reliableand valid" (p. 402). The researcher accepted thesemethods to determine the reliability and validity checksof the present study.Exhaustiveness of the Category System.^It refersto the comprehensiveness of data collection to determineif it encompasses all the possible varieties of behaviorand/or experience that the particular critical incidenttechnique may be expected to cover.60In the present study, the emergence of thecategories became apparent after the first fiftyincidents were classified. Approximately, one third or150 incidents, both hindering and facilitating, wererandomly removed prior to categorizing. These were usedto assess the exhaustiveness of the system byclassifying them after the category system wasestablished. Since all of these incidents fit into theexisting categories, the researcher considered thecategory system exhaustive. Furthermore, the third ofthe incidents that was held back was a product ofdifferent collection methods, such as subjects'observations, participant observation and interviews.The stability of the categorical system was not effectedby the type of data collection.Independent Rater. Approximately 10% of the totalof 508 incidents, 50 hindering and facilitatingincidents, were systematically and randomly selected foran independent rater to sort into the establishedcategories. These incidents were randomly selected outof each of the six major facilitating categories andtheir corresponding hindering counterparts.An independent rater, in this case a fellowcounsellor, was trained in the knowledge of the category61system by learning about the key distinguishing featuresof each category. The researcher first described thetypical behavior of each category and then provided anexample of a typical incident. Then the rater was askedto sort the sample of 50 cards into the existingcategory system. It was established beforehand that acategory will be deemed reliable if agreement is 80% orhigher. The inter-rater accuracy of 94% supportedreliability of the category system.Theoretical Agreement. The following question wasasked by the present researcher as it pertains to thevalidity of this study: "Given the theory ofdifferentiation, are the categories of the present studyin agreement with the concepts of the Bowen Theory?"After review of related literature, the researcherconcluded that the six major categories emerging fromthe present study that facilitate and hinderdifferentiation strongly reflect the key concepts ofBowen, though their definitions may be a departure fromBowen.Garfinkel (1980), who developed an assessmentinstrument based on Bowen Theory, carefully examined theeight theoretical concepts of Bowen Systems Theory. Shefound the Bowen's concepts to be not only"interlocking," as Bowen (1975) states, but also"overlapping" in their content (Garfinkel, 1980, p.305). "This resulted in the investigator formulatingfive constructs for which scale items were developed,which actually reflected the information referred to inthe eight [Bowen's] concepts" (Garfinkel, 1980, p. 40).Three of Garfinkel's constructs, Recipient of theProjection Process, Emotional Cutoff and FamilyRegression, refer to one of Bowen's basic concepts:anxiety. They address the basic Bowen's notion of howanxiety, as a sign of a lack of personaldifferentiation, is bound in relationships, transformedover generational boundaries, temporarily relieved byemotional cutoff and projected by the formation oftriangles. In the present study, Category II.(namely,ANXIETY CONTROL versus INABILITY TO CONTROL ANXIETY orPROJECTION OF ANXIETY) as well as the hinderingcounterpart of Category V. (represented by LACK OFOPENESS & INTIMACY) are reflective of such Bowen'sconstructs built around anxiety.In addition, Garfinkel's (1980) examination ofBowen's key concept, differentiation of self, revealedtwo distinct areas of focus: Integration ofindividuals' pseudo and solid selves and their balance62of cognitive and emotional functioning under stressfulcircumstances. Garfinkel (1980) created twocorresponding scales, namely, Integration of Self andCognitive Versus Emotional Functioning. Integration of Self is constructed on the basis of the followingBowen's characteristics of self:The level of solid self is stable. The pseudo selfis unstable and it responds to a variety of socialpressures and stimuli. The pseudo self [is]acquired [on the basis] of the relationship systemand it is negotiable in the relationship system.(1976, p. 366)An individual with a higher level of differentiationmaintains more of "solid self" and fuses less into a"common self," composed out of each partners' negotiable"pseudo self." In the present study, the construct ofIntegration of Self is represented by Category I.(RESPONSIBILITY versus BLAMING or EXCUSING), by CategoryIII. (namely, A SENSE OF SELF versus LACK OF INDIVIDUALBOUNDARIES), by Category IV. (ACCEPTANCE OF OTHERS versus REJECTION OF OTHERS) and by Category V. (OPENNESS & INTIMACY versus LACK OF OPENNESS & INTIMACY).Garfinkel's scale of Cognitive Versus Emotional Functioning "defines people according to the degree offusion between emotional and intellectual functioning"(Bowen, 1976, p. 362). This construct corresponds to6364the present study's Category VI., COGNITIVE versus EMOTIONAL FUNCTIONING.In addition, the interlocking and overlappingcharacteristics of Bowen's constructs are also evidentby this study's category system. Many events couldeasily qualify for several categories at the same time.In such cases, the researcher categorized theseborderline incidents on the basis to which extent theyresembled the prototype of a particular category morethan the other.In summary, the review of Bowen's theoreticalconstructs and of empirical research employing suchconstructs supports this study's category system. Thusthe researcher concluded, that the present study'scategory system is in agreement with the Bowen FamilySystems Theory and, therefore, considered valid.Opposition of Incidents. It is also consideredthat for the category to be valid it must be representedby facilitating as well as its corresponding hinderingcounterparts. In the present study, all six majorcategories have hindering counterparts. Fourfacilitating categories (namely, A SENSE OF SELF,ACCEPTANCE OF OTHERS, OPENNESS & INTIMACY and COGNITIVE FUNCTIONING) each have an opposing category that65reflects a direct hindering contrast for the whole rangeof that category. The remaining two facilitatingcategories (namely, RESPONSIBILITY and ANXIETY CONTROL)each have two opposing hindering categories that arelikewise in the direct contrast to the facilitating one.Thus, it was concluded that the existence ofoppositional categories supports the validity of theclassification system.Participation Rate in the Category System. It wasdetermined beforehand that if participation rate in acategory is at least 75% then general validity of acategory is to be assumed. The participation rates ofthe present study were determined for each majorcategory, encompassing its positive and negativecounterparts, by counting the number of participants whoproduced at least one incident under that category.Three subjects did not participate in the writing of adaily log. Subsequently, the participation rate wasbased on the total participation of 13 out of thestudy's 16 subjects.The results show a participation rate of 85% forCategory VI., COGNITIVE versus EMOTIONAL FUNCTIONING;92% for Category I., RESPONSIBILITY versus BLAMING or EXCUSING, and 92% for Category IV., ACCEPTANCE versus 66REJECTION OF OTHERS; and 100% for the remaining threecategories: Category II., ANXIETY CONTROL versus INABILITY TO CONTROL ANXIETY or PROJECTION OF ANXIETY;Category III., A SENSE OF SELF versus LACK OF INDIVIDUALBOUNDARIES, and Category V., OPENNESS & INTIMACY versus LACK OF OPENNESS & INTIMACY. The high participationrate involved in the formation of the six majorcategories indicates that the independent reporters arereporting about the same kind of events that facilitateor hinder differentiation.Conclusion. The present study of criticalincidents of differentiation used a variety ofreliability and validity methods as proposed by Andersonand Nilsson (1964). The present study concluded thatthe independent rater check suggested that thecategories can be reliably used to categorize events,that the categories were reasonably exhaustive andsupported by the theory, that the events showed symmetryof positive and negative and that the formation ofcategories was supported by independent reports of themajority of the participants. These findings enhanceconfidence in the reliability and validity of thecategory system.67The Category SystemThe present study category system is comprised ofsix major categories to which the total of 508 reportedincidents was reduced. Each of the six majorfacilitating categories and its corresponding hinderingcounterparts was labeled with a title that conveys thekey meaning of that category. Then a definition wascreated for each category. Each category encompassesthe broad range of possibilities.The resulting category system is presented first byidentifying the category by its numeric order numberand, second, by stating the total number of itscorresponding critical incidents (both facilitating andhindering) as well as the overall participation rate.Next, the facilitating title of the category ispresented with its definition. In addition, the numberof its corresponding critical incidents andparticipation rate are indicated. The description ofthe range of the events follows. Thereafter, one tothree narratives of the prototypical events arepresented. Lastly, the hindering counterpart(s) of thecategory is presented following the same format.CATEGORY ONE (Number: 79, Participation Rate: 92%)A. FACILITATING1. RESPONSIBILITY: Judgment of responsibility for feelings, thoughts andactions and their consequences. (Number: 49,Participation Rate: 69%)Range: The category of RESPONSIBILITY includes a persontaking on a Responsibility for self and also settingboundaries by Letting others be responsible for themselves.Illustration 1: (Responsibility for self)Context: During the final interview a participant wasasked how she explained to herself her increased levelof differentiation that she had acknowledged.What happened: She replied: "I have the responsibilityfor myself, my own happiness, I am an individual, notjust a collection of my roles as wife, mother ordaughter. As a result, everything has changed. It's mytime!"Illustration 2: (Letting others be responsible forthemselves)Context: The couple had previously discussed thepurchase of a new washer/dryer and how much to spend.What happened: The husband visited his wife at her workplace when she was very busy and could not talk to him.He asked what kind and color of washer/dryer he shouldbuy. The wife replied: "You make the decision" andproceeded with her work. She thought to herself: "Ifeel bogged down and resentful of the dailyresponsibility. I feel that I must be the leader in thehouse for decisions to be made. By differentiatingmyself, stepping back and letting my husband take on the6869responsibility for the final decision, I feel that hestepped forward and also differentiated."B. HINDERING2. BLAMING: Erroneous judgment of responsibility for feelings,thoughts and actions and their consequences by blaming.(Number: 15, Participation Rate: 53%)Range: The category of BLAMING ranges from Blaming self and assuming responsibility for others' feelings,thoughts and actions as well as their consequences toBlaming others for one's own feelings, thoughts andactions as well as their consequences. This categoryalso includes putting other's needs first and neglectingown needs.Illustration 1: (Blaming self)Context: The couple is raising their granddaughterwhile their daughter, the mother of the child, ispresently not involved with the child, and their son-in-law, the father of the child, is undertakingrehabilitation for a clean and sober lifestyle.What happened: The son-in-law phoned and cancelled hispreviously arranged visit to take care of his daughterfor a day. The grandmother was at first angry anddisappointed, then became very understanding and endedup feeling overwhelmed and trapped while at the sametime feeling incompetent and guilty. Although thegrandmother felt burdened by the full timeresponsibility for the grandchild, she blamed herselffor not coping better. She thought to herself: "Whatis my problem? Why can't I cope? He is too stressedout and needs to look after himself. I don't have that70much to do. Lots of people do more than I do withoutcracking up. I just have to get more organized; I needmore energy. I wonder how long I can physically handlethis. I hate feeling spaced out and dizzy. My heart ispounding; I've got to get a handle on this and puteverything into perspective. Why do I feel this way? Alot of people raise their grandchild. She is myresponsibility. Why don't I get on with it?"Illustration 2: (Blaming others)Context: The wife wanted to do yard work and found thatthe weed eater did not work and the extension cord wasnot supplying any power.What happened: When her husband came home from work andasked the wife how her day was, she replied it was "notgood" and angrily explained the fact that the gardentools were not working had ruined her day. She thoughtto herself: "It's all your fault, I had a rotten day.If you cared about me, you would make sure that thethings I use around the house are in good runningorder." Wife was blaming the husband for her anger andfor feeling unloved but did not express what she wantedfrom him--to assume responsibility for keeping tools inworking order.3. EXCUSING: Erroneous judgement of responsibility for feelings,thoughts and actions and their consequences by excusing.(Number: 15, Participation Rate: 46%)Range: The category of EXCUSING ranges from Excusingself and denying one's responsibility for one's ownfeelings, thoughts and actions as well as theirconsequences to Excusing others from theirresponsibility for their feelings, thoughts and actionsas well as their consequences. It also includes71instances when a person fails to delegate responsibilityby being overresponsible and by making excuses forothers.Illustration 1: (Excusing self)Context: After working in the yard, the wife talked tothe husband.What Happened: The wife complained to the husband abouthis lack of pride in their yard and about notmaintaining the yard equipment. In response, thehusband angrily defended himself by looking for excusesto justify his lack of participation in the yard work.Illustration 2: (Excusing others)Context: The couple is raising their granddaughterwhile their daughter, the mother of the child, ispresently not involved with the child, and their son-in-law, the father of the child, is undertakingrehabilitation for a clean and sober lifestyle.What happened: The son-in-law phoned later in theevening to cancel his commitment to look after hisdaughter next day as he felt he "had a bad week." Thegrandmother proceeded to tell her son-in-law thatalthough she was disappointed he would not be lookingafter his daughter the next day, she understood and "itwas really important that he look after himself first."She carried on by stating reasons (or excuses) why itwas important for the son-in-law to take care of himselfat the expense of any parental commitment. Only lateron, the grandmother acknowledged to herself that shefelt taken advantage of.CATEGORY TWO (Number: 90, Participation Rate: 100%)A. FACILITATING1. ANXIETY CONTROL: Ability to remain anxiety-free during periods of stress.(Number: 47, Participation Rate: 85%)72Range: The category of ANXIETY CONTROL includes thefollowing range: Anxiety level referring to a knowledgeof own general anxiety level and an avoidance of highlystressful situations by taking care of self; Comfort level concerned with monitoring own comfort level ofanxiety during periods of stress; Calmness, ability tomaintain own calmness during periods of stress andReturn to calmness defined as ability to return tocalmness after periods of stress. Anxiety control alsocovers anger management and impulse control.Illustration 1: (Anxiety level)Context: Mrs. H. was sick for three days. Mrs. H., amature student and a primary caregiver for hergrandchild, was leading a very busy lifestyle. Duringthe past year, Mrs. H. became physically sick due tostress.What happened: Mrs. H. took courage, for the firsttime, to ask her instructor for a three day extension onan assignment due shortly because of her sickness. AsMrs. H. explained: "As much as I hated asking, I did itanyway. To lose those three days I had counted on putsme under a lot of stress--stress that I don't need. So Idecided to look after myself and ask for the extension."Illustration 2: (Comfort level)Context: Mrs. A. quit smoking.What happened: Mrs. A. had several potentiallydifficult situation for staying away from smoking. Twoof her worst situations were going out for dinner andgoing to a lounge. On Mrs. A.'s birthday, she "had doneboth of these" and she "managed just fine" by monitoringher comfort level. As Mrs. A. explained, "Whenever Iget the urge, I do deep-breathing and it's workinggreat. I feel wonderful and am extremely proud ofmyself!"73Illustration 3: (Calmness)Context: Mrs. N. quit smoking recently and is easilyirritated.What happened: The continuous misbehaving of two sonsof this couples' step-family frustrated Mrs. N. to thepoint of storming out of the house while yelling andswearing at her spouse J., slamming the front door anddriving away without explanation. Mr. J. had empathyfor what his wife was going through on account of herquitting smoking and decided not to react to her anger.J. did not get angry, though he felt discouraged by hiswife's inability to cope, and hoped her tolerance levelwould improve when she gets over her smoking withdrawal.B. HINDERING2. INABILITY TO CONTROL ANXIETY: Inability to remain anxiety-free during periods ofstress. (Number: 18, Participation Rate: 77%)Range: The category of INABILITY TO CONTROL ANXIETY covers the following range: Lack of awareness of anxietylevel, a lack of knowledge of one's own general anxietylevel; Inability to monitor comfort level, inability tomonitor one's own comfort level during periods ofstress; Lack of calmness, inability to maintain one'sown calmness during periods of stress and Failure toreturn to calmness, inability to return to calmnessafter periods of stress. Anxiety control also coversanger management