On Triangles with Dead People

On Triangles with Dead People

“Death ends a life, but it does not end a relationship,
which struggles on in the survivor’s mind
toward some resolution which it may never find.”
― Robert Anderson

In a previous blog, The Structure, Function and Emotional Process of Triangles, I wrote “De-triangling occurs when strategically someone comes into a polarized situation and makes an effort to not take sides, and to relate well to each person.” A highly regarded, well respected colleague who has, with great equanimity, integrity and compassion, withstood all of Hal’s attempts to befuddle and confuse, wondered, “What if they’re Dead?”, most specifically in regards to the primary parental triangle we all struggle to resolve.

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Self Knowledge is Not Necessarily Good News

Self Knowledge is Not Necessarily Good News

The Tao of Self-Differentiation

“Understanding the dark side of ourselves
will allow us to relate more fully to others.”  
– Star Wars

In her book, You Can Go Home Again: Reconnecting With Your Family, Monica McGoldrick cautions that in the process of differentiation of self in one’s family of origin, it is important to manage one’s anxiety, avoid becoming defensive, and be prepared to hear negative feelings and observations.

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The “Wedding Gift” Triangle

The “Wedding Gift” Triangle

“A culturally acceptable way
for a man to avoid
the pressure of a relationship with his mother
without cutting her off.”

— Philip J. Guerin, MD

June, Croon, Moon, Swoon. HELLO, young lovers, wherever you are . . . getting ready to walk down the aisle, remember that after the fantasy wedding comes the marriage. Real marriage for real people involves both partners committing “to a new family system and realignments of many, if not all previous relationships,” while maintaining responsibility for relationships in the family they grew up in.

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(What is) The Best Gift Money Can’t Buy?

(What is) The Best Gift Money Can’t Buy?

In response to blogs I wrote about Thanksgiving and the December holidays, multiple colleagues noted that attending to relationships in the family one grew up in is “something to work on the whole year as well.” While it is certainly true that the process of differentiation is a year-round, lifelong, never-completed one, large family gatherings at times of holidays and significant life cycle events provide an exceptional real life opportunity to become observers and researchers, allowing us to explore and understand the rules of our family of origin, our roles in them, the influence of these experiences on our current behavior, and how they impact our current relationships.

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Bowen Family Systems Coaching


Bowen Family Systems Coaching with Ronald B Cohen, MD is the treatment of choice for complicated relationship problems and intergenerational conflicts. Include the whole family in resolving and improving what is going on right NOW! When the entire family works to make the difficult journey together, the results are almost magical.
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Why Ronald B Cohen, MD?


If you are experiencing family relationship problems and distress, don’t treat all therapists alike. Look for a Family Therapist who has had specific training, is comfortable with emotional intensity and will offer clear direction to help resolve identified problems. Ronald B. Cohen, MD works with the whole family in a manner that can save you time and be more cost effective than equal doses of individual therapy.
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For Mental Health Professionals


I offer both individual coaching and a consultation group to help facilitate the acquisition and further development of knowledge and expertise in Bowen Family Systems Theory and Coaching for the enhancement of clinical efficacy, productivity and satisfaction. If this is something you want to do professionally, and especially if you have not had significant training and experience in working with family dynamics and relationships, then experiential learning by doing is the best way to go.
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