Today's essay concerns the important contribution of the Family Systems school.Family Systems practitioners are the ecologists in my scheme for describing the various schools (Philosophers, Engineers, Ecologists and Gnostics: Four Approaches to Psychotherapy).

Again, there is no physical reality to the boundary, but it is there nevertheless.

Other sorts of social groups (co-workers, board members, etc.) are similarly bounded as well, making them into a cohesive group through the process of drawing a distinction between what they do together and what other people do.

The prototype for this sort of power hierarchy is the nuclear family (e.g., parents with children).

Parents function as a powerful and bounded subgroup within the larger group known as the family.

Psychological boundaries are constructed of ideas, perceptions, beliefs and understandings that enable people to define not only their social group memberships, but also their own self-concepts and identities.

Such boundaries are the basis by which people distinguish between "We" or "I" (group members; insiders; part of "Us") and "Other" (outsiders and examples of what is "not-self").Identity necessarily includes social relationships which are built into the self to varying degrees.The member/non-member distinction that is afforded by drawing an identity boundary applies not only to individuals, but also to social groups.I covered psychodynamic, behavioral and cognitive-behavioral contributions in past months, and also the importance of non-technical aspects of psychotherapy.According to my plan for how all of this gets laid out there are two more key therapy schools to cover, these being the Family Systems and Humanist schools."I let my neighbor know beyond the hill; And on a day we meet to walk the line And set the wall between us once again." - from "Mending Wall" by Robert Frost Another month, and another essay.