Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Coalition in Structural Family Therapy

  • Jessica M. MorenoEmail author
  • Sarah K. Samman
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_250

Name of Concept

Coalition in structural family therapy


Salvador Minuchin developed structural family therapy based on the belief that family is more than a group of individuals with shared biology. Family members relate to one another and create agreements and allyships, i.e., alliances, demonstrated through certain arrangements that govern their relational and interactional patterns. These arrangements, though not always overtly expressed or known by the family, form a structure whereby each family member abides by and behaves accordingly (Minuchin 1974). Structural family therapists believe the way some family members organize can serve a functional or dysfunctional purpose. Structural family therapists view coalitions as a dysfunctional alliance.

Theoretical Context for Concept

According to Aponte and Van Deusin (1981), every interaction in a family is a statement about boundaries, alignments, and power. Boundaries dictate the roles, rules, and interactional patterns...

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  1. Aponte, H. J., & Van Deusin, J. M. (1981). Structural family therapy. In F. M. Dattillo & L. J. Bevilacqua (Eds.), Comparative treatments for relationship dysfunction (pp. 45–57). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  2. Minuchin, S. (1974). Families and family therapy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Minuchin, S., Rosman, B. L., & Baker, L. (1978). Psychosomatic families: Anorexia nervosa in context. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.California State University, SacramentoSacramentoUSA
  2. 2.Alliant International UniversitySan DiegoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kelley Quirk
    • 1
  • Adam Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Human Development and Family StudiesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA