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family myths (family psychotherapy)

Ferreira (1963) introduced and gave clinical examples of the concept of family myths, which often serve as family paradigms either to maintain the family status quo (homeostasis) or to map out patterns of growth and directions for change at points of crisis. Accordingly, such myths function for families in the same way that defense mechanisms function for individuals. One may differentiate between loosely and tightly woven myths.
  • Ferreira, A. J., Family myth and homeostasis. Archives of General Psychiatry 9:457-463, 1963.

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)