and impulse control.74Illustration 1: (Lack of calmness)Context: It was a four-year old daughter's bedtime andher father tucked her into bed.What happened: The four-year old continuously keptcoming out of her room claiming she had something totell to her father. The father was at first patientwith her, but as this routine continued over and over,he got fed up. Eventually he got mad and while carryinghis daughter to her room he hollered and threatened herwith spanks and locked her door. The father felt abusedby his four year old daughter and realized that hisangry and irrational reaction to his daughter'smisbehaving did not resolve the problem of hisineffective discipline.Illustration 2: (Failure to return to calmness)Context: In a response to the couples' decision tobuild a new family home, the father-in-law made acritical comment: "What's wrong with young kids is thatthey want more and what they have is never good enough."What happened: After hearing such a negative comment,the daughter-in-law felt hurt, angry and personallyblamed for the idea of building a new home. For severaldays thereafter, she remained hurt, felt guilty andanxiously doubted the couples' decision to build a newhouse.3. PROJECTION OF ANXIETY: Projection of anxiety from one relationship onto a thirdparty. (Number: 25, Participation Rate: 69%)Range: The following types of anxiety projection areincluded in this category: Parent to child, Child toParent, Spouse to spouse, Spouse to friend, Work tospouse/family, Child to parent to spouse and Parent to child to spouse.75Illustration 1: (Parent to child)Context: The wife wanted to do yard work.What happened: After checking garden supplies in thetool shed, the wife got angry at her husband and thoughtto herself: "every time I go to use one of his toolsit's either broken, dirty, needs fixing, or I can't findit at all. I wish he'd look after his things, he'sworse than a kid. How the hell am I to get things donearound here when nothing works properly?" As a result,Mrs. E. has become frustrated and really angry. Shedescribed her experience: "It took me a long time tosettle down. In the meantime, I yelled at the kids andmade them miserable. I really wanted to yell at myhusband. I was out of control and taking my anger outon the kids."Illustration 2: (Work to spouse/family)Context: Mr. 0. was self-employed. His usual "crazyday at work" involved dealing with the public whichcould be very trying at times.What happened: Mr. 0. realized that though "thecustomer may always be right," some may also be "realidiots." As Mr. 0 explained: "I have to deal with mystress in a constructive fashion; I always keep my mouthshut on the job, but then I bring that stress home. Ialmost resent my job, at times, for doing that to me:indirectly interfering with my home life, which I valuevery much."Illustration 3: (Child to parent to spouse)Context: The wife came home late from working anevening shift and found their young children still up.What happened: After the couple put the children tobed, the husband went to sleep and the wife went to havea bath. "I had just got into the tub when our youngeststarted to cry. I listened for a while. She got louderand louder and started screaming for daddy. After aboutfive minutes of this, I was furious. I got out of thetub, literally stomped up the stairs, dripping wet witha small towel wrapped around me, opened our bedroom doorand yelled at the top of my voice: Can't you hear yourkid screaming her bloody head off!" As there was noreply since the husband was sound asleep (being a verydeep sleeper), wife proceeded to furiously swear andyell at him.CATEGORY THREE (Number: 124, Participation Rate: 100%)A. FACITILATING1. A SENSE OF SELF: Ability to distinguish and honor self as separate fromothers. (Number: 73, Participation Rate: 100%)Range: The category of A SENSE OF SELF encompasses thefollowing range of subcategories: Conscious awareness of self by knowing the difference between "I" and"Not-I" (including Protection of own boundaries as wellas Respect for other's boundaries); Acceptance of self by appreciation of self without unhealthy comparisons,blame or guilt; Security by trusting self and feelingsecure about being self in the context of anxiety and byavoiding self-doubt or compromise of self; Commitment toself by being true to self (covering areas, such asGiving out of choice, not obligations, Saying NO withoutguilt and feeling free to have own priorities, Followingthrough on self-generated commitments in spite ofexternal influence) and Proactivity (referring to one'sability to detach or separate self from other'semotionality by assuming proactive stance).7677Illustration 1: (Conscious awareness of self:Protection of own boundaries )Context: A brother of Mr. L. called to announced thathe would be coming to visit L.'s family on Friday at1.00 p.m.What happened: "My brother is a schizophrenic andbecause of his illness tends to lean on me a lot (or doI let him?)." Friday 1.00 p.m. was not a good time forMr. L. to be home as he planned to be at a Rotarymeeting. At first, Mr. L. became uptight and anxiouswith his brother's expectation but calmed down andrelaxed as soon as he decided on his course of action.Mr. L. realized that he can, on this occasion, ask hisbrother to adjust to his schedule: "D., I'll be at aRotary meeting and I'll leave the front door open. Makeyourself at home! It might be a good idea to also takea walk around the neighborhood, if you get restless, soyou can see where we live. I'll see you later when myRotary meeting is over." This plan worked very well forboth brothers and allowed Mr. L. to enjoy his brotherwithout resentment for sacrificing his own plans.Illustration 2: (Commitment to self: Followingthrough)Context: Mrs. 0. is generally very busy raising a youngfamily and working part-time. Subsequently, she findsit hard to have time to herself.What happened: "I have had some great facilitatingevents lately. I've begun an interesting tape programon 'Personal power' and am enjoying it thoroughly. Ifind it facilitating because I'm following through onit. I have always been really bad on the 'followthrough,' so I'm really pleased that I ensure that everyday, no matter what, I find the time to listen to thatday's tape. I'm really happy with myself that I've madethe commitment and stuck to it."Illustration 3: (Proactivity)Context: Mrs. H., a mature university student, plannedto visit her mother who lives out of town in order tohave peace and quiet to write her term paper.What happened: While packing her overnight suitcaseMrs. H. approached her husband with concern over hisfeelings as he was isolating himself from the rest ofthe family. Mr. L. expressed he was opposed to hergoing away and questioned why she could not do herassignment at home. Against her husband's wishes, Mrs.78H. felt entitled to go away without feeling guilty. AsMrs. H. explained: "I know my husband really didn'twant me to go. I didn't feel guilty and I didn't feelreally anxious. I made up my mind not to let myself getupset over something that was really his problem."B. HINDERING2. LACK OF INDIVIDUAL BOUNDARIES: Inability to distinguish and honor self as separate fromothers. (Number: 51, Participation Rate: 77%)Range: The category of LACK OF INDIVIDUAL BOUNDARIES covers the following wide range of possibilities:Blurred boundaries of self by not knowing the differencebetween "I" and "Not-I" (concerned with Boundary invasiveness by allowing others to invade one's ownboundaries or being controlled by others as well asBoundary intrusiveness by intruding into other'sboundaries or being controlling); Lack of acceptance of self by one's inability to appreciate self withoutunhealthy comparisons, blame or guilt; Insecurity by nottrusting self and feeling insecure in the context ofanxiety, by self-doubting, compromising self, defendingself and being fearful in anticipation of negativereaction; Obligations defined as doing something out ofobligation as opposed to personal choice andsubsequently feeling resentful and trapped andReactivity characterized by one's inability to detachfrom other's emotionality and by becoming reactive byarguing or by emotional cut off and also bypersonalizing or feeling negative.Illustration 1: (Lack of acceptance of self)Context: During one of the couples workshop sessions,the participants were asked to recall their earlychildhood memories with respect to how they wereparented as children.What happened: Mr. J. realized that he had littlememory of his life prior to age 10 and only fragments ofmemory after that age. Mr. J. felt confused anddisappointed as he blamed himself for not being able torespond satisfactorily. Mr. J. was likewise intimidatedby seeing other participants responding and enjoyingthis exercise.Illustration 2: (Insecurity)Context: Mrs. H. had a late afternoon doctor'sappointment in the city some 100 miles away from home.What happened: After her doctor's appointment, Mrs. H.went to the one of the city's malls for one hour toavoid the rush hour. Mrs. H. became very anxious whiledriving home and anticipated that her husband andteenage daughter would be annoyed with her because shedid not come straight home. On behalf of her defense,Mrs. H. chose not to tell them, unless they asked, thatshe went to look around the mall for one hour. She wasespecially concerned that her husband would be "totallyticked off," and she would get defensive, resulting in afight. She was also dealing with a feeling of guilt fortaking an hour for herself. When she arrived home, shewas relieved to find out that her husband had gone out.Illustration 3: (Obligations)Context: A friend phoned the couple to invite them to aSaturday night dinner party.What happened: Mrs. H. responded: "Oh that soundsgreat P., thank you very much. We'll really lookforward to seeing you." In contrast, she thought toherself: "Oh no! That's the last thing I want to do on7980Saturday night." The couple made previous arrangementsfor that night and the previous night as well.Likewise, Sundays are always busy with family activitiesand Mrs. H. had an important exam coming Tuesday. Shethought to herself, "I'll be exhausted. But how could Isay no. We've cancelled out of the last couple ofthings they've invited us to." Mrs. H. felt trapped,anxious and dishonest as she did not really want to go."I made an assumption that they would be disappointed ifwe declined. I made an assumption that my husbandwould probably want to go. I am creating a lot ofstress for myself by allowing external events to pushand pull me--to dominate my life!"CATEGORY FOUR (Number: 48, Participation Rate: 92%)A. FACILITATING1. ACCEPTANCE OF OTHERS: Ability to appreciate and respect others on their ownmerit. (Number: 34, Participation Rate: 92%)Range: The category of ACCEPTANCE OF OTHERS ischaracterized by events reflective of Acceptance of others by one's ability to appreciate others on theirown merit; Acceptance of difference in others bytolerating differences and by having Realistic expectations of others.Illustration : (Acceptance of difference in others)Context: Mr. R. wanted to go to see the strippers.What happened: Mr. R.'s wife, Mrs. C., explained herviewpoint: "I didn't feel comfortable about him going,but he could go. I explained my feelings and he said hewouldn't go. I asked if we could come to a solution81that was agreeable to us both. We did some problemsolving and he went." Mrs. C. detached emotionally fromher husband's desire to go to the strip club.Eventhough she was not in favour of him going, Mrs. C.could tolerate it and not be upset if he went.B. HINDERING2. REJECTION OF OTHERS: Inability to appreciate and respect others on their ownmerit. (Number: 14, Participation Rate: 38%)Range: The category of REJECTION OF OTHERS encompassesCriticism of others stemming from one's inability toappreciate others on their own merit by criticizing,condemning and comparing; Pressure for sameness ofothers seen in intolerance of differences and havingUnrealistic expectations of others by being demandingand controlling.Illustration: (Unrealistic expectations)Context: Mrs. S. was helping a friend remodel herkitchen and they needed a truck to pick up somepaneling.What happened: Mrs. S. told her friend she knew someonewho could help and proceeded to ask her co-worker toborrow his truck. "He said that he would lend it to mefor my personal use, but not for my friend. I thought,'what a jerk,' and walked away. My feelings were ofanger, fuming, and I was really mad that he said no."Mrs. S. really expected him to say yes and remainedextremely mad for the rest of the day when herexpectations were not met.CATEGORY FIVE (Number: 136, Participation Rate 100%)A. FACILITATING1. OPENNESS & INTIMACY: Vulnerability with one's own feelings, thoughts, needs 'and wants as well as ability to listen to and supportothers' feelings, thoughts, needs and wants.(Number: 97, Participation Rate: 92%)Range: The category of OPENNESS & INTIMACY includes thefollowing wide range of possibilities: Trust referringto one's ability to believe in one's own feelings,thoughts, needs and wants; Vulnerability defined as theability to share one's own feelings, thoughts, needs andwants; Accessibility by making oneself available toothers to listen to their feelings, thoughts, needs andwants; Support for another person as well as the abilityto be empathic and also the ability to ask for help andsupport; Clarifications explained as an avoidance ofmindreading, and, instead, ability to ask others forclarifications as well as the ability to clarify ownideas, needs and expectations and Mistakes concernedwith admitting of own wrongs as well as allowing othersto rectify their mistakes.8283Illustration 1: (Trust)Context: Mrs. H. felt very sick and had an appointmentwith her doctor that same day in a city that was a two-hour drive away from her home.What happened: Mrs. H. felt torn between keeping hercommitment with the doctor and looking after herself:"I'm so sick I can't make it to the city and back, but Ican't cancel the appointment; it's too late I'll haveto try and make it." Finally, Mrs. H. gained trust inher feelings of being too sick and the necessity to takecare of her immediate needs: "I phoned the doctor'soffice at 2.00 p.m. and cancelled my 4.00 p.m.appointment and went home to bed." This tookconsiderable courage on Mrs. H.'s part as she usuallyneglected her own feelings and needs in favour ofpleasing others.Illustration 2: (Accessibility)Context: A couple had an argument about other familymembers.What happened: "This time, rather than discussing it asa lot of 'B.S.,' I took the time to listen to what shehad to say. I thought to myself, 'whether I agree ornot, I should at least listen; whether I feel it's animportant issue or not, I should listen,' which I did.The argument turned into a calm exchange of views on thematter. I am more aware of my wife's presence, not herphysical presence, but her feelings and emotions."Illustration 3: (Mistakes)Context: The parents bought an expensive pair ofrunners for their teenage son.What happened:^When the son was wearing his expensiverunners to play in the yard, his father cautioned him towear his old pair instead. After hearing this, hismother proceeded to lecture her son on not wearing hisnew runners for play. The son angrily responded that heknew what he had done wrong and did not need to hear ittwice. Afterwards, the mother thought that her son wasright and it was not her place to get involved in a wellunderstood exchange between father and son. "I admittedto him what I had done was wrong."84B. HINDERING2. LACK OF OPENNESS AND INTIMACY: Lack of vulnerability with one's own feelings, thoughts,needs and wants as well as inability to listen to andsupport other's feelings, thoughts, needs and wants.(Number: 39, Participation Rate: 77%)Range: LACK OF OPENNESS AND INTIMACY categoryencompasses the following wide range of themes: Mistrustreferring to one's inability to believe in one's ownfeelings, thoughts, needs and wants; Emotional unavailability by one's inability to share one's ownfeelings, thoughts, needs and wants; Emotional cut off defined as one's unavailability to others to listen totheir feelings, thoughts, needs and wants; Lack of support for another person as well as one's inability tobe empathic and also the inability to ask for help andsupport; Assumptions involving mindreading and makingassumptions about others as well as expecting others toread one's mind and Mistakes concerned with denial ofown wrongs and inability to accept others' rectificationof their mistakes.Illustration 1: (Emotional unavailability)Context: During the mid-interview Mrs. E. talked abouther problematic style of communication.85What happened: Mrs. E. explained how her anger andfrustration, often persisting for many days, have to dowith the fact that she usually lets her feelings gounexpressed. Mrs. E. gave an example of how an elderlydriver parked his car too close to her car in a mall'sparking lot. She thought to herself: "You jerk, how doyou expect me to have enough room to get out of my car.Don't you see what you're doing, you idiot!" As thedriver stepped out of his car and realized he was parkedtoo close to Mrs. E.'s car, he walked over and asked ifshe had enough room to get out. Mrs. E. replied "yes"with a smile on her face. At the same time, she was madat the elderly driver for not realizing he had parkedtoo close to her car regardless of what she said. Shewas also angry for not speaking up.Illustration 2: (Lack of support)Context: Mrs. A. had her wisdom teeth pulled out andwas in substantial pain for several days afterwards.What happened: "My husband has been a total jerk.Whenever I'm sick, he removes himself emotionally. He'sunable to cope with illness, so he just doesn'tacknowledge it. He walks around like a martyr who'sbeing very hard done by. Two days after my surgery hecame upstairs (I hadn't been out of bed yet) to see if Iwanted to help him do his year-end G.S.T. I wanted tosmack him right in the mouth. It's like saying that hisneeds are more important than mine."Illustration 3: (Assumptions)Context: Mrs. E. had an exceptionally difficult timewith the couples' two young children as they, as well asherself, were sick.What happened: "By the time my husband came home fromwork, I had had enough! I was in a rotten mood andexpected my husband to take over. I barely spoke to himand had tuned myself off to everything and everyone. Ifelt unloved, trapped and deeply depressed, My thoughtswere: 'this is totally crazy, I need this like a holein my head. Why did I ever get myself into thissituation. I'd like to pack my bags and run away.' Ididn't explain to my husband how I felt, what I thoughtor wanted. I assumed he should be able to read my mindand I got angry when he didn't."CATEGORY SIX (Number: 31, Participation Rate: 85%)A. FACILITATING1. COGNITIVE FUNCTIONING: Making decisions based on rational thought as opposed toemotions and maintaining balance between the forces ofindividuality and togetherness. (Number: 23,Participation Rate: 85%)Range: The category of COGNITIVE FUNCTIONING rangesfrom one's ability to use Rational reasoning (as opposedto making decisions based on one's emotions), throughIntellectual autonomy (involving one's ability to stateautonomous beliefs and opinions without attacking thoseof others or without the need to defend one's ownposition), to Balance between individuality andtogetherness by one's ability to be self-determinedwhile remaining considerate of others.Illustration 1: (Rational reasoning)Context: Mr. L., a pharmacist and owner of a localdrugstore, had to deal with a difficult customer.What happened: The customer demanded to have hisprescription filled right away, but the medication wason order and had not arrived yet to the store. Mr. L.ensured him he would have it for him the next day, butthe customer replied he wanted it now, knowing that thestore didn't have it. Mr. L. apologized again, andthough irritated, remained calm and suggested he wouldmake an effort to get the prescription from another8687pharmacy the same day (which he did). Mr. L. waspleased that he remained calm though the customer'smanner was really unreasonable. Responding rationally,allowed Mr. L. to be creative to find another solution.Illustration 2: (Balance between individuality andtogetherness)Context: During the mid-term interview, Mr. J. wasasked what was his understanding of a definition ofdifferentiation.What happened: Mr. J. perceived differentiation to bethe ability to use rational thoughts as a guide and alsothe balance between taking care of one's self whilebeing intimately connected in a relationship. Mr. J.invested a great effort into practicing such balance inhis relationship by giving his partner space andtolerating differences while remaining connected bysharing his feelings and wants and encouraging hispartner to do the same.B HINDERING2. EMOTIONAL FUNCTIONING: Making decisions based on emotions as opposed torational thought and an inability to maintain balancebetween the forces of individuality and togetherness.