Family Structure of a Functional Family : Focusing on Structural Family Therapy


Kyu-young Oh.

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It is a sense of security and happiness that characterize a healthy family. This paper examines the methods that facilitate healthy family relationships in the perspective of family structure therapy. In a healthy family, the relational structure is established by systematizing the process of interaction, promoting strict yet flexible family rules. A healthy family hierarchy progresses from grandparental subsystem, parental subsystem, child subsystem to a sibling subsystem - while boundary and rules are clear, the interaction remains flexible.
Healthy family members have clear boundaries that are neither detached nor adhesive. They do not cross each other's boundaries to excessively adhere to one another nor become segregated to the point of detachment. The key factor is clear boundaries with flexibility. Healthy families demonstrate an appropriate level of cohesiveness in accordance with the family members’ life cycles. Also, they possess a high level of adaptability in times of crises or emergencies.
In communication between married couples as well as other family members, they clearly express their feelings while demonstrating a sense of mutual respect. Each member acts under their clearly defined roles within the family while their interactions hold a great level of flexibility and plausibility. The triangular relationships formed among family members continue to progress, and well-formed detriangling facilitates the development of an optimal state where the individuals undergo differentiation and also remain intimate with each other. In summation, family structure can preserve order yet permit intimacy in the familial relationships, ultimately resulting in family peace and stability.


 Formation of A Family Structure
 Individuality and Togetherness
 Subsystem and Boundary15
 A Healthy Family and The Process of Family Development


  • Kyu-young Oh. Professor, Sunmoon University, Korea


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