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Suicide: A Family Emotional Regression
 
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Code: DJ 6.1 (2) DeShong
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Hal DeShong, PhD

When an individual suicides, an anxiety storm sweeps through the family system and overwhelms objectivity. In calmer moments, those involved perceive that many individuals and variables have played a part; but when the pressure is on, the seductive tendency is to explain what has occurred through reductionistic speculations and conclusions. Members of the family system are drawn toward blaming a person, a relationship, a substance, an event, or a simplistic combination of these. The interactive broader picture is lost in the effort to subdue enormous anxiety.

Suicide, viewed from a Bowen systems perspective, is a manifestation of a family emotional system in disorder. This paper examines the facts in one family's regressive emotional system. It is hoped that this examination will stimulate interest in the question: If a family had a way of understanding emotional processing how the functioning of each member influences the system, particularly how certain positions collect uneven portions of chronic anxiety, and how the functioning of each member either promotes or undermines this processing could a regression be slowed enough to reduce the lethality of the situation?


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