(Number: 8, Participation Rate: 46%)Range: The category of EMOTIONAL FUNCTIONING covers therange from Emotional reasoning (involving makingdecisions based on emotions as opposed to based onrational thought), through Lack of intellectual autonomy(concerned with one's inability to state autonomousbeliefs and opinions without attacking those of othersor needing to defend one's own position), to Imbalance between individuality and togetherness by one'sinability to be self-determined while remainingconsiderate of others.Illustration: (Emotional Reasoning)Context: Mrs. H. talked to a friend on the phone aboutthe couples workshop.What happened: The friend responded: "Well I'm notlike you; I can grow and sort out my own problemswithout having to lean on outside help. I've gonethrough some of the stuff you're going through, but Isorted it out myself." In reply, Mrs. H. acknowledgedher own willingness to learn from others who might knowmore. Mrs. H. felt put down and angry. She proceeded tobe defensive and also reacted to her friend withsarcasm. As Mrs. H. felt really annoyed by her friend'sstatement, she reacted by trying to get her friend tosee things her way. In Mrs. H.'s words, this led to thefollowing: "It was a stupid conversation and a completewaste of time."Summary Out of the study's total of 508 critical incidents,323 or 64% were facilitating and 185 or 36% werehindering. The distribution of events into the sixcategories is displayed in Table 1.The study found the category of OPENNESS & INTIMACY, with particular focus on the ability toexpress one's feelings, thoughts and, in particular,wants, to facilitate differentiation far more than anyother category. Thirty percent of all facilitating8889events fit this category (Table 1.). Also, the categoryof A SENSE OF SELF, concerned with one's ability todistinguish boundaries between self and other, was foundhighly facilitating and accounted for 23% of allfacilitating events. A SENSE OF SELF category was alsothe most hindering category containing 28% of allhindering events. The second highest hindering categorywas LACK OF OPENNNESS & INTIMACY with 21% out of thetotal of hindering events. Thus, this research foundthe categories of OPENNESS & INTIMACY and A SENSE OFSELF to account for 51% of all events in bothfacilitative and hindering directions (exactly, 53% outof all facilitating events and 49% out of all hinderingones).Table 1Categories and Percentages of Events Category Label^ Numberof eventsPercentfor eachcategoryTotal1.Facilitating Responsibility 49 15% 15.5%Hindering Blaming 15 8%Excusing 15 8%2.Facilitating Anxiety Control 47 15% 19%Hindering Inability to ControlAnxiety 19 10%Projection of Anxiety 24 13%3.Facilitating A Sense of Self 73 23% 25.5%Hindering^Lack of IndividualBoundaries 51 28%4.Facilitating Acceptance of Others 34 10% 9%Hindering Rejection of Others 14 8%5.Facilitating Openness & Intimacy 97 30% 25.5%Hindering Lack of Openness &Intimacy 39 21%6.Facilitating Cognitive Functioning 23 7% 5.5%Hindering Emotional Functioning 8 4%SUBTOTAL:Facilitating 323 100% 64%Hindering 185 100% 36%TOTAL 508 100%90CHAPTER 5. DISCUSSIONSummary of Results From eight couples completing eight-weeks workshop,508 incidents were reported that either facilitated orhindered differentiation. These incidents were reducedinto six major categories which were found to be bothreliable and valid. The categories included thefollowing: RESPONSIBILITY versus BLAMING or EXCUSING,ANXIETY CONTROL versus INABILITY TO CONTROL ANXIETY orPROJECTION OF ANXIETY, A SENSE OF SELF versus LACK OFINDIVIDUAL BOUNDARIES, ACCEPTANCE OF OTHERS versus REJECTION OF OTHERS, OPENNESS & INTIMACY versus LACK OFOPENNESS & INTIMACY and COGNITIVE versus EMOTIONAL FUNCTIONING.Limitations The significance and generalizability of thisstudy's results of what events facilitate or hinderdifferentiation are limited by several factors. First,of all, the results are limited by the participants'understanding of differentiation, what they were capableof articulating and what they were willing to reveal bythe study's method of measure. For example, three9192couples of the eight participating couples had very poorparticipation in the writing of the daily log of events:three men did not write any cards and their femalespouses each wrote only a very few events. English wasa second language for one of these couples. Though thiscouple actively participated during the workshopsessions and acknowledged substantial gains from theprogram during the final interview, they also admittedthat their language barrier prevented them from activeparticipation in the writing of a daily log. The othertwo couples, when asked during the final interview whattheir understanding of differentiation was, had verylittle understanding of the concept of differentiation.The two men also expressed their displeasure ofwriting. Likewise, all three men expressed theirdifficulty in expressing feelings. Also, someparticipants revealed very personal material in theirevents that might not have been appropriate for othersto disclose. Other participants were, at first,reluctant to write the daily log events but gainedconfidence during the duration of the eight weekworkshop thereby increasing the depth of theirparticipation. Thus, both the extent and depth of93participation in the daily log varied due to thelimitations of the study method.It would be more desirable to observe theparticipants' changes in their level of differentiation.Nevertheless, this might prove economically impracticaland unethical with respect to the couples privacy.Likewise, the composition of this study's groupmight be questioned as being representative of thegeneral population. All participants had children andwere referrals to the Mental Health Center in regards totheir child's problematic behavior. It might bepossible that this predominantly middle class caucasiangroup might not be representative of the generalpopulation. In addition, only eight couples took partin the study. With such a small sample, it might alsobe difficult to generalize to the general population.In conclusion, the generalizability of theseresults is limited by stated factors. Given suchlimitation, this study's results hold value mostly forprogramme development and for practical theoreticalapplication.Implications for TheoryThe findings of the present study validate Bowen's94approach to a certain extent. The constructs of BowenFamily Systems Theory are, to some degree, recognized bythe present study category system. In particular, thepresent category system encompasses the three keyconcepts of Bowen: anxiety, sense of solid self andrational thinking.The researcher found this study category system tobe reflective of the concepts of the Bowen FamilySystems Theory though their definitions may be adeparture from Bowen. One of Bowen's basic concepts,anxiety, is reflected in this study's categories ofANXIETY CONTROL versus INABLIITY TO CONTROL ANXIETY or PROJECTION OF ANXIETY and a hindering counterpart ofOPENNESS & INTIMACY versus LACK OF OPENNESS & INTIMACY.The two main areas of the key concept of differentiationof self, an increased level of solid self and apreference for cognitive functioning versus emotionalfunctioning, are also represented by the present studycategory system. Categories of RESPONSIBILITY versus BLAMING or EXCUSING, A SENSE OF SELF versus LACK OFINDIVIDUAL BOUNDARIES, ACCEPTANCE OF OTHERS versus REJECTION OF OTHERS and OPENNESS & INTIMACY versus LACKOF OPENNESS & INTIMACY correspond to the notion of solidself while COGNITIVE versus EMOTIONAL FUNCTIONING is95equivalent to the Bowen concept of cognitive versusemotional functioning.In addition, each of the six categories proper ofthe present study category system have a wide range ofpossibilities. For example, A SENSE OF SELF versus LACKOF INDIVIDUAL BOUNDARIES encompasses both positive andnegative features ranging from awareness of self,through acceptance of self, trusting self, commitment toself, to one's ability to assume a proactive stance.All categories also reflect the relational natureof differentiation of self concerned with interactionsbetween self and others. For example, the category ofRESPONSIBILITY versus BLAMING or EXCUSING makesreferences to responsibility and blaming or excusing ofself with respect to others. Likewise, the category ofOPENNESS & INTIMACY versus LACK OF OPENNESS & INTIMACY makes references to a persons' ability to expressthemselves by, for example, being vulnerable, asking forhelp and being accountable for their own mistakes aswell as their ability to allow others to do the same bythe means of reflective listening, offering support andasking for clarifications.Finally, the interlocking and overlappingcharacteristics of the Bowen constructs are also evident96in this study's category system. Subsequently, manyincidents could easily qualify for several categoriesbearing some resemblance to various category properprototypes.The findings of the present study depart from Bowenon several important points. Bowen Family SystemsTheory values rational thinking above emotions.Feelings are thus considered inferior in humanexperience. Many incidents of the present studycategory system indicate events that used rationalreasoning to facilitate differentiation which often leftthe individual with negative feelings. For example, acouple who is raising their grandchild, since thebiological parents decline their parentingresponsibility, felt burdened and trapped by suchcommitment. Yet, when they exercised their rationalreasoning and explored the possibility of giving theirgranddaughter for adoption in the best interest ofthemselves as well as the child, they were left withoverwhelming feeling of guilt, self-blame and anunbearable sense of loss. By reflecting upon such anoutcome of effect, it was difficult to classify, such anevent as either negative or positive.97According to Bowen, it is questionable how a welldifferentiated person would experience such a sensitivedilemma. Bowen does not address what effect followsevents that are reflective of differentiation. If,according to Bowen, a well differentiated person is lessinfluenced by his or her feelings, would the oppositealso be true; that is, would greater differentiationalso lessen the person's deep sense of joy that thiscouple draws from being active participants in theirgrandchild's life? Given the principles of the BowenTheory, the answer is unclear.Bowen also does not seem to give much attention tolove. According to Bowen (1978), the lessdifferentiated people's "primary life goals are orientedaround love, happiness, comfort and security," and"high-scale people are free to engage in goal-directedactivity, or to lose 'self' in the intimacy of a closerelationship" as their solid self is not negotiable inthe relationship system (pp. 474-475). Subsequently, aself-determined differentiated person invests mostenergy and derives more satisfaction from self-directedactivity (Bowen, 1978). Such a view of love andintimacy in a close relationship was found to be toonarrow. Most couples found the deep sense of intimate98sharing, when "self" was not compromised, to be a sourceof love, happiness, comfort and security. In otherwords, most participants declared that these feelingswere more satisfying than the fulfillment of goals thatemphasized achievement (such as running a successfulbusiness).In sum, the present study found the couples to drawmost satisfaction from togetherness while maintainingpermeable semi-solid boundaries of self. Thus, in viewof the results of this study, the importance of feelingsand togetherness was perceived as an asset, not as adetriment as Bowen would have it.Bowen's discussion of differentiation from theFamily Systems perspective "has not given sufficientcredence to the issue of attachment, the prerequisite ofindividuation" (Farley, 1990, pp. 86). As proposed byBowby (1969), secure attachment is a prerequisite forany form of healthy individuation. For example, a childof one of the couples in this study had experienced somesevere disruptions in his bonding earlier in his life.The mother, presently remarried, was faced with theson's hostility and disregard for his step-father. Herdetachment from her son's problem might have beenfacilitating for her differentiation but was, at the99same time, deepening the attachment problem for her sonas he perceives it as abandonment. In Bowby's view, onecannot securely individuate unless one is first securelyemotionally attached or bonded to another human being.In summary, the major concepts of Bowen's Theorywere progressively elaborated upon by the evolvingcategory system, broadening and altering the meaning ofthe category. Thus, essentially, the categoriesdescribed in Chapter 4. are not Bowenian categories butare the revision of Bowen as required by the richness ofthe study's concrete incidents. In particular, thisstudy found the sense of community or togetherness to beessential to one's feeling of belonging, and, therefore,it is highly valued. Also, vulnerability with one'sfeelings, thoughts and wants as well as respect forother's experiences led participants to a greatercloseness accompanied by a high degree of satisfaction.Such closeness was experienced by the participants aslove and security, and they found this effect to besuperior to other forms of satisfaction, such as self-directed goals as proposed by Bowen.100Implications for PracticeThe practical implications of this study categorysystem examine how it validates, invalidates or extendsmodern practice. The results of the present studyvalidate and extend modern practice of skill-trainingprograms by the fact that the Bowen Theory enrichesskill-training programs, and also, more specifically,parenting programs. In addition, this study categorysystem extends the counselling practices by identifyinga map of what facilitates change.The overview of skill training programs (asprovided in Chapter 2.) concluded that theskill-oriented programs' "potential for use withfunctional and semifunctional couples and families isalmost assured" (L'Abate, 1981, p. 657). This view issupporter by Gertz and Gunn (1988) with respect toparent education programs: "Parents are responding toparent education and training with increased interest asthey become aware of new knowledge and want to apply itto a positive upbringing for their children" (p. 331).In order to improve a child's functioning, parentaleducation and support has long been recognized asessential (Gertz & Gunn, 1988). Adlerian approachrecognizes the mutual influences of parents and101children. Subsequently, "given the importance ofparents in the lives of children, it seems vital thatany kind of professional intervention in relation to thechild should be concerned with supporting andstrengthening the parents" (Fine & Gardner, 1991 p. 33).Nevertheless, Getz and Gunn (1988) suggest thatthere is some evidence that parent educationprograms can cause family division.Typically, the mother is the participant insuch programs....The danger is that the wivesmay become the "experts" and the husbands maybecome resistant and hostile toward the newapproaches. (p. 332)Skill-training programs, and, in particular,"parenting education has generally not addressed thefamily as a system, however, and the effect of suchprograms on the entire family may not have beenseriously considered" (Getz & Gunn, 1988, p. 332). Getz& Gunn (1988) strongly believe that parent educationprograms could greatly benefit from incorporating FamilySystems Theory concepts into their curriculum, inparticular, family communication patterns, patterns ofemotional distance between family members (enmeshedfamilies when there is too little distance anddisengaged families when there is too much distance) andfamily role structuring (concerned with hierarchy andparental unit alliance). According to Betz and Gunn102(1988), family assessment could identify these