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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From the vantage point of family dynamics, concepts about individuation and differentiation mainly apply to the formation of individual (identity) and psychic boundaries. One can say that animate beings have been striving toward higher levels of individuation for about a billion years; this process entails the danger of hypo-individuation as well as hyper-individuation. Related individuation, according to Stierlin et al. (1980), is a general principle whereby a higher level of individuation both demands and makes possible a correspondingly higher level of relatedness. This concept highlights the necessity (task) of reconciliation faced by all higher life forms, especially human beings. As a rule, this task includes a family - wide coindividuation in which each family member determines the conditions for the individuation of the other members.