An abstract delineation between parts of a system or between systems, typically defined by implicit or explicit rules regarding who may participate and in what manner.
A self-contained system with impermeable boundaries, operating without interactions outside the system, resistant to change and thus prone to increasing disorder.
An appraisal tool designed to graphically depict a family�s connections with outside agencies and institutions, enabling the therapist to examine pictorially those relationship bonds that connect the family to these systems.
The tendency of a system to go into disorder, and if unimpeded, to reach a disorganized and undifferentiated state.
Those circular mechanisms by which information about a system�s output is continuously reintroduced back into the system, initiating a chain of subsequent events.
general systems theory
As proposed by biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy in regard to living systems, the study of the relationship of interactional parts in context, emphasizing their unity and organizational hierarchy.
A dynamic state of balance or equilibrium in a system, or a tendency toward achieving and maintaining such a state in an effort to ensure a stable environment.
The gathering, distilling, organizing, storing, and retrieving of information through a system or between that system and larger systems.
marital quid pro quo
An initial rule arrangement or bargain between husband and wife regarding the ways in which they intend to define themselves vis-�-vis one another in the marital relationship.
A family�s unstated rules regarding how to interpret or, if necessary, to change its rules.
The flow of corrective information from the output of a system back into the system in order to attenuate deviation and keep the system functioning within prescribed limits.
The tendency of a system to remain flexible and open to new input, necessary for change and survival of the system.
A system with more or less permeable boundaries that permits interaction between the system�s component parts or subsystems and outside influences.
The notion that the components of a system relate to each other in some consistent fashion, and that the system is structured by those relationships.
The flow of information from the output of a system back into the system in order to amplify deviation from the state of equilibrium, thus leading to instability and change.
Repetitive behavioral sequences within a family.
An organized, coexisting component within an overall system, having its own autonomous functions as well as a specified role in the operation of the larger system; within families, a member can belong to a number of such units.
A higher-level system in which other systems represent component parts and play subsystem roles.
A generic term in common use, encompassing general systems theory and cybernetics, referring to the view of interacting units or elements making up the organized whole.
The systems view that combining units, components, or elements produces an entity greater than the sum of its parts.
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