patterns.Subsequently, solutions to the child-parent interactionshould vary according to the systemic needs of thesepatterns. For example, an enmeshed family could benefitfrom the use of logical consequences in correcting thechild's behavior, as opposed to a disengaged family thatmight have very diverse needs for greater communicationskills and/or family meetings.This study's format, first, concerned witheducating parents about family systems in order toincrease their level of differentiation with the goal ofimproving parental ability to effectively address theirchildren behavior problems, and, second, concerned withinvolving both spouses in the intervention, is perceivedto be lacking in most parent education programs.However, such format's potential benefits are recognizedby some educators, such as Getz and Gunn (1988) and Fineand Gardner (1991).Furthermore, this study extends such ideas as itsfocus is not only on the nuclear family interactions,but also on the family of origin involvement, identifiedby Bowen as the most effective key to change: "Familiesin which the focus is on the differentiation of self inthe families of origin automatically make as much or103more progress in working [on] the relationship systemwith spouses and children" as families concentrating onnuclear family as a major outlet of such work(1966, p. 545). The workshop sessions orientedparticipants to the patterns of interaction establishedin their family of origin and sensitized participants tothe influences of such patterns in their nuclear family.Although most of the events that emerged out ofthis research referred to interactions with nuclearfamily members, the participants had a heightenedawareness of how their habitual relational styledeveloped in the milieu of their family of origininfluenced or guided their present relational style.The widening gap between the habitual pattern ofinteraction and the preferred pattern (by theindividuals' choice) facilitated the shift for change.Likewise, the recognition of the individual habitualrelational patterns assisted the participants inunderstanding their spouses and led to greater respectfor personal boundaries and tolerance of differences ofspouses as well as children.The present study's categories of events thatfacilitate or hinder differentiation can map theterritory that can be a part of the training knowledge.104The categories can be used as a guide for developingprograms, could be used as a tool for how a counsellormeasures program effectiveness or as a map of whatfacilitates or hinders change. This study foundOPENNESS & INTIMACY, with particular focus on theability to express one's feeling, thoughts and wants, tobe, by far,the most facilitating category, responsiblefor 30% of all events facilitating differentiation.Contemporary skill-training programs as well as familytherapy sessions might find it useful to consider thisconcept to be an integral part of their practices.Also, the category of A SENSE OF SELF, concerned withone's ability to distinguish boundaries between self andothers, was found highly facilitating. The fact thatthis research found these two categories accounted for51% of all events (in both, negative and positivedirections) might prove useful for modern practices ofprogram development and therapy sessions.Implications for Research The present study generates possibilities forfuture research as it ought to be replicated as well asextended. The study could be replicated by using a newgroup of participants with the application of the105identical program or program with changes in theworkshop method.Likewise, pre- and post- measures could be employedto measure the effectiveness of the currentprogram. These could involve measures of personalgrowth, couples' satisfaction, child's behavioral checklists or measures of family environment, among other.In addition, the categories of this study categorysystem might be used for development of a measuringinstrument for the process of change. As explained inChapter 4., the five scales of the existing measuringinstrument as developed by Garfinkel (1980) arereflected in the present study category system. ThoughGarfinkel's scales of differentiation have not beenutilized by the research of family therapy, the need fora measuring instrument of the process of change in one'slevel of differentiation persists and could prove to beinvaluable in the clinical and skill-training spheres.Lastly, future research could examine whether thereis a difference between gender with respect todifferentiation. Further research would need to be doneto determine if there is also a difference in qualityand nature of events reported by males and females.106SummaryEight couples participated in a workshop designedto identify what events facilitate or hinderdifferentiation. The couples met in three-hour weeklysessions over a period of eight weeks. The programincorporated psycho-educational and experientialcomponents. The content was based on the key conceptsof Bowen Family Systems Theory, communication skills,Transactional Analysis and Imago Therapy.During the program and from the mid- and post-interviews, 508 incidents were collected. Flanagan's(1954) critical incident technique was used as a methodto discover what facilitates and hinders differentiationin everyday life. Subsequently, the total of 508reported incidents was reduced to the six majorcategories. Each major category had its facilitatingand hindering counterparts. Then, a definition wascreated for each category. The category of "Opennessand Intimacy" was found to be, by far, the mostfacilitating and accounted for 30% of all facilitatingincidents. The categories of "Openness & Intimacy" and"A Sense of Self" accounted for 51% of all facilitatingas well as hindering events.The results of the study were found to be bothreliable and valid. 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The decision-making process involved in divorce: A critical incident study.Unpublished master's thesis, University of BritishColumbia, Vancouver, B.C.Rogers, C. R. (1951). Client-centered therapy. Boston:Houghton Mifflin.Sager, C. J., Gundlach, R., Kremer, M., Levy, R. &Royce, J. R. (1968). The married in treatment.Archives of General Psychiatry, 19, 205-217.Satir, V. (1967). Conjoint family therapy. Palo Alto,CA: Science and Behavior Books.Satir, V. (1988). The new people making. Mountain View,CA: Science and Behavior Books.Schwab, J., Baldwin, M., Gerber, J., Gomori, M., &Satir, V. (1989). The Satir approach to communication: A workshop manual. Palo Alto, CA: Science and BehaviorBooks.Sluzki, C. (1978). Marital therapy from a systems theoryperspective. In T. Paolino, & B. McCrady (Eds.),Marriage and marital therapy. New York: Brunner/Mazel.Tjosvold, D. (1990). Power in co-operative andcompetitive organizational contexts. The Journal of Social Psychology, 130, 249-258.Wallerstein, J. S., & Blakeslee, S. (1989). Secondchances: Men, women, and children a decade afterdivorce. New York: Ticknor & Fields.115Watzlawick, P., Beavin, J. H., Jackson, D. D. (1967).Pragmatics of human communication: A study ofinteractional patterns. In Pathologies and paradoxes.New York: Norton.Young, R. E. (1991). Critical incidents in early schoolleavers': Transition to adulthood. Unpublishedmaster's thesis, University of British Columbia,Vancouver, B.C.116APPENDIX A: INTEGRATIVE SYSTEMIC SKILL-TRAINING PROGRAMFOR COUPLES117SKILL-TRAINING PROGRAM FOR COUPLESSESSION ONE1. DAILY LOG REVIEWGeneral discussion of daily log events takes place.2. INTRODUCTION Objectives: To assume leadership of the groupTo get to know each otherTo express hopes and fearsTo introduce the outline of the workshopTo establish ground rulesTo establish group processTo start building trust and rapportTo elicit a commitment of the groupTime required: 60 mins.Materials: OverheadsFlip chartHandoutsGhetto blasterBackground musicProcess: The facilitator sets up the room in advance. She checkson heat, lighting and ventilation, finds out where thenearest washroom and water fountain is, sets up therefreshments and arranges sufficient chairs in a halfcircle. The facilitator also hangs up flip charts, setsup overhead, prepares the music equipment, placeshandouts on each chair and prepares name-tags. She alsoplaces a sign with the workshop name on the door.The facilitator puts on background music and greets thecouples as they enter the room and asks them to wearname tags. Once everyone is seated, the facilitatortakes attendance and welcomes the group with thefollowing statement: "My name is  and I'dlike to welcome you here tonight. Some of you may befeeling a little nervous right now. I know that I'm alittle nervous myself. This is a natural response tobeing in a new situation with a group of people we don't118know. I can appreciate the courage it takes to make adecision to participate in a workshop like this. Thebest way to deal with the first night nervousness is tofind out more about who we are."(1) GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHERThe couples are to pair up with another couple they donot know and are given the following instructions: "NowI'd like to invite you to spend a few minutes getting toknow each other. You could do so by asking the othercouple the following questions: name, occupation, wherethey are from, how they met, how long they have been inthis relationship, number of children in the couple'sfamily and their ages, what hobbies they enjoy in theirspare time. Share as much as you feel comfortable with.Try to listen to each other and, if you wish, you cantake notes. When we return to the large group you willbe asked to introduce the other couple. Make sure thatyou check with the members of your group, beforehand,whether it is appropriate for you to tell the rest ofour group what others just revealed to you. You haveapproximately ten minutes." When the large groupreassembles, one member of each couple is asked tointroduce the other couple.After all the participants have been introduced, theleader introduces herself by encouraging the group to"gang-up-on-the-leader" by asking her questions, suchas:What was your family of origin like?What is your family like now?What do you like/dislike?Where are you from?What are your qualifications?Anything else?(2) HOPES AND FEARS The facilitator addresses participant's hopes and fears:"Some of you might have specific expectations of as wellas fears about this workshop. Some of these may be thesame as those of other members and some of them may bedifferent. Now we are going to give each person anopportunity to express these hopes and fears."Each individual member is then given the opportunity toexpress his or her hopes and fears. The leader asks for119two volunteers to write these onto two separate flipcharts.After all the members of the group have had anopportunity to voice their hopes and fears, the leaderstates her own hopes and fears.(3) OUTLINE OF THE WORKSHOP The facilitator displays the overhead of the outline ofthe eight-week workshop sessions and briefly explainsit's content and rationale. Extra attention is given tothe current session.(4) GROUND RULES The ground rules are described in the following manner:Attendance: "To maximize your benefit from thisprogram, it is advisable to attend all eight sessions ofthe program. If, after this first session, knowing abit more about the workshop, or at any other timethereafter, you decide that this is not right for you,then I would appreciate if you would approach me and letme know. However, if I don't hear from you, I willassume that you will do your best to attend all thesessions on the basis of your individual commitment."Homework: "For the purpose of the study and also tomaximize your benefit from this workshop, it is vitalthat you spend ten to fifteen minutes daily reflectingand writing events in your daily log. I will explain toyou in detail how to record your daily events after Ipresent the theoretical model of this workshop. Iappreciate your commitment in this regard."Anonymity: "One of the guidelines we need to establishis anonymity. The principle of anonymity calls forconfidentiality of any private information we disclosehere; that is, anything any member of the group sayshere is to be kept confidential, and, likewise, themembership of this group is to be known only to us.Feel free to talk to the 'outsiders' about the skillsyou will learn here but nothing is to be said about thepersonal content of our exchange. Such confidentialitywill enable each member to get the most out of thisexperience."120Concerns: "Should anyone have any concerns related tothe group or any particular activity, please do nothesitate to inform me, so we can feel comfortable witheach other."Right to Pass: "Anybody has the right to pass if you donot wish to speak or participate in any of theactivities. There is no competition on how much wedisclose here. You will be wise to deal with as much asit feels comfortable for you, at any given point intime, and your pacing is exactly right for you."Right to Speak: "Every member has a right to speak andexpress his/her opinions without being judged orinterrupted."Caution: "Some of the activities may evokes powerfulfeelings in you. You are advised to detach, relax oreven leave the room at any given point you do not feelcomfortable. I will remind you beforehand suchactivities so that you will know what to expect. Thus,I encourage you to be gentle with yourself; do not dealwith more than you are ready for."Questions: "Before we move on, I'd like to encourageyou to bring up any questions or comments with regard tothese ground rules."(5) HOUSEKEEPING ITEMS The participants are informed about housekeeping items,such as locations of washroom, coffee breaks,refreshment arrangement, smoking regulations and fireand safety regulations.3. SYSTEMIC DEVELOPMENTAL MODEL Objectives:To understand developmental and attachment principalsTo familiarize with Transactional AnalysisTo understand the principals of the Bowen Family SystemsTheoryTo gain knowledge of the differentiation processTo learn how hindering and facilitating events ofdifferentiation are to be recorded in the Daily LogTime Required: 60 mins.Materials: Overhead121Process: (1) MODEL The leader briefly explains the eclectic theoreticalmodel of the workshop based on the principles ofattachment, Eriksonian developmental theory,Transactional Analysis, and, in particular, Bowen FamilySystems Theory with its key concept of differentiationof self. The Bowen's three stance of differentiation(as they relate to anxiety) are explained: enmeshment,reactivity and proactivity. Enmeshment anddisengagement are graphically demonstrated and explainedas they relate spousal relationship. The concept oftransgenerational transmission of anxiety is alsopresented and the formation of interlocking triangles isdemonstrated. Other Bowen's concepts are brieflydescribed.(2) DEFINITION OF DIFFERENTIATION Definition of differentiation is provided.(3) DAILY LOG Daily events, hindering or facilitating one's ability todifferentiate, are to be recorded in a daily log. Theleader describes in detail and gives examples of what isexpected from the participants.4. SCULPTING Objectives: To experience the feelings corresponding to the twostates of fusion, enmeshment and disengagement, and thestate of differentiationTo develop a deeper understanding of the process ofdifferentiationTo build trust and intimacy with partnerTime required: 20 mins.Materials: NoneProcess: Introduction: The couples are to use their body positions to expressthe two states of fusion and a state of differentiationto get in touch with how differently these states feel.122Activity: FUSED-DROWNED: (Lost sense of Self--enmeshment)(a) "Only You And You Alone": Couples are hugging eachother tight, face to face/eye to eye. This can becompared to the state of infatuation when people arefalling in love or so called honeymoon stage of arelationship. The partners are to negotiate and executewhose turn is it to take out the garbage. What happenswhen one partner tries to move away?