Detriangulation in Couple and Family Therapy
Name of Concept
The process of detriangulating is arguably the most important technique in family systems therapy (Kerr and Bowen 1988). However, it is important to briefly discuss Murray Bowen’s concept of triangles and triangulating before discussing detriangulation further. Triangle is a term used to describe a three-person system that is formed when an unstable two-person systems begins to experience stress (Landers et al. 2016). The process of triangulating occurs when the two-person system introduces a third party to the system in hopes of stabilizing the relationship and reducing the amount of anxiety being experienced (Kerr and Bowen 1988). Thus, detriangulation is the process in which the third party begins to remove themselves from the unstable two-person system.
Theoretical Context for Concept
Detriangulation as a concept was developed by Bowen, the founder of Bowen family systems therapy, an intergenerational approach to family therapy.