Circumplex Model of Marriage and Family Therapy

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Circumplex Model of Marriage and Family Therapy Paper
Dindy Williams
APRIL 4, 2011
Sharla Hansen

Circumplex Model of Marriage and Family Therapy Paper
The Circumplex Model of Marriage and Family Systems was developed in an attempt to bridge the gap between research, theory and practice. The model, together with the assessment tools developed to use with it, are specially designed to assess the functionality of families and develop a treatment plan. The hypothesis of the Circumplex Model is that balanced couple and family systems tend to function better than unbalanced systems.
Cohesion, flexibility, and communication are the three dimensions of the Circumplex model. These dimensions were the ones most commonly used out of
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Roles are shared and rules changed. In the rigid relationship the leader is controlling and makes all the decisions. Rules do not change. In the chaotic relationship, there is little or no leadership. Decisions are not well thought out. Roles are unclear.
Communication is the third dimension and is not depicted on the model. It is a facilitating dimension necessary for facilitating changes in the other two dimensions. This dimension is measured by listening skills, speaking skills, self-disclosure, clarity, continuity tracking and respect and regard. Balanced family systems have good communication.
“Self-reporting instruments and rating scales were developed to access the status of couples and families on the dimensions of the Circumplex Model and to test hypotheses derived from the model” (Olsen, D. H., 2000, May). FACES III is the name of the self-reporting instrument.
The Circumplex model can help a large variety of people. It can be beneficial for ethnic and cultural diversity. If the questions answered on the FACES questionnaire place a couple on the model as an unbalanced, it doesn’t mean they are dysfunctional, as long as all the family members fall into a similar pattern. The model also maps changes in the family dynamics. Over 250 studies have been done supporting the hypothesis that balanced systems are more functional that unbalanced systems.
The goal of the family therapist is to help families to

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