(b) "Codependent": Couple stands side by side leaningtowards each other, heads together, feet apart from eachother. One partner steps away while the other leansmore towards her/him. They are to negotiate theirfinances.FUSED-ALIENATED: (Emotional cut off--disengagement)Partners are standing back to back with their handsholding at elbows. They are to negotiate sharing of thehousehold shores.DIFFERENTIATED: Couples stand face to face holding hands loosely andstanding apart at arms length. They are to let go ofone hand or the other and hold on again. The partnersare to discuss a holiday trip.Debriefing: Each couple is to pair up with another couple to formgroups of four to debrief this exercise. Each partnerof the dyad discusses how s/he felt in each position,what was their eye contact like, how did thecommunication proceed, how much freedom of physicalmovement they had and what position felt familiar tothem.Afterwards, couples share their experience in a largegroup.5. GAZING Objectives: To build trust and intimacy with partnerTo rekindle attraction to the partnerTime required: 10 mins.Materials: Ghetto blasterTape: Love songProcess: Activity: Couples are asked to sit facing each other and gaze ineach others eyes while holding hands. They are asked123not to look away if possible. After a few minutes theyare to tell each other what attracted each partner tothe other.Debrief:Couples debrief the experience: what did it feel like,was it hard to maintain eye contact, would you like yourpartner to tell you more often what attracts her/him toyou.6. MEDITATION Objectives: To relax the participantsTo suggest to look for happiness inside ourselves, asopposed to outsideTime required: 10 mins.Materials: Meditative musicGhetto blasterProcess: Introduction: The leader asks everyone to get seated comfortably in achair. Anyone who does not feel comfortable with themeditative process is asked to keep their eyes open andjust listen. The purpose of this meditation isexplained.Activity:Relaxation proceeds through muscle tensing and relaxing.Then a brief Sufi story about the meaning of happinessis read.Debriefing: The group debriefs this workshop introductory session.124SESSION TWO1. DAILY LOG REVIEWGeneral discussion of daily log events takes place.2. FEARS, EXPECTATIONS AND HOPES Obi ectives : To express fears, expectations and hopes about yourrelationshipTo build trust and intimacyTime required: 15 mins.Materials: OverheadProcess: Introduction: "In the following exercise, partners in each dyad assumeroles of a speaker and a listener. While one partner inthe dyad is speaking, the other partner is activelylistening without any interruptions. The partners thenswitch roles of a listener and a speaker. When bothpartner of the dyad are finished speaking, the couplecan bring forth any questions or clarifications. Facingyour partner, answer the following three questions toeach other:1. What are some of the fears you have had aboutyour relationship?2. a) What are some of the expectations you havehad about you relationship?b) In what way have your expectations beenfulfilled?c) In what way have your expectations not beenfulfilled?3. What are some of the hopes you have had or stillhave for your relationship in the future?Demonstration: The leader and a volunteer demonstrate the exercise.Activity: Couples assume the roles of a speaker and a listener.Debriefing:Both partners discuss how it felt to express their ownfears, expectations and hopes; how it felt to listen totheir partners' fears, expectations and hopes and ifthey have learned anything new. This is to be donewithout defending one's own position and blaming or125criticizing one's partner. The partners are merely tohear each other out.Couples share their experience in the large group ifthey wish.3. DIRTY FIGHTING LIST Objectives: To learn about each other's dislikesTo express what we do not likeTo respect our partner's dislikesTime required: 30 mins.Materials: Paper and pencilHandoutsProcess: Introduction: The leader states objectives of the exercise.Demonstration: The leader goes through the list of items on the "DirtyFighting List" of a handout giving examples for eachcategory.Activity: The couple goes through a handout of "Dirty FightingList" item by item identifying whether and how each itemapplies to each individual. One partner is to write itdown. The couple is to add their own items not coveredby the list. The partners are asked to be specific.For example, in the category of "Name Calling" eachpartner is to list specific names s/he does not wish tobe called, such as "cute."It is suggested that the couple place their listsomewhere where it could be seen, like putting it on thefridge. They are to pay attention to their list bydoing the following:1. When the agreement is broken by your partnerjust remind her/him immediately,2. During the next week, discuss the list at theend of each day,3. Modify list if necessary,4. Start each day fresh, do not bring up the past,5. Apologize if you broke a rule of "The DirtyFighting List" but do not defend yourself orblame someone else; just be responsible foryourself.Debrief: Debrief in a large group.1264. BONDING Objectives: To experience bonding with your partnerTo appreciate the power of the sensation of touchingTime required: 20 mins.Materials: Meditative musicGhetto blasterProcess: Introduction: The leader introduces the exercise.Activity: One partner is to remain seated while the other standsbehind and places her/his hands on the partner'sshoulders. The partners who are standing are to touchthe others' shoulders, beginning with the fingertips,continuing with the palms of their hands and then usingtheir whole hands. The hand movement is to proceed in acalm fashion. The partners who are sitting down are toget in touch with their feelings and if they experienceany discomfort, they are to locate where in their bodythey feel the discomfort. The feelings, characteristicof one's history of bonding, might surface. Music isplayed while the leader gently instructs the couples.Partners are to switch places and repeat the exercise.Debriefing: The dyads debrief the exercise stating their feelings ineach role.The large group debriefs the exercise.5. RELATIONSHIP VISION Objectives: To define, on an individual basis, what you want in yourrelationshipTo prioritize the importance of your wantsTo realize the potential in your relationshipTo realize and appreciate the differences of yourpartnerTime required: 1 hr. 30 mins.Materials: Paper and pencilOverheadsHandouts127Process: Introduction: The leader states the objectives and indicates that thisexercise is accomplished in two steps, namely:"Planning Board" and "Our Relationship Vision."Activity: (1) PLANNING BOARD a) Each participant is given two sheets of paper. Theyare instructed to fold these together twice lengthwiseand twice across. As a result, each sheet is dividedinto sixteen parts. These parts are to be numbered 1 to16 on one of the sheets (that becomes a planning board)starting with the left upper corner as 1 and moving tothe right for each of four lines. The other sheet is tobe torn up into 16 pieces without numbering them.b) The following four statements are to be written (eachon one of the sixteen individual small pieces of paper):We are financially secureWe have satisfying sexWe are sexually faithfulWe share in important decisionsc) The participants are asked to place each piece ofpaper on the planning board according to eachstatement's importance with 1 being the most importantspace and 16 being the least important space on theplanning board. The participants are informed that theplacement of these statements on the planning board istemporary and they will be able to rearrange the orderat a later point.d) Four more statements are to be written again, each onone piece of paper, and placed on the planning board inorder of importance. The previously placed statementscan now be rearranged to accommodate this new input.We have childrenWe work well together as parentsWe openly communicate feelings, thoughts anddesiresWe have common hobbiese) Again, four more statements are to be written andplaced on the planning board. Again, previously placedstatements can be rearranged to accommodate this newinput.We feel safe with each other128We both have satisfying careersWe share equally in houseworkWe share common religious/spiritual beliefsf) At this point, there are four empty spots left on theplanning board. Each participant is to add four oftheir own relationship vision statements to the boardbearing in mind that any previous statements can berearranged again.g) Looking at the planning board, the participants areto check the relationship statements by replacing theones that do not apply to them with their own newstatements and by finalizing the order of importance.Then they are asked to write the corresponding numbersof importance on the individual pieces of paper.Debriefing: Each partner of the spousal dyad is to readtheir relationship vision statements list, state theirrationale for their order of importance, elaborate ondilemmas involved in deciding on the order and explaintheir own additions to the planning board. While onepartner presents her/his relationship vision, the otherpartner is to just listen without interruptions orcomments. Any comments are to be expressed after thepartner has finished her/his presentation. Then theother partner presents her/his vision in the samefashion. The goal is to hear each other out; thepartners are to refrain from negotiating or persuadingeach other.(2) OUR RELATIONSHIP VISIONa) One partner copies the relationship vision statementsfrom the planning board onto a separate sheet of paperlabeled "Our Relationship Vision."b) The items are to be divided into four categoriesaccording to their descending order of importancestarting with category "1" for items 1 to 4, continuingwith category "2" for 5 to 8, category "3" for 9 to 12and ending with category "4" for the items 13 to 16.The category of each item is to be written to the leftof the statements and the partner's name is to bewritten above this column.c) Other partner's corresponding category numbers are tobe added on the right hand side of the relationshipstatements and her/his name is to be written above this129column. Partner's own additions are to be added at theend of the list.d) The items that are not on either partner's list areleft blank.e) The partners are to examine these items that have nonumerical value (i.e. each partner's own additions).f) If the item is agreeable to the partner, s/he is toassign his/her category number "1" to "4" to it as itcorresponds to his own priorities of importance for thatitem.g) If the item is not agreeable, the partner is to crossit out from the list. These are to be negotiated lateron during the program.h) The couple is to negotiate importance of the items byplacing them into four categories of importance startingwith "1" for most important items and ending with "4"for least important items. Then, the couple is torewrite the "Relationship Vision" according to theiragreed upon order of importance.i) The couple is to read the final draft of "OurRelationship Vision" together out loud.The couple is advised to make on-going changes in their"Relationship Vision" in the future.Debriefing: The couple is to discuss their Relationship Visionnoticing which items they differ least on, which itemsthey differ most on and acknowledging any surprises.The partners are to avoid any negotiation of the crossedout items, for now. These will be dealt with later in aproblem solution session.Homework: The couple is to read their "Relationship Vision" daily,for the next week.6. CARING DAYS Objectives: To rekindle passion and attraction in each otherTo express our desiresLearn to say no and learn to accept partner's noLearn to enjoy having one's needs and wishes metTime required: 20 mins.Materials: OverheadHandout130Process: The leader states objectives of this reromanticizingexercise.Demonstration: The leader reads an example list of pleasers.Activity: Each partner is asked to make a list of "Pleasers" bycompleting the following sentence: "I feel loved andcared for when you... .". First, each spouse is to listpleasers that the partner is already doing with someregularity. Next, the partners are to recall theromantic stage of relationship and list any caring andloving behaviors that the partner used to do for themthat they are no longer doing. Last, the partners areto list loving and caring behaviors that they alwayswanted but never asked for. These may come from theirvision of an ideal mate or from prior experiences. Theymay include private fantasies and secret wishes. Thepleasers should not, however, refer to activities thatare presently a source of a conflict in the couples'relationship.Partners exchange their lists and examine them. Theyput an "X" by any item that they are not willing to doat this time. They do not need to explain or justifywhy they say no. Likewise, the partner is not toinfluence or try to persuade the other to give certainpleaser. Requested pleasers that are not feasible orare too costly should also be deleted from the list.Partners are to frequently add new pleasers to theirlist.Dyads then contract for one or more "Caring Days" perweek by selecting a convenient day(s) during a week forthis event. It is easier to keep the same day(s) everyweek but the partners can pick different days to suittheir schedule. Nevertheless, the "Caring Days" shouldbe chosen in advance. The dyad is to have "CaringDay(s)" at least once a week for the next eight weeks.Caring Days should be outstanding events whenever theyoccur; days of a symbol of dyad's love and caring foreach other like a Valentine's Day. When Caring Dayarrives, each partner is to strive to give the other asmany pleasers as possible, whether or not any pleaserscome back in exchange. They are also to take notice ofany pleasers they might receive. At the end of the day,the partners can praise each other for their efforts and131let each other know what they enjoyed. However, theyshould not get caught up in competition or resentmentsif unequal exchange occurs. Each partner isresponsible for her/his part only. Caring behaviors aregifts, not obligations.At times, it is possible to experience some resistancewith this kind of exercise. Regardless, the partnersare encouraged to continue with the exercise as it willbecome rewarding with practice of giving and receivingpleasers. Some of us, have learned as children that itwas safer to believe we were undeserving of receivingpleasures rather than to believe that our parents wereincapable of meeting our needs for love and care. Thus,some of us gradually developed a built-in-prohibitionagainst pleasure. Subsequently, the caring and lovingbehaviors can evoke in us the feelings of unworthiness,guilt, and even pain as an association with thecritical, punishing way we might have received love aschildren. Thus, we need to relearn not only how to givebut also how to receive love, care and nurturing in asafe deserving way.Debriefing: Dyads share their experiences of the session in thelarge group.132SESSION THREE1. DAILY LOG REVIEW General discussion of daily log events takes place.2. SURPRISE DAYS Objectives: To rekindle passion and attraction in each otherLearn to enjoy to have one's needs and wishes metLearn to accept pleasurable experienceTime required: 5 mins.Materials: NoneProcess: Introduction: The couples are asked to discuss the previous week'shomework: Dirty Fighting List and Caring Days.Activity: The leader instructs the couples to have a "SurpriseDays" in addition to the "Caring Days" within theduration of the workshop. "Surprise Days" involvegiving and receiving additional pleasers on a randombasis as a surprise.3. OPEN VERSUS CLOSED FAMILY SYSTEM Objectives: To understand the theory of open versus closedcommunicationTo explore one's family of origin communication patternTo understand partner's family of origin communicationpatternTo appreciate differences in your partner'scommunication styleTo develop more open style of communicationTime required: 10 mins.Materials: Overheads of the Circumplex Model of CommunicationHandoutsActivity: The leader explains the linkage between open and closedfamily systems and communication styles as follows:"It is generally accepted that a lack of effectivecommunication skills is at the root of many relationship133problems. We learned our basic communication style inour family of origin. By modelling and by adapting tothe family of origin dynamic, we developed our own styleof communication in order to belong and keep ourselvessafe from rejection. Here, we can make an analogy fromthe family life to an iceberg: Only 10% of an icebergis visible and 90% of it is hidden below the oceanlevel. Likewise, most people are only aware of aboutone-tenth of what is going on in their family life--thetenth that they can see and hear. Not knowing what isunderneath this limited awareness can, at times, set thefamily on a dangerous course. Just as a sailor's fatedepends on the knowledge of the bulk of the icebergunder the water, so does a family's fate depends onunderstanding the thoughts, feelings and needs that liebeneath everyday family events. In order to achievesuch understanding, the family needs to function as anopen system with full freedom of one's expression, asopposed to a closed system."4. FOUR INEFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION STYLES Objectives: To experience the four universal ineffectivecommunication stylesTo be able to identify one's own style of communicationTime required: 30 mins.Materials: OverheadsHandoutsIndex cards with scenarios and communication stylesReference: Satir (1988)Process: Introduction: The leader explains that within the closed familysystem, family members cannot be accepted for beinguniquely themselves. Subsequently, in order to protectself from the threat of rejection, family membersdevelop the following four universal ineffectivepatterns of communication: placating, blaming,computing and distracting.Demonstration: The leader explains each of the four communicationstyles and demonstrated each style with the help of thebody language.134Activity: The couples are divided into small groups of four. Theindividual members assume family roles of mom and/or dadand children. Each member of a small group is given anindex card specifying her/his communication style and ascenario that his family group is to act out. While thesmall groups are acting out their scenarios, thecommunication style of each member is not known to therest of the group.Debrief: The family group members reveal their communicationstyle and discuss their experience.In conclusion, the large group reassembles andindividual small family groups share their experience.5. COMMUNICATION SKILLS Introduction: The leader explains that the most common problems incommunication occur due to misunderstanding when theintended message is either not fully expressed by thespeaker or misunderstood by the listener. Thus, therole of a listener is equally important to the role of aspeaker. The goal of effective communication is notagreement, but understanding. The leader furtheroutlines listening skills, such as attending, feedbackand tracking, as well as self-disclosure skills, forexample, I statements and the use of I sense, I think, Ifeel and I want statements.(1) MIRRORINGObjectives: To observe and duplicate non-verbal behaviorTo parrot verbal statement back to the speakerTo notice incongruence between verbal and body languageTime requirement: 20 mins.Materials: Sample list of clichesReference: Schwab, Baldwin, Gerber, Gomori & Satir (1989)Process: Introduction and demonstration: The facilitator introduces and demonstrates the exercisewith a volunteer from the group.Activity: The large group divides into small groups of four to sixparticipants. One dyad in a small group sits facing135each other. One partner quotes a short cliche (providedby the leader) and the other partner is to watch andlisten closely. Then the listener is to parrot thestatement back as well as mimic the exact tone,gestures, timing, body position and expression. Theobserving couples decide whether there was a match ornot, by calling: "Match,"or "No match." If there was"No match," the speaker and listener repeats the samecliche until they will get a "Match" call from the smallgroup. When there was a match the speaker continueswith two more statements. Then the partners of the dyadswitch roles of the listener and the speaker. When thedyad successfully mirrored three statements each, othercouples within the group take their turns.Debriefing: Small groups debrief their experience.