1. clear effective hierarchy of authority;2. well-defined roles;3. prescribed and actuated channels of communication;4. appropriate and respected boundaries; and5. appropriate alignments.
1. an individual or individuals acquire and exercise power outside of their position on the family or system hierarchy;2. an individual or individuals fails to exercise the power and authority of their position on the family or system hierarchy. A power and authority vacuum is created that may be unfilled, which creates tension, or may be filled inappropriately and/or by an inappropriate person;3. roles are poorly defined or ambiguous, or ill-suited to the individual, or too rigid (lacking flexibility), or defined inappropriately;4. communication channels are ignored or subverted or are poorly defined, or are skipped. For example, a third person is used to convey communication; a staff person complains to his or her supervisor's supervisor without first talking to his or her supervisor; when a child complains about one parent to another parent; when a child enlists siblings instead of directly communicating with the other sibling he or she disagrees with, and so forth;5. boundaries are too rigid for safe appropriate contact and communication;6. boundaries are too enmeshed to separate ones feelings and needs from another's;7. inappropriate coalitions exist. Examples would include a coalition between a teacher and a parent board member against administrative staff; between a parent and a child against another child; between a parent and a child against the other parent. Examples of what could be appropriate alignments would be the parents together against a child, or the males against the females.
1. Family/System Structure: The governing rules of a family/system, in particular a guide for the transactional patterns that occur between a family's individual members.2. Sub-systems: Components of a whole family system (or organization), which keep the system functioning by performing various sub-tasks (e.g. executive, daycare, nurturing, organizing, explaining, problem solving, parent relations, and so forth).3. Boundaries and Degree of Permeability: Barriers or boundaries within a family/system define its subsystems. Boundaries are rigid, diffuse, or clear. Ideally boundaries should be clear.
a. Enmeshment: Results when boundaries are diffuse or highly permeable. Enmeshment leads to over-involvement and over-concern, and a lack of autonomy or independence of individual members.b. Disengagement: Results from rigid boundaries. Disengagement leads to separateness, distance, under-involvement and, often betrayal.
4. Alignments: How individual family members/staff group themselves or challenge one another in performing family/system tasks.
a. Triangles: A dysfunctional alignment of three family members/staff, which results from chronic boundary problems. When one subsystem deflects its tensions onto a third individual, this can cause the boundaries of that subsystem to become diffuse.
5. Power: Determined by (a) authority or who is making the decisions in the family/system and (b) responsibility or who is carrying out those decisions.6. Coalitions: An alignment of specific family members/staff against a third member.
a. Stable: A constant coalition, typically one parent and a child against the other parent (for example, one executive and a staff person against another, or two staff persons against another).b. Detouring: A coalition in which the tensions between two members (usually the parents/executives) are masked by focusing on a third member.
7. Family/System Dysfunction: Individual symptomology or system problems, resulting from a dysfunctional family/system structure.