Extraordinary Relationships

Decent Essays

Chapters 3 and 4 in Extraordinary Relationships gave a good introduction into new concepts relating to Human Interactions and Relationships. These new concepts give a better idea in understanding relationships and the basic self. Two concepts that stood out to me were differentiation of self and thinking system. Differentiation of self is extremely important in understanding relationships. Gilbert (1992) states “If any single idea in Bowen family systems theory is central in importance, it is the idea of differentiation of self. It is essential in understanding relationships” (pg.18). So what exactly is self-differentiation, to put it simply, it’s the ability to separate feelings from thoughts. Gilbert (1992) describes it as “individuals …show more content…

To better understand this you can look at it as a scale. Some individuals have higher levels of differentiation and some have lower levels. This is all depending on the basic self, which is “the solid part of self that is non-negotiable in relationships” (Gilbert, 1992, p.18). Individuals with higher levels of self-differentiation can better distinguish between emotions and intellectual functioning, they are better decision makers, they have better relationships, they have less concern for approval and love, and they have fewer live problems (Gilbert, 1992, p. 25). Individuals with lower levels of self- differentiation have a harder time distinguishing emotional and intellectual functioning, they tend to make poor decisions, they have poor relationships, they worry about approval and love, and they have greater life problems (Gilbert, 1992, p. 25). An individual’s level of self-differentiation hardly changes after leaving home but it is possible with hard work for an individual to improve their level of differentiation. Another concept discussed throughout the chapters was systems thinking. In Bowen’s theory the most basic emotional unit is the nuclear family. An individual is only a piece to the whole unit and to better understand an individual you have to better understand the

Get Access