(2) "DO YOU MEAN...?" Objectives: To give feedback by parroting, paraphrase and empathyTo develop understanding of possible meaning of thestatementTime required: 20 mins.Materials: Sample list of short statementsReference: Schwab et.al . (1989)Process: Introduction and demonstration: The facilitator introduces the exercise and demonstratesseveral examples with a volunteer.Activity: The large group divides into small groups of four to sixparticipants. One partner of each dyad, the speaker,makes a short statement about something s/he believes tobe true (a sample of short statements is provided by theleader). The other partner, the listener, responds tothis statement by trying to understand the possiblemeaning of the statement by beginning each question withthe words "Do you mean..." and following it by her/hisown perception of what the speaker might have meant.The speaker is restricted to the three answers: "Yes,""No," and "Partially." If, after a number of attempts,the listener is having difficulty getting three yesreplies, he or she asks the speaker for another versionof the statement and then tries again. The observing136members of the small group can, at such point, assistthe listener to get the meaning of the statement. Thespeaker of this dyad provides two more statements,making it a total of three. Then the dyad exchanges thespeaker and the listener roles. Other dyads of thesmall group take their turns at this exercise.Debriefing: (a) The small group debriefs the exercise.(b) In the large group, a spokesperson of each groupshares their experience and observations with"Mirroring" and "Do you mean...?" exercises.(3) SELF-DISCLOSURE Objectives: To practice speaker and listener rolesTo practice self-disclosureTo learn the use of "I" statementsTo fully express one's messagesTo identify ones thoughts, feelings and wantsTo practice listening by attending, providing feedbackand trackingTime required: 60 mins.Materials: OverheadsHandoutsa) HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIOS Process: Introduction & Demonstration: The leader states guidelines of self-disclosure,presents a list of hypothetical scenarios anddemonstrates the skills of self-disclosure and listeningwith a volunteer.Activity: In small groups, each partner of a dyad practices self-disclosure and listening skills using one of thehypothetical scenarios and reverses roles afterwards.Other couples serve as observers and check theperforming couple for the correct use of the skills andgive feedback.b) PERSONAL ISSUES Process: Activity: In small groups, each partner of a dyad practices self-137disclosure and listening skills using one example fromcouples serve as observers and check the performingcouple for the correct use of the skills and givefeedback.Debriefing: Small groups share their experiences in the large group.6. GAZING Objectives: To rekindle the romanceTo give each other positive feedbackTime required: 5. mins.Materials: NoneProcess: Activity: The couple is to gaze in each other eyes and tell eachother what attracts them to each other at this point intheir relationship.138SESSION FOUR1. DAILY LOG REVIEWGeneral discussion of daily log events takes place.2. FUN LIST Objectives: To intensify couples' emotional bondTo deepen one's feelings of safety and pleasureTo become more spontaneousTo give oneself permission to have innocent funTime required: 15 mins.Materials: Pen and paperProcess: Introduction: The couples are asked to discuss with their partner thecouple's experience of "Caring Days," "Surprise Days"and "Dirty Fighting List."Activity: Each partner makes a list of fun and exciting activitiesthey would like to do with their partner. These shouldinclude face-to-face experiences and any pleasurablephysical contact activities such as, playing tennis,bicycling, movies, sex, teater-toter etc. Partnersshare their lists. They are to pick at least oneactivity from their list each week to do.The leader warns the couples that they may experiencesome resistance to taking part in such exuberant, attimes, childlike activities, especially if they have ahigh degree of conflict in their relationship. However,it is important to do this exercise even if it meansgoing against one's own resistance and experiment with abrief return to childhood spontaneous experiences.3. ADJECTIVE CHECKLIST Objectives: To disclose a view of oneselfTo express a view of a partnerTo receive feedback on a partners' view of their spousesTo compare differences between one's own view of selfand how one is viewed by one's spouse139Time required: 20 mins.Materials: Adjective checklist handoutProcess: Activity: Each partner of a dyad is given an adjective checklistand is to circle 10 adjectives that they think are mostdescriptive of themselves. Then the partners placecheck marks beside the adjectives that they believe bestdescribe their partner.Debriefing: Partners take turns disclosing their view of themselvesand compare it to their partner's perception of them.4. LISTENING HABITS Objectives: To express a view of one's own listening habitsTo express a view of a partner's listening habitsTo receive and give feedback on listening habitsTime required: 20 mins.Materials: HandoutProcess: Activity: Participants mark items on a listening habits handouttwice: first, with an "X" for own habit; next, with an"0" for partner's habit.Debriefing: One partner of a dyad shares her/his responses about ownlistening habits and receives feedback from partner'sperception of her/his listening skills.5. COMMUNICATION PATTERNS Objectives: To review communication patterns learned in one's familyof originTo explore communication patterns of a partner'schildhoodTo explore similarities and differences in communicationpatterns of a spouse's family of originTo review how one's communication patterns of one'sfamily of origin differ to one's spousal communicationpatterns140Time required: 20 mins.Materials: HandoutProcess: Activity: Participants fill out "Communication Patterns"questionnaires.Debriefing: Partners share answers to the communicationquestionnaire and elaborate on how communicationpatterns of their family of origin reflect on theircommunication style in their present relationship.6. BEING YOUR OWN PERSONObjectives: To explore the process of differentiation in the familyof originTo explore the process of differentiation in one'spresent familyTo identify facilitating forces of togetherness andseparatenessTime required: 25 mins.Materials: HandoutsProcess: Activity: Participants fill out "Being Your Own Person"questionnaires.Debriefing: Partners share answers to the questionnaire.7. COMMUNICATION SKILLS REVIEW Objectives: To review and practice speaker and listener skillsTo practice the skills with personal issuesTime required: 60 mins.Materials: OverheadProcess: Introduction and demonstration: The leader reviews and demonstrates self-disclosure andlistening skills with a volunteer.141Activity: In small groups, partners of dyads take turns practicingself-disclosure and listening skills using examples fromtheir own life. Other couples serve as observers andcheck the performing couple for the correct use of theskills.Debriefing: Small groups share their experiences in a large group142LESSON FIVE1. DAILY LOG REVIEW General discussion of daily log events takes place.2. YOUNG GIRL/OLD LADY Objectives: To demonstrate how two people with different frames ofreference can perceive the same event in two differentwaysTime required: 15 mins.Materials: Three variations of the picture of "Young Girl/Old Lady"OverheadsProcess: Activity: Divide the participants into same sex groups. Show apicture of a young girl to one group and a picture of anold lady to the other group. Then ask them to discuss adescription of the person in the picture, including suchcharacteristics as sex, clothing, hair style, and age.Then reunite spouses and show them a third picture, acomposite of young and old woman. Ask the dyads todescribe the person in the picture to each other,including such characteristics as sex, clothing,hairstyle, and age.Debriefing: A discussion in the large group addresses followingquestions:1. "Did the spouses see the third picture the sameway?"2. "Once you have perceived the picture one way,was it difficult to see it in another way?"3. "Do you think that previous experiences set up aframe of reference we rely upon in making senseout of our present and future experiences?"3. INTERPERSONAL PATTERNS Objectives: To identify interpersonal patterns in interactions withothersTime requested: 30 mins.143Materials: Handouts on Interpersonal PatternsOverheadsProcess: (1) INTERPERSONAL PATTERNS Activity: The participants are to identify five verbs out of thelist of twenty that best describe their behavior ininteraction with others.(2) STYLES OF RESOLVING INTERPERSONAL CONFLICTS Activity: The participants are to rate, on the scale of 1 to 5,how typical are each of the 35 proverbs on the"Interpersonal Patterns" handout in their style ofconflict resolution.Then the participants add scores according to thesupplied key. Each category corresponds to the one offive conflict resolution styles.Debriefing: The leader explains each style of conflict resolution.The participants are to compare the results of the"Interpersonal Patterns" descriptors and assigned styleof conflict resolution category to their perception oftheir style of conflict resolution and discuss it withtheir partner.The large group debriefs how individual results ofquestionnaires on conflict styles correspond to theirimage of their style of conflict resolution.4. CONFLICT  RESOLUTIONObi ectives : To outline and practiceresolution modelTo demonstrate thestrategyTo widen theTo eliminateresolutionTime required: 60 mins.Materials: HandoutsOverheadsfive stages of conflict"win/win" conflict resolutionscope of possible resolutions strategiesstuckness in the process of conflict144Process: Introduction: The leader introduces the importance of effectiveconflict resolution: "On the one hand, one of ournatural life forces is pulling us toward separateness tobecome the unique person we were meant to be and, on theother hand, the other natural life force is pushing ustowards togetherness in relationships with others. Weengage in relationships because we have goals we wishto pursue that require the participation of otherpeople.Personal relationships are profoundly cooperative inthat they are built on shared goals and jointactivities. Relationships start with an initiative thatbegins a cycle of social interaction that includesperceiving what the other person is doing, deciding howto respond, taking action, and then perceiving the otherperson's response. When both persons are involved inthe cycle, they spontaneously coordinate their behaviorto build a relationship. This repetitious cycle of acouple is influenced by their goals, roles, moods, thephysical setting, the nature of the occasion, relevantsocial rules, the feedback they receive from others andthe personal interaction style they learned in theirfamily of origin.We can conclude that relationships are a necessity, nota luxury. They are the key to our cognitive and socialdevelopment, to forming an identity, to achieving careersuccess, to finding a meaning to our lives, tomaintaining our physical and psychological health, tocoping with adversity and stress, to actualizing ourpotential and to ensuring human procreation by creatinga family to launch the next generations. Forming andmaintaining relationships, however, is not easy. Ourinteractions are constantly changing our relationships.The differences in our needs and desires lead toconflicts. Yelling, pouting, arguing or withdrawing canbe some of the signs of frustrated unmet needs anddesires. The two basic inefficient ways to resolveconflicts are silence and ventilations. Persistence ofunresolved conflicts is the major cause of maritalbreakup. Thus investing energy into conflict resolutionis a vital requisite of lasting relationshipsatisfaction."145The leader further introduces the five stages of theconflict resolution model, namely:^Confrontation,Problem Identification, Brainstorming Solutions,Contracting Solution and Evaluating Solution.Demonstration: Leader demonstrates the use of the five step model witha volunteer.Activity: (1) HYPOTHETICAL CONFLICTS In groups of four, the dyads practice hypotheticalsituations (examples of which are provided by theleader) and receive feedback and coaching from observingcouple.(2) OWN CONFLICT ISSUES In groups of four, the dyads are to work on their ownissue using the five stage model of conflict resolutionand receive feedback and coaching from observing couple.The most common areas of conflict that many couplesexperience are outlined to help the couples to chosetheir personal conflict: Communication, Children, Sex,Money, Leisure, Relatives and Household Tasks.Debriefing: Groups of four debrief their experiences.At last, the small groups share their experiences withthe large group.5. DIPLOMATIC CORRECTION Objectives: To give criticism in a non-blaming wayTo make requests in a diplomatic wayTime required: 10 mins.Materials: HandoutOverheadProcess: Introduction and Demonstration: The leader explains the ten-step process of diplomaticcorrection as an effective way of giving criticism.Next, the leader demonstrates how to use this model.1466. RECEIVING CRITICISM Objectives: To receive criticism without a need to defend oneselfTo deal with authorityTo learn self-criticismTime required: 15 mins.Materials: HandoutOverheadProcess: Introduction and Demonstration: The leader explains various approaches to criticism,such as reflective listening, negative assertion,fogging, negative inquiry and later trial date. Then,the leader demonstrates each skill.7. HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIOS Objectives: To practice giving and receiving criticismTime required: 30 mins.Materials: Overhead of scenariosProcess: Activity: The leader gives each couple an opportunity to practiceskills of giving and receiving criticism in smallgroups. The observing couples(s) give feedback to thecouple who is practicing.Debriefing: The experience of the small group process is shared inthe large group.147SESSION SIX1. DAILY LOG REVIEWGeneral discussion of daily log events takes place.2. REVIEW Time required: 15 mins.Process: The couples shares their experience of Caring Days,Surprise Days, Fun List and Dirty Fighting List.3. GETTING THE LOVE YOU WANT Objectives: To educate participants about the difference betweenconscious versus unconscious relationship rules andgoalsTo become conscious of one's choicesTo recognize the potential for personal as well asrelationship growthTo facilitate greater differentiation from one's familyof originTo build interdependent autonomy in one's relationshipTime required: 15 mins.Materials: OverheadsHandoutsReference: Hendrix (1990)Process: The leader explains the difference between unconsciousand conscious marriage:"Most people believe that the only way to have a goodrelationship is to be lucky enough to meet the rightpartner. But, in fact, the only way to have a goodrelationship is to became the right partner. Thus goodrelationship is a matter of choice, not luck."(1) RULES, GOALS AND MYTH OF UNCONSCIOUS MARRIAGE The leader explains Hendix's concept of "IMAGO:""According to Hendrix, the 'Ideal Mate,' named as'IMAGO,' of a so called unconscious marriage is someone:(1) who resembles our primary caretakers inpositive but especially in negative traits;148(2) who compensates for the repressed parts ofourselves.Most of human behavior is guided by unconscious rules ofour old reptilian brain. The reptilian brain holds thememory of our childhood and tries to recreate ourchildhood environment with two goals:(1) in hopes of healing old childhood wounds byrecreating some often painful themes;(2) in an attempt to make us whole by merging witha person who has certain characteristics wehave denied in us.After the initial honeymoon stage of a marriage, thedifferences of partners resurface and conflict andanxiety arises. Subsequently, the long-anticipatedhealing of childhood wounds that partners hoped tounconsciously accomplish in their relationship is nottaking place. On the contrary, as partners realize thattheir relationship reinjured their childhood wounds,they feel betrayed. To achieve fulfillment andhappiness in our intimate relationship, we need to healour childhood wounds and reclaim the disowned parts ofour lost selves. In doing so, we begin our life'sjourney of celebration of self as well as ourrelationship. The next three sessions of the programwill address and offer healing in both of these areas."(2) LAW OF FIXED ENERGY The leader explains the law of fixed energy as proposedby Bowen:"A healthy relationship has a balance between the amountof energy invested into togetherness and the amount ofenergy consumed by the individual life force. Thisbalance is not static but it is in a dynamic state ofequilibrium. There is a fixed amount of energyavailable for the two life forces: togetherness andseparateness. Subsequently, if most of energy is boundby togetherness, there is not enough energy left forseparateness. In such situations, partners anxiouslyreact to each other's thoughts, feelings, wants andactions.In a relationship, each person invests the same amountof energy into togetherness. Therefore, we attractpeople with the same level of differentiation but withopposite defense mechanisms such as, introvert/extravert149or dependent/dominant. The level of differentiationcarries over generations. Subsequently, the parentallevel of differentiation determines their children'slevel of differentiation (though not all childrenacquire the same level of differentiation as some mightbe more emotionally enmeshed with their parents and somemight be more free to have more autonomy). In lessdifferentiated families we discard some aspects of selfthat we were not allowed to express as children. Thelost parts of self predispose us to unconsciously searchfor a partner who display these openly. Thus, theopposites attract not from the stand point of choosing,but rather from the stand point of needing. We need theother person to bring out in us the denied parts ofself.In the first stage of a relationship, the two incompletepeople fuse and temporarily relieve the anxiety offunctioning on their own as incomplete people. But whenthe differences surface, the fused couple cannot copeand both feel a sense of betrayal and reinjury of thechildhood wounds.^Subsequent conflict, anxiety,blaming, and criticism leads to unhappiness.^Thesolution lies in becoming more aware and in investingenergy into the process of differentiation. A moredifferentiated person will experience less powerstruggle and more autonomy and has a potential ofcreating a deeply satisfying relationship."4. DRAW A PICTURE OF YOUR FAMILY OF ORIGIN Objectives: To get in touch with family of origin membersTo expose clues to the rules we live byTo get in touch with feelings associated with our life'srelational themeTime required: 30 mins.Materials: OverheadPen and paperProcess: Activity: The leader asks the participants to draw a picture oftheir family of origin and include all the people theygrew up with regardless of whether they lived in severalfamilies. In case of adoption, the participants are toinclude an image of their biological parents they had as150children as well as their adopted family. The focus ison people in the earlier developmental years.Debrief: In small groups of six, the participants introduce theirfamily of origin to the group. When all the members ofthe small group have finished with the introductions,they give each other feedback by commenting on thefollowing aspects of other's drawings: sizes offigures, placement on the paper, detail, body parts,similarities/differences of the self figure, interactionof figures and perceived emotions of the figures.5. EARLY CHILDHOOD RECOLLECTIONS: GUIDED FANTASY Objectives: To refresh participants' memory of their caretakersTo aid childhood recollectionsTo assist in construction of "Imago" exerciseTime required: 30 mins.Materials: Inner Child meditation tapeGuided Meditation of Parental FiguresReferences: Bradshaw (1990)Process: Introduction: The leader introduces guided meditation as follows:"Doing guided meditation, will involve guided ageregression. If you have religious or any otherreservations against the meditative process, you mightbe relieved to know there is nothing which will conflictwith any religious beliefs in this exercise. We go inand out of a trance-like-state several times a daythrough spontaneous subconscious age regression wheneverwe get in touch with the unhealed childhood wound. So,there is nothing I'll ask you to do you're not doingalready, except this time, you'll be consciously incharge of the experience. Remember, that you can stopat any time when you're feeling uncomfortable oroverwhelmed in the middle of the meditation. You canthen open your eyes, detach yourself from the feelingsor even leave the room.This exercise sometimes evokes strong feelings forpeople. If you are on medication, have a history ofmental illness or if you are the survivor of anuntreated physical/sexual abuse, it might be advisable151not to participate in this meditation. You can justremain seated and follow the meditation on a cognitivelevel only by listening to the words with your eyesopen. Be gentle with yourself. Remember, you are incharge of the process.Activity: The facilitator leads the guided fantasy of meetingparental or primary caretakers figures to the backgroundof Inner Child meditative music.Debriefing: Partners share their experience with their spouses.6. IMAGOObjectives: To record positive and negative character traits ofone's mother and father (or parental figures) and anyother people who had a strong influence in our childhoodTime required: 10 mins.Materials: OverheadsHandoutsReference: Hendrix (1990)Process: Activity: Participants are given "Imago" exercise sheets and askedto write negative traits of their childhood keycaretaker as well as any other influential people on thebottom half and positive characteristics on the upperhalf of the circle. The participants are to lump allthese traits together without identifying who theybelong to. Then, participants are to complete sentenceson the bottom of the sheet (see Hendrix, 1990).7. PARTNERS PROFILE Objectives: To identify characteristics we like and dislike aboutour partnerTime required: 10 mins.Materials: OverheadHandout152Reference: Hendrix (1990)Process: Introduction: The leader instructs the couples to do this exerciseindividually and not to share this information withtheir partner.Activity: On the top half of Partner's Profile sheet, theparticipants are to write positive traits of theirpartner and on the bottom half, the negative traits oftheir partner. They underline both positive andnegative traits that effect them most. They are then tocomplete the sentences on the bottom of the sheet.8. UNFINISHED BUSINESS Objectives: To compare partner's traits with ImagoTo uncover areas of unfinished businessTo identify sources of frustrations and underlying needsTime required: 30 mins.Materials: Imago handoutReferences: Hendrix (1990)Process: Introduction: The leader urges the partners not to share thisinformation with their spouses. The couples areinformed that revealing the negative characteristicscould be hurtful to their partner. However, thenegative characteristics will be used in the Stretchingexercise, next week. This will be a constructive way ofletting one's partner know what is causing frustrationsfor each spouse.Activity: The participants compare positive and negative traits ofthe Imago and Partner's Profile and circle traits thatare similar. They then compare the sentence completionand the circled traits. Any circled and possiblyunderlined negative traits could be areas of unfinishedbusiness from childhood. The leader assists individualswith identifying the nature of their unfinishedbusiness.153Debriefing: The spouses share their findings with another unrelatedgroup member, not with their partner.The large group debriefs this exercise and theirexperience in this session.The leader collects the Imago handouts as they will bedistributed during the next week's session.9. LOVE LETTER Objectives: To rekindle the relationshipTo show appreciation for your partnerTime required: 20 mins.Materials: Pen and paperProcess: Activity: The partners are to write a love letter to each otherand then read the letters out loud to their spouse.154SESSION SEVEN1. DAILY LOG REVIEWGeneral discussion of daily log events takes place.2. STRETCHING Objectives: To became aware of one's deepest needsTo disclose one's deepest needs to a partnerTo stretch ourselves in order to change and adjust ourown behavior to meet one's partner's needsTime Required: 40 mins.Materials: HandoutOverheadImago handoutsReference: Hendrix 1990Process: Introduction and Demonstration: The leader explains that the persistence of frustrationsresults in on-going conflict. If such conflict persistsover a long period of time, it leads to arguments,emotional distance or it forces a spouse to seek thesatisfaction of his or her needs by outside sources. Insome instances, on-going frustrations can lead to aneventual relationship break up. Therefore, it is veryimportant for each spouse to express his or herfrustrations as well as their underlying desires and tohave these understood and accommodated, to some degree,by one's partner. Partners of each dyad split up andpair up with another member of the group.Activity: (1) LIST FRUSTRATIONS The participants are asked to individually identify whatfrustrates them about their partner when they feelangry, annoyed, afraid, suspicious, resentful, hurt orbitter in the relationship by completing the followingsentence: "I don't like it when you.... ." Theparticipants are given their Imago exercise sheets fromthe previous week to help them connect their partner'snegative characteristics with their own frustrations.This list is not to be shared with their spouses.155(2) IDENTIFY FEELINGS Next, the participants are to identify their feelingsfor each frustration. Members of the pairs help eachother to identify the underlying feelings in eachfrustration. Handouts of examples also assistparticipants with this task.(3) HIDDEN DESIRES Now, participants are to identify their hidden desire ineach frustration. This is usually an antonym of theunderlying feeling in the frustration. Participants areto further identify the desires that are most importantto them by putting "*" (astride) next to them. Again,members of the pairs help each other and use theirhandouts as a resource.(4) MAKING REQUESTS a) Finally, the participants are to write down aspecific request for each desire that would be helpfulfor satisfying that desire. It is important that theserequests are non-blaming, positive and specific "I"requests. The participants fill in the "REQUESTS"handout by completing the blanks of the followingsentence:"When you ^, I feel ^ because ^ and I wouldlike you to ^ so I can feel ^ ."The participants identify by "*" their most pressingrequests.b) At this point, the participants pair up with theirspouses and read their request lists to their partners.They also clarify any questions or misunderstandings.c) Then they exchange the lists with their partner andcommit to fulfilling one to two (or more) requests oftheir partners list every week.d) Partners are to add new requests to the list as theycome up.e) The participants are reminded that these requests aregifts, not obligations. As unconditional gifts, theyare given for the sake of giving without havingexpectations in return.Debriefing: The large group debriefs the exercise.1563. Meditation Objectives: To prepare participants for the Pre-natal InventoryexerciseTo sensitize participants to the experience of being anunborn babyTo stimulate memories of familial and socialcircumstances of one's birthTime required: 10 mins.Materials: Ghetto blasterMeditation tapeReference: Bradshaw, 1989Process: A guided meditation of Bradshaw's tape is played. Thismeditation is done to the music and the sound of aheartbeat of a mother, as a fetus hears it.4. PRE-NATAL INVENTORY Objectives: To examine one's belief about once being a newborn childTo explore how family stories about one's infancyinfluenced one's lifeTo explore how parental, familial, social, political,economical or any other context influenced one's infancyTo gain insight into how our infancy story influencedour later lifeTo break free from any negative influence of our infancystoryTime required: 25 mins.Materials: Pen and paperOverheadsProcess: Introduction: The leader invites the group to divide into small groupsof four by joining with another couple. Theparticipants are instructed to write a pre-natalinventory by imagining what it was like before they wereborn. They are to construct this story from stories andmemories from their childhood, from stories of theirparents or other family members or friends, from eventsthey believe that happened and from any parental,157familial, social, political or economical influences ofthe times. These could address issues, such as:"Were you a planned child and did that influence yourparents' attitude towards you in any way?" or "Was itokay to be a girl/boy?" or "How did your mom's sicknessafter your birth and your dad's unemployment influenceyour infancy?"As a story, this inventory is to explain what led up toone's birth, what happened and what followed after ababy was born.Activity: When the participants complete their pre-natalinventory, they are to think about their portrayal ofthemselves as an infant in the story and complete thefollowing statements:1. "I am ^ ."2. "Life is ^ ."3. Title your inventory "^ ."Debriefing: Participants read and debrief their inventory in smallgroups of four. They likewise comment on theirexperience with the pre-natal meditation.5. A BIRTH OF A MAGICAL CHILDObi ectives : To reexperience one's birth in a positive wayTo be welcomed to the world and reaffirmed as a valuablebeingTo breed self-love by loving one's Inner Child as a partof selfTo educate the participants about the TransactionalAnalysis' concept of the three parts of selfTo heal unfinished business with our family of originissuesTime required: 35 mins.Materials: OverheadMeditative tapeGhetto blasterReference: Capacchione, 1991Process: Introduction: The leader explains the concept of the "Inner Child" byproviding answers to the following four questions:1. "Who is the Inner Child?"1582. "Why is it trapped inside of us?"3. "What does it have to offer?"4. "How can it be liberated?"1. "The concept of the Inner Child is not new. It hasit's roots in ancient mythology and fairy tales. Inthese stories, the Child is usually abandoned andthreatened by one or both parents and is often protectedby guardians represented by natural forces. At the end,the child often becomes the saviour, the leader orbrings peace, harmony and hope. Carl Jung saw the Childas an archetype, as a universal symbol of rebirth, hopeand healing. Just like other archetypes, the Child isan integral psychological part of all humans. Thus, thesymbol of Child bridges the past with the hope of thefuture. As any other archetype, the Child also unifiesthe opposites as it combines positive and negativeaspects of human nature. Jung concluded that the Childarchetype paves the way for a future change ofpersonality.The idea of a Child as a healer, who has the capacity tomake each individual a whole person, was popularizedduring the sixties and seventies by Eric Berne whodeveloped Transactional Analysis, so called T.A.According to T.A., each individual psyche is composed ofthe three parts of Self: Parent, Adult and Child. Therole of a Parent Self is to set out rules andregulations; the role of an Adult Self is to think, makedecision and solve problems and the role of a Child Selfis to feel and react. Transactions of T.A. refer tointeractions between these different three parts ofourselves as well as to interactions of these threeparts of Self with the three parts of Others. Forexample, one's Child Self can be interacting withother's Adult Self. The knowledge of these interactionscan shed light on some of our interactions in ourrelationships.In 1980, Hal Stone and Sidra Winkelman developed anothermodel of the Inner Child: "Voice Dialogue." Accordingto this model, human psyche consists of countless sub-personalities, such as, the Child, Critic, Protector,Artist or Play-girl/boy. We need to develop an "awareego" that is to act like a director of a play thatdecides what part of our personality will be on stage atany given time. This "aware ego" allows us to give159voice to all parts of us, good and bad, and,subsequently, such an acceptance will makes us whole.2. A child is born to the world unable to provide forhis/her own needs. Unlike reptiles, who are born to theworld fully developed and capable of fending forthemselves, we humans cannot survive infancy andchildhood on our own. We need to be fed, clothed,sheltered, nurtured, protected, loved, empowered tobelieve in ourselves and feel that we belong. In orderto satisfy a child's dependency (or narcissistic needs),the parents must be very psychologically healthyindividuals whose own needs are fully met. Some expertsestimate that 95% of the population received inadequateparenting themselves. For such people their Inner Childwas wounded. Vulnerable and needy children split-offparts of themselves that were either denied or punishedby their inadequate parent. As adults, such people areoften acting from the hurt part of themselves--the Childpart. Moreover, as parents we often pass these hurts tothe next generation.3. Fritz Perls once said that the goal of life is tomove from environmental support to self-support. Thus,the goal of life is to achieve individuation to become aself-directed person with choices and limitlesspossibilities. But people with wounded Inner Child arenot whole, and, therefore, are not free to risk and seektheir happiness and fulfillment. In contrast, they arebound and limited by their past. Healing the woundedChild offers possibilities of re-birth, wholeness andfulfillment.4. The Inner Child can be liberated by reparetingourselves. First, we need to rediscover the differentaspects of our Inner Child: playful, creative,spontaneous, imaginative as well as bratty, selfish,resistant to grow up or destructive. Next we need to goback to the childhood developmental stages and use ourParent Within Us to reparent ourselves so all our needscan be met for us as children. By doing so, we give ourInner Child an active voice so we can accept it as anintegral part of us that will heal us back to health andwholeness. This process can be described by stages ofawareness, acceptance, trust and risk taking. However,such growth work needs a supportive and empoweringaudience. We provide this audience for each other inprograms like our workshop."160Activity: The leader guides the participants through a guidedmeditation to music. This medication will allow theparticipants to use their imagination to meet theirInner Child with joy and love. A series of affirmationsis being given at the end of this meditation.Debriefing: In small groups of four, the participants debrief theirexperience.6. DRAW A PICTURE Objectives: To develop a visible symbol of the Inner Child SelfTo bring the Inner Child aliveTo facilitate communication and healing with the InnerChildTime required: 10 mins.Materials: OverheadsPen and paperProcess: Activity: The participants are asked to draw a picture of theirInner Child. To assist the participants" imagination,various examples are shown.7. DIALOGUE Objectives: To give voice to the Inner Child SelfTo facilitate interaction between the Child Self andParent SelfTo explore the unmet needs of the Inner ChildTo re-parent the Inner Child by using the Parent Self tomeet the Inner Child Self's needsTo thrive for wholeness and develop the disowned partsof SelfTime required: 15 mins.Materials: OverheadsPan and paperBackground musicGhetto blaster161Process: Activity: The participants are invited to write a dialogue betweentheir Inner Child part and Adult part of Self. They areto use their non-domimant hand for writing of the InnerChild's dialogue and dominant hand for writing of theParent part. To assist them, the leader displays anexample of such dialogue.Debriefing: In small groups of four, the participants introducetheir picture of the Inner Child to others and readtheir dialogue.The large group debriefs individual's experiences.8. SENTENCE COMPLETION Objectives: To become aware of parental influences upon us aschildrenTo examine how these influences still rule usTo break free of negative parental influencesTo develop insight into our childhood as well asadulthoodTime required: 25 mins.Materials: Pan and paperProcess: Activity: The leader reads a series of sentence stems to becompleted by the participants. This sequence ofsentence stems is analogous to a storytelling aboutone's childhood. It brings insight about one's parentalinfluences and it facilitates growth.Debriefing: In small groups, each individual reads their story andcomments on it.Large