What Are “Concepts”?

  • Nossrat Peseschkian


A central idea in positive family therapy is that of the concept. Psychology understands the term in the sense of a self-concept or an alient concept, hence as an image man has of himself or others. Concepts are thus cognitive and emotional structures that offer us the interpretive model for our relationships to ourselves, other people, and our environment. Contained in the concepts are the expectations that give our perceptions their unique color: whether we approach a partner pessimistically, critically, and mistrustfully or seek contact with him in an open, optimistic, and receptive manner. Here the behavioral component of the concepts is revealed. Instead of being pure ideas, they rest on the triad of cognition, emotion, and behavior. Concepts can be the motives that guide our behavior, adopted norms and habits that give us our direction. Because of their function, we designate the concepts as helmsmen: they tell a person where it’s an uphill battle, what’s good, what’s bad, and which behavioral possibilities he has at his disposal. Although there is, in theory, an endless number of concepts, in practice there are relatively few. Each person has his own “program” of concepts that are partially interrelated and harmonious but can also create dissonance. In terms of contents, the concepts are described by the basic capabilities and the actual capabilities; their relational qualities are described by the four areas for processing conflict, the four model dimensions, and the forms of interaction.


Behavioral Component Unique Color Actual Capability Interpretive Model Typical Concept 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nossrat Peseschkian
    • 1
  1. 1.WiesbadenGermany

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