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Lexicon of Couples and Family Counseling

G - I


Garcia-Preto, Nydia. Co-author of The Family Life Cycle.


gay. Men who have a sexual/affectional orientation for other men.


gender. A consideration of different perspectives brought to life experience by each sex; one of the metaframeworks.


gender-awareness. A consciousness of gender issues in life and family therapy.


gender-role socialization and power analysis. How individual women and men learn to behave in stereotypic ways based on gender. As used in feminist family therapy, the assessment includes a consideration of how power is distributed within accepted roles.


gender sensitivity. An awareness of gender issues in families and a willingness to make these issues a central part of family practice, including an understanding of patriarchy, differential socialization processes, and the need to have both women and men choose voices and roles different from those prescribed by the dominant culture.


general systems theory. Developed by Ludwig von Bertalanffy, general systems theory is a biological model of living systems that maintain themselves in specific environments through continuous input and output. Bateson adapted general systems theory to his work at the Mental Research Institute.


genital stage. Freud’s fourth stage of child development, starting around puberty and assuming the other stages have been resolved, the child is able to engage in normal male-female* relationships (*Freud did not think gay or lesbian relationships were "normal.")


genograms. Formal, structural maps formalized and developed by Monica McGoldrick and Randy Gerson, (their book is currently co-authored with Sueli Petry) that are used to describe families over several generations and that code the emotional/affective and transactional relationships that exist in families.


Genograms of Couples & Family Counseling. A set of maps developed by James Bitter that delineates the relationships and connections between and among the people who contributed models to the fields of family counseling and family therapy.


Gerber, Jane. A Satir scholar and trainer.


Gergen, Kenneth. Author of The Saturated Self and Relational Being, he is a leading social philosopher and psychologist in the development of postmodern, social constructionism.


Gerson, Randy. Co-author with Monica McGoldrick and Sueli Petry of Genograms: Assessment and Intervention.


Gestalt therapy. Based on the holistic psychology of Kohler and Wertheimer, and developed in the United States by Fritz Perls, his colleagues, and associates, Gestalt therapy focuses on the here-and-now and the development of awareness and contact through experiments.


getting. Going after what someone wants without regard for ownership or appropriateness. Bitter’s first supplemental goal to Dreikurs’ model for children’s misbehavior.


Gilligan, Carol. Author of In a Different Voice in 1982, she proposed an alternate moral development (to Kohlberg’s) for women.


Ginott, Haim. Author of parenting books Between Parent and Child and Between Parent and Teenager, his work on communication with children is the foundation for Gottman’s approach to emotion coaching.


Gladding, S. T. Author of Family Therapy: History, Theory, and Practice.


Goldenberg, Herbert and Irene. Co-authors of Family Therapy: An Overview.


Gomori, Maria. A Satir scholar and trainer.


good enough mother. Winnicott’s description of the person a child needs for adequate attachment. This good-enough mother is not perfect: She makes mistakes. Her general approach, however, is to initially give herself over to care of the infant. As the child grows, she adapts to the infant’s needs. The child is central to her life. As the child matures, she slowly reclaims her own independence.

Goodrich, Thelma Jean. A feminist family therapist and co-author with Louise Silverstein of Feminist Family Therapy: Empowerment in Social Context.


Goolishian, Harold. A colleague of Harlene Anderson who developed a linguistic approach to family therapy that featured the adoption by therapists of a not-knowing position and a privileging of clients-as-expert.


Gordon, Thomas. A student of the late Carl Rogers, he wrote and developed a training model for Parent Effectiveness Training.


Gottman, John. A researcher from the University of Washington and the Gottman Institute known for his longitudinal studies of couples and families; he is the author of The Marriage Clinic and The Heart of Parenting (with Joan DeClaire). His work with children focuses on emotion coaching.


Gottman, Julie. Scholar, collaborator, and spouse of John Gottman and a trainer at the Gottman Institute in Seattle, Washington.


Grey, Loren. An Adlerian and co-author with Rudolf Dreikurs of Logical Consequences.


Guerin, Phillip. A Bowen scholar and therapist.


Guerney, Jr., Bernard G. An early associate of Salvador Minuchin.


Haley, Jay. Founder and co-developer of the Washington School of Strategic Family Therapy.


“hanging hats.” A process developed by Satir to help family practitioners clear their minds and hearts so that they can be present with clients. The process is an aid to counselors and therapists in dealing with family-of-origin issues and counter-transference.


Hare-Mustin, Rachel T. A feminist family therapist; one of the first to promote gender-awareness in family therapy.


Hawes, Clair. An Adlerian couples and family therapist who co-developed Adlerian brief therapy.


healthy. An evaluative term used to suggest useful and effective structures, interactions, feelings, or behaviors.


Hendrix, Harville. Together with his partner, Helen LaKelley Hunt, the developer of Imago therapy with couples.


here and now. Humanistic language for the present or immediate experience.


hermeneutics. Methods of assessing stories or human experiences through interpretations of meaning.


heterosexism. The discrimination and oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) individuals; the privileges associated with and the assumption of normalcy for heterosexuals.


hierarchy. See family hierarchy.