group debriefs the overall experience of thatdays' session.Assignment: The participants are to think of their process ofdifferentiation and bring in a symbol, for the nextsession, that is reflective of their differentiationprocess.162SESSION EIGHT1. DAILY LOG REVIEWGeneral discussion of daily log events takes place.2. ERIKSONIAN DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES. Objectives: To educate participants about developmental stages andtheir individual developmental tasksTo identify own deficits as they relate to thedevelopmental tasksTo name losses of one's childhoodTo identify how these losses affected us as childrenTo identify how these losses still affect us as adultsTo acknowledge instances when we were not influenced bythese lossesTo identify our wisdom and resources which we use todefeat negative influences of such lossesTo heal our childhood woundsTo thrive for wholenessTo develop greater autonomyTo become free of negative childhood experiencesTime required: 60 mins.Materials: HandoutsOverheadsLife LineIndex cardsMasking tapeProcess: Introduction: The leader explains five childhood stages of theEriksonian developmental model and identifies thedevelopmental task for each: Infant (ages 0 to 18months), basic trust versus mistrust; Toddler (ages 18months to 3 years), autonomy versus shame; Preschooler(ages 3 to 6 years), initiative versus guilt; School AgeChild (ages 6 to 12 years), industry versus inferiorityand Adolescence (ages 12 to 21 years) identity versusrole confusion.Activity: The participants are asked to think back to theirchildhood and identify "Losses," hurtful events, thathappen to them at different stages. The participantsare invited to write down one to three such events (by163writing each one on a separate index card) using thefollowing format:1. Name the loss/event by describing what led up toit, what happened and what followed.2. How did you, as a child, react to the loss?3. How is the loss still affecting you today?4. Give one example/instance when you were able toresist the influence of this loss.5. What were your resources and wisdom that allowedyou to resist the negative influence of theloss.The leader provides examples of such an exercise fromher own life events. The leader draws a Life Lineoutlining the Eriksonian five childhood developmentalstages and their corresponding ages and tasks on theboard. The participants are encouraged to share theirlosses with the group and to tape their index cardscontaining the written events next to the Life Line'scorresponding stage.Debriefing: The large group debriefs the exercise. The leader showsappreciation of the participants' willingness to risksharing their experiences in front of the group.3. HOMECOMING MEDITATION Obiectives: To separate one's Self from hurtful childhoodexperiencesTo experience emotional separateness from parentalfigures and from hurtful childhood woundsTo facilitate autonomyTo assume responsibility for our own healingTo gain vision of one's preferred self-determineddestinyTime required: 20 mins.Materials: Background music tapeGhetto blasterProcess: Activity: The leader guides the group through the healingmeditative process of imagining ourselves leaving thehome of our caretakers in order to have our own life.Debriefing: The spouses debrief the exercise.The large group discusses their experiences.1644. SYMBOL OF DIFFERENTIATIONObjective:To symbolically express one's idea of differentiationTo identify the specific steps and wisdom employed inone's process of differentiationTo hypothesize about one's preferred differentiated lifestyleTo facilitate greater differentiationTo identify advantages of one's greater differentiationTo estimate one's growth on the scale of differentiationduring the course of this seminarTo create an audience as a witness to one's greaterdifferentiationTo learn from other's experiencesTo be encouraged by similarities of other's trials intheir growthTo learn from teaching othersTo identify most helpful things in one's differentiationTo acknowledge one's growthTo identify what one has learned as a result of thisseminarTime required: 20 mins.Materials: HandoutsSymbol of differentiation (an object brought byparticipants)Process: Activity: The leader asks the participants to fill in aquestionnaire on their process of differentiation.Debriefing: Each participant is invited to introduce their symbol ofdifferentiation to the large group and elaborate (usingthe handout as a guideline) on his or her process ofdifferentiation.5. CLOSING Objectives: To clarify any unfinished business, personal or grouprelatedTo give the leader feedback on content and group processTo suggest any improvements to the programTo have an opportunity to voice any concernsTo give the leader an opportunity to thank the group fortheir participation165Time requested: 20 mins.Materials: noneProcess: Each participant and the leader make closing remarks.6. AFFIRMATIONS Objective:To give each other positive feedbackTo empower each otherTo take credit for one's positive traitsTo focus on one's gainsTo appreciate positive side of othersTo elevate one's and other's self-esteemTime required: 30 mins.Materials: Index cardsPencilsProcess: Activity: The participants are given one index card each. Theyare to write their name on the top of it and pass thecard to the person on their left. Each participant isto write an affirmation or positive comment to theperson whose card they hold. Then, the cards are passedto the next person to the left. The process continuesuntil each participant receives their own card.Debriefing: Participants read their affirmations aloud in the largegroup.The participants and the leader say good bye to eachother and exchange phone numbers for future contact.APPENDIX B: CONSENT FORM166167THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAConsent FormDepartment of Counselling PsychologyFaculty of Education5780 Toronto RoadVancouver, B.C. Canada V6T 1L2Tel: (604) 822-5259Fax:(604) 822-2328I ^  consent to participate in thestudy Getting The Love You Want: The Effects of a Couples Workshopon Differentiation of Self. This study is conducted by HelenaNovotny, a Master's Degree student in Counselling Psychology at theUniversity of British Columbia, and supervised by Dr. LarryCochran, Professor. This study will examine what conditionsfacilitate and what conditions hinder the differentiation of self.Data collection for this study will take four forms:1. You will be required to complete three, 1/2 hourinterviews, of which the mid-session and post-sessionwill be audio-tape and transcribed to ensure moreaccurate data collecting. In the pre-session andpost-session interviews you will be asked to completethree questionnaires. In the mid and post-sessions youwill be asked to relate information pertaining to yourpersonal process of differentiation.2. You will be asked to complete a daily log. This isestimated to take 10-15 minutes a day. As well, theleader will record observations as a result of theinteractions during the sessions.3. Your file information at Chilliwack Mental Healthpertaining to the research maybe accessed.4. The teacher of your child will be asked to complete aquestionnaire pre-session and post-session. Thisquestionnaire takes about 10 minutes to complete.All identifying information will be deleted from any recordedmaterial to ensure confidentiality. Your name will remainconfidential. All tapes will be erased and all written materialwill be incinerated upon completion of the study.The study requires a commitment to attending three-hourworkshop sessions and ten to fifteen minutes per day reflecting andwriting of a daily log. You have the right to refuse to answer anyquestions, participate in any exercise, and may also withdraw fromthe study at any time without consequences of any kind.Participation in this study is voluntary.Any questions or concerns can be directed at either Helena Novotny(980-2950) or Larry Cochran (822-5259).I HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD THE ABOVE AND HEREBY CONSENT TOPARTICIPATE IN THIS STUDY. I ACKNOWLEDGE RECEIPT OF THE CONSENTFORM AND ALL ATTACHMENTS.Participator:Researcher:APPENDIX C: LETTERS TO PARTICIPANTS168Jan. 30, 1992DearThank you for participating in my research study. I think thatthe research will be valuable for extending the knowledge that wehave of family interactions. I can also appreciate how difficult itis to attend a first night session. Walking into a group situationcan be threatening, and I thank you for your courage. From myexperience in running groups, I have found that it takes three tofour sessions to develop comfortable feelings with the groupprocess.After attending the first session, it is quite common to feelthat your expectations might not be met. However, previousparticipants to this workshop have, in retrospect, indicated to mehow satisfying the total experience was.I can also appreciate that through the duration of thisworkshop, you and your partner might experience some conflict dueto the everyday stresses that families are besieged with. Attendingthe workshop regardless of this conflict can be quite a growingexperience. It offers an opportunity to put the process ofdifferentiation into practice.I also realize that in the beginning, writing your daily logmight seem like a chore. Having gone through the experience myself,I found that my persistence was rewarded as I learned to enjoy thisprivate daily time. Should you find that you are having difficultyunderstanding the task, I hope that you will bring it to myattention before or after our session so I can assist you. I canassure you that it is simple and it will get easier.I am looking forward to seeing you February 5, at 7:00 pm.Helena Novotny169February 6, 1992^ 170DearHere are some after thoughts arising from our last workshopthat I thought I would like to share with the two of you. First ofall, after reading the facilitating and hindering event cards, Imust compliment you on the effort that you are investing in ourresearch project. I especially like to comment on the depth ofdescription on many of the cards. I will be curious to read yourevent cards, and to hear your comments about having written themfor a second week in a row.In our last session, I appreciated the hard work that you didin participating in the exercises. I was quite concerned about howall of you would be able to maintain interest through the demanding"Relationship Vision" exercise. Needless to say, my concern wasunfounded as you handled it so admirably. Love is work, and I thinkthat the effort you put into this exercise will have long term pay-off.I will be looking forward to our next meeting. At that time wewill address communication skills. Many of you have expressed thedesire to master this fundamental skill of human interaction. Webegin the process of mastering communication skills on Feb. 12,7:00 pm.Sincerely yours,171February 13, 1992DearWe had fun at our last session, I missed you, but I understandhow these things come up. It is debatable whether the participantsare learning more from me or whether I am learning more from them.In any case I feel very thankful.Keep those cards coming in. I really appreciate the fact thatyou are willing to share your life with me, and as well help me domy research. Although the thesis will be in my name we are reallydoing it together.I pointed out an analogy about the cards in the last session.It is that of a steak house; the questionnaires are the croutons onthe salad, the interview is the baked potato and the cards are thesteak. You might be able to substitute for the croutons andpossibly, with some difficulty for the baked potato, but when yourun out of steak you bankrupt the steakhouse.We are only half way through our journey throughcommunication. Problem-solving is just around the corner in ournext session. You might want to phone to find out what weaccomplished in our session.If you excuse me now, to coin a phrase from^, Ihave to differentiate myself and get my cup of coffee.See you next weekHelena Novotny172February 19, 1992DearAt the end of our last session I tuned into my self, doing myown differentiation work and realized that I felt quite dead. Iwonder if it was evident to you. If it was remember, beingdifferentiated means allowing others to have their own thoughts,feelings and actions. In other words, if you noticed and feltsomehow responsible, that would be a hindering event. On the otherhand, if you noticed and did not feel responsible, then that wouldbe a facilitating event. In any case, after thinking about it, itappeared to me that it is quite predictable that a mid-term sessionwould likely be lower on energy then the higher energy beginningand ending sessions.I was impressed by the large number of facilitating/hinderingevents that you as a group handed in this week. In family therapywe have discovered that we live our lives by the stories that wecreate that give special meaning to our experiences. Stories havea belling, a middle and an end. They disclose to us what led up tothe event, what happened during the event and what followed afterthe event was over in terms of thoughts, emotions and actions. Itjust occurred to me that is what you are doing when you write yourevent cards.As we tell our stories, we grow along the storylines. Whatthis means is that our stories end up becoming our reality.Therefore, when we have more stories that indicate differentiatedself, we find that our thoughts, feelings and actions follow alongthose lines.Because it is the half-way point of our workshop, it is timeto schedule the mid-interviews. The purpose of these is to help meexplore your events in more depth to make sure that I fullyunderstand your experiences. I can start seeing couples nextThursday, either daytime or evening, as well as the followingWednesday or Thursday. Think about a time that would be mostconvenient for you and let me know next session.Our 5 th session will give us more opportunity to practiseconflict resolution skills, and we are going to find out sat TO airTHE LOVE TOO MIT .Helena Novotny173February 27, 1992DearI just realized that there is only three more sessions left togo on our workshop. There is a lot we could do and so little timeleft. However, I'm confident that we will make the most with theleast amount of time.Keep those cards coming in! I always look forward to readingthem. I likewise feel privileged to have this window view into yourinner world.By now, I feel bonded with our group and see ourselves asspecial partners in our personal growth.We missed you at our last session and really appreciate youletting me know and I look forward to seeing you in our next groupsession.I will be contacting you by phone to set-up our mid-pointinterview to review your events.Sincerely,Helena NovotnyHelena Novotny174March 4, 1992DearBy now you have become real experts at writing your cards.Novak's Fourth Principle tells us that most personal growth occursduring the last period of any intervention. Therefore, we canpredict that this is the primetime for you in your process ofdifferentiation, and so don't be surprised if you have a lot ofcards to write.Novak's Third Principle tells us that people who write thingsdown gain approximately twice as much benefit from the experiencethan people who don't. Her Second Principle states thatperseverance is the winning edge to overcoming resistance, implyingthat resistance is the major stumbling block to change.On a less theoretical note, in our next session we willcontinue our healing journey through childhood, and we will giveourselves the gift of joy, freedom and happiness.See you soon,175March 12, 1992DearIt is hard to believe that we will be meeting for the last time onMarch 25. It really seems that the past seven weeks have gonequickly. I guess the old adage must be true..."Time flies when youare having fun."I found that the comment made by one of the participants probablyapplies to many of us:"Although I am at the end of the workshop, it feels like I amjust at the beginning of an exciting journey of doing my own work."On the scale of readiness for personal work, where do you feel youfit?0^1^2^3^4^5^6^7^8^9^10This is the last call for handing in facilitating and hinderingcards. In other words, this is the last opportunity for you to giveme your excess baggage. Feel free, I am differentiated enough totake it.But, I'm not sure if I am differentiated enough to ask you whetheryou have read any of my letters. It takes a certain courage for meto make such an enquiry, since the code of silence about theletters has not been broken once during our sessions. Sometimes Ihave nightmares that one day I'll wake up to find a bag of lettersstamped "RETURN TO SENDER" on my doorstep.I would like to ask you to bring a symbol of your level ofdifferentiation at this point in time, to our last session. Thiswould be an object that is a metaphor for where you are at in yourrelationship with self. For example, for myself it is a seashell.This object represents how I think and feel about myself. Aseashell provides safety and a sense of home no matter where I go,while at the same time it represents a freedom of movement thatallows me to explore my ever expanding horizons.On the other hand, I can still remember the lowest time in my lifewhen I felt stuck and deflated. My metaphor, at that time, was aflat tire.ng party on the 25 ° .Helena NovotnyApril 2, 1992DearWhen it comes time to say good-bye I sometimes question my level ofdifferentiation; this is one of those times. On the one hand, Iwill appreciate having Wednesday nights for other activities, yeton the other hand, I shall miss our weekly meetings. I becameattached to you as a group. I wonder, was it as good for you as itwas good for me?I certainly appreciate your commitment to attending the sessionsand investing your energy into participating in the activities. Inparticular, I really appreciated the trust and hard work it took toconsistently write out the daily events. Thank you for making theresearch project possible.I wonder where you predict your level of differentiation will be ina year from now? I would be curious to know how aware you will beabout your awareness of the impact this eight week workshop willhave on your successful process of differentiation? What wisdomhave you learned in this process that you would like to tell otherswho might want to follow in your pioneering footsteps?Differentiatingly yours,Helena Novotny176

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