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consensus sensitivity/distance sensitivity/environment sensitivity

Reiss used these terms in a typology of problem-solving behavior in families, as observed in a family test, the Card Sort Procedure (CSP). A family exhibits "consensus sensitivity" [Latin consensus, being of one mind] when mutual agreement and the avoidance of conflict are valued more highly than the optimal solution to a given problem. Families that employ this strategy tend toward a blurring of boundaries between family members; however, as a family unit, they tend to be hermetically sealed off from the external environment. Reiss applied the term "interpersonal distance sensitivity" when each family member strives to maintain his or her independence at the cost of the family-wide cooperation. "Environment sensitivity" describes a family whose members possess the ability to cooperate with one another as well as the ability to admit information from the surrounding environment. This is characteristic of a healthy/functional family.

Definition extracted with permission from Simon, Fritz, et al, Family Process, Inc.: Language of Family Therapy: A Systemic Vocabulary and Source Book (Family Process Press Series)