Hoffman, Lynn. Family therapist, social worker, and author of foundational articles and books in family systems therapy, she started her career with Jay Haley and strategic family therapy and evolved into a leading spokesperson for postmodern, social constructionist approaches.


holding space. A place of attachment and safety, often between the mother and child in object relations theory, but also between the therapist and the family in object relations family therapy—with the goal of creating it in therapy between the family members.


holism. A term developed by Jan Smuts, meaning an understanding of human behavior, patterns, and processes within the social contexts and interactions that support them: The goal is to understand the whole of experience rather than break it down into analyzed parts.


homeostasis. A steady state characterized by balance; a state of equilibrium.


homework. Homework is an out-of-session assignment that may include bibliotherapy, self-monitoring, behavioral task assignments, and activity scheduling, all important as effective methods to support changes within families.


humanism. A therapeutic approach that centralizes in therapy care for and connection with human beings. A description of self that is preferred by Virginia Satir.


human mandala. A term and process developed by Virginia Satir to help counselors look at multiple levels of individuals within families.


human validation process model. Satir’s final description of her therapeutic model.


Hunt, Helen LaKelley. Together with her partner Harville Hendrix, the developer of Imago therapy with couples.


hypnosis. A form of indirect influence accomplished when the client is receptive to therapist suggestions; the most referenced form in family therapy is Ericksonian hypnosis, based on the work of Milton H. Erickson.


hypothesizing (shared meaning). The process in systems therapy of forming a guess about the clinical issues, family dynamics, or motivations for individual behaviors or interactions presented in family treatment. Often associated with the Milan group of strategic family therapists and Adlerian family therapy.


IAMFC. Abbreviation for International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors, a division of the American Counseling Association (ACA).


id. In psychoanalysis, the impulsive gratification-seeking part of the psyche that usually functions according to the primary process.


identification. A defense mechanism of the ego associated with the phallic stage; the child identifies with the parent of the same sex and learns to be a man or a woman.


identified patient (or index person). The family member who is symptomatic and carries the problem for the rest of the family.


Imago Therapy with Couples. Developed by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelley Hunt, this model of couples counseling uses structured conversations (dialogues) to ensure effective communication and dyadic connection.


Imber-Black, Evan. A family therapist who addressed family rituals, family secrets, and families within larger systems.


individualistic cultures. Cultures or societies that focus on the rights, needs, and responsibilities of the individual independent of the needs of the collective group.


individual psychology. Adler’s term for his psychology and therapy. Adler used the term individual to focus on the person as an indivisible whole functioning within a specific social context.


infantile dependence stage. Fairbairn’s first stage of development, similar to Bowlby’s attachement stage.


informed consent. A document that clients sign acknowledging that they have been informed about the qualifications of the counselor, therapist, or family practitioner; the activities and experiences in which they are about to engage; the definitions and limits, both legal and professional, of confidentiality; and that they are entering into family counseling or therapy voluntarily.


ingredients of an interaction. Virginia Satir developed this process to help people reveal the feelings and beliefs about self that were part of every interaction, but often hidden.


inner system. The arrangement and use of parts within individuals.


instinct. In psychoanalysis, another word for drive: A biological process that has an origin, impetus, and aim (tension reduction).


intellectualization. A defense mechanism of the ego associated with the anal stage: Talking and using high language to mask real feelings; "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."


intensifying. A structural family therapy process for changing family interactions by promoting strong emotions or increasing pressure on the system.


intergenerational family therapy. Another term for Bowen’s multigenerational family therapy.


intermittent reinforcement. The strongest form of reinforcement in which only some occurrences of a particular behavior are reinforced—generally on a fixed or variable ratio or time interval.


internal family systems. A systemic approach to working with the parts of individuals, developed by Richard Schwartz; also part of metaframeworks.


internal locus of control. The feeling individual’s have when they believe they can direct and take charge of their own lives and the decisions that they make.


internal resources. Those parts of clients that are present but underutilized in creating solutions to problems. Satir focuses on internal resources when helping individuals and families through the experience of chaos. Internal resources also are sought in Richard Schwartz’ work with internal family systems.


interpretation. Giving a specific meaning to an action, experience, event or set of events.


introducing doubt. Used by solution-oriented therapists, these are questions about the assumptions involved in problem-oriented stories or presentations that challenge such notions as real, permanent, or inevitable. Such doubt has the effect of making space for additional possibilities.


introjection. An early defense mechanism of the ego in which the attributes of someone else are incorporated whole by the child; it is often associated with Freud's oral stage.


invariant intervention. An intervention developed by Maria Selvini Palazzoli that directs parents to go on a date together without informing, checking on, or taking the children. For many years, Palazzoli experimented with giving this prescription to every family she saw.


I-position. In multigenerational family therapy, the I-position is related to Bowen’s differentiation of self   : It is the ability of an individual to state a position that reflects his or her thinking and personal stance in the face of emotional pressure to be what the family wants the person to be.


irrational beliefs. See beliefs.


irrelevant. Satir’s defensive communication stance, involving distracting, changing the subject, or avoiding pain or stress through side-tracking or denial of reality. It has a similar meaning to what Kfir calls the priority of comfort.


I-statements. Individual declarations (or statements) that start with the word “I,” indicating that the speaker is taking ownership of both the content and the feelings included in the statement. Associated with active listening, active parenting, STEP, and parent effectiveness training.


I-thou relationship. Martin Buber’s description of a real meeting and engagement of two people. This type of relationship is highly prized by Satir therapists.

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