Fusion in Family Systems Theory
Name of Concept
Fusion in family systems theory
Fusion, a concept rooted in Bowen’s family systems theory, is most closely linked to the concept of differentiation. Fusion tends to occur when poorly differentiated individuals enter into a relationship together, who may have difficulty separating their thoughts from feelings, and their own thoughts and feelings from those of others (Nichols and Schwartz 1995). Fusion may also occur intergenerationally, between parents (or caregivers) and children.
Bowen’s family systems theory addresses multigenerational emotional conflicts and anxiety, proposing that high levels of fusion are connected with family members’ poorly developed individuality (Kerr and Bowen 1988). Such individuals may demonstrate high levels of emotional reactivity, often manifested as emotional fusion or cutoff, which are both problematic relationship patterns.
Too much togetherness in the relationship context breeds fusion....