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emotional cutoff

Murray Bowen introduced this concept to describe the strategy of dealing with the particularly strong (overt or covert) binding or fusing forces that link a person to one or more family members (usually in the family of origin). Emotional cutoff may manifest itself as the breaking off of all emotional ties, the search for physical distance from one's family, or a self-imposed isolation. In general, any situation is avoided in which strong emotional ties could reactivate emotional fusion. Emotional cutoff is an attempt to offset strong centripetal forces with strong centrifugal ones (centripetal/centrifugal patterns).

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)


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