Enmeshed Mother And Disengaged Father

EnmeshedMother And Disengaged Father

Enmeshedrelationships refer to situations when people’s characters aredefined by their relationships instead of individuality. Individualsin enmeshed relationships rely on each other to achieve emotionalsatisfaction in a way taht compromises psychological health. Sinceanother person provides one`s emotional satisfaction, he or she losestheir personal desires in order to get their requirementsaccomplished (Nichols, 2012). On the other hand, disengaged fathersare men that are physically present in a family, but they are bothemotionally and psychologically disconnected with their nuclearfamily (Minuchin, 1974). The mother makes most of the decisions suchas planning vacations, dropping and picking children from school andattending to the personal needs of their children.

Familymembers’ interactions bring order and meaning to a society.However, in a situation where a family is dysfunctional due to eithera mother being enmeshed or a father being disengaged to the family,then the children are affected. Minuchin (1974) developed StructuralFamily Therapy (SFT) to fix dysfunctional issues in a family.Nonetheless, typical structural family therapy response to a familycharacterized by a disengaged father and enmeshed mother has beensubjected to criticism that it is a sexist theory. The treatmentapproach is based on the interaction patterns between a husband andwife. Therapists solve family problems through “joining” familysystems in order to establish the indiscernible policies that definerelationships and family functioning (Calvert, 2008). Once theprofessionals identify issues that are causing dysfunction in afamily system, they disrupt the problems in order to help a householdto stabilize (Nichols, 2012). In many cases, the dysfunctionalproblem involves the attitude and roles of mother and father towardsaddressing the needs of children. Therapists emphasize that fathersand mothers require playing specific roles within a family in orderto raise a healthy emotions and relationships in a family (Minuchin,1974). This approach makes critics view SFT as a sexist approach forstabilizing dysfunctional relationships.


Minuchin,S. (1974). Families&amp family therapy.Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Nichols,M. P. (2012). Familytherapy: Concepts and methods (10th ed.).Boston: Pearson.

Calvert,C.A. (2008). StructuralFamily Therapy as a Treatment Modality to Decrease DepressiveSymptoms for Women Suffering from Postpartum Depression and ImproveFamily Functioning.ProQuest.