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Fam Process. 1982 Mar;21(1):21-41.

Beyond homeostasis: toward a concept of coherence.


The concept of homeostasis has served as a major building block, if not the cornerstone, of family theory and family therapy. Designed to account for the perceived stability of systems (and symptoms), homeostasis is an epistemologically flawed concept that has repetitively been used in the service of dualistic, animistic, and vitalistic interpretations of systems. Accordingly, homeostasis has led to quirky clinical formulations and a great deal of fuzzy theorizing. This paper contends that the notion of homeostasis is fundamentally inconsistent with systemic epistemology and should be replaced with the more compatible concept of coherence. Whereas homeostasis is a heuristic concept that is not part of a more encompassing theory, the concept of coherence is inseparable from the epistemology in which it is embedded.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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