When people come to therapy, they often have a specific problem they want to fix. The trouble is, relationships rarely calm down when we put them under a microscope. Too much of an anxious focus can keep us stuck.
Dr. Bowen called this the “close-up view” and compared it to a football game. When you’re on the field, you don’t have the advantage of someone watching from the top of the stadium. You only see things from your corner. You miss the patterns.
“Close-up” problems often take the form of:
- Intense marital conflict
- Conflict with parents or in-laws
- A child with a mental illness or behavioral issue
- Being cut off from an immediate family member
- Drama at work or with friends
Zooming out requires you to begin to think about the emotional playing field of your own family. What were people up against? What was the family’s capacity to deal with these challenges?
Here are some examples of questions that can help you zoom out. Think about your own family when you were growing up, as well as the previous generations.(more…)