Family at a Beach

Differentiation of Self in Clinical Practice

March 25, 2022

10:00AM - 1:15PM

$80  -  3 CE

Differentiation of self is a core concept of Bowen Family Systems Theory, and one of eight interlocking principles that outline the profound ways families impact one another. Differentiation refers to the degree of emotional maturity in managing reactivity and making meaningful choices, particularly in times of distress or adversity.  A person with a high degree of self-differentiation is able to react rationally and calmly amidst criticism, rejection, and disagreements, and maintains relationships that are interdependent. A person with a low degree of of self-differentiation will heavily rely upon acceptance and approval to the point of either being overly accommodating to others, or bullying/pressuring them to conform accordingly, and is often in enmeshed, fused, or codependent relationships. 


Level of differentiation first develops from family of origin. Systemic therapy has proved to be invaluable in helping individuals, couples, and families improve differentiation on both internal and interpersonal levels. Clinicians practicing solution-focused, narrative, and family system therapies will increase their knowledge of interventions and approaches for helping their clients develop higher self-differentiation.


Learning Objectives

- Increase understanding of differentiation of self 

- Identify theoretical orientations 

- Learn new interventions for increasing differentiation