Tommy Johnson's Archive

It’s a Beautiful day in the Exosystem

8 Commentsby   |  11.09.09  |  Uncategorized

The exosystem represents the social structures that form the immediate context in which families and individuals function. These structures include systems such as neighborhoods and the interconnections among its elements, such as school, peer group, church, and work place (Bronfenbrenner, 1977), as well as informal social networks and formal support groups. More »

Tommy Johnson's Comment Archive

  1. Dr. Goff, I believe that my family was covertly racist too! I think we also watched shows like Promised Land, 7th Heaven, and Touched by an Angel to show that if you only had more faith–God will bless any family! Yikes! I do not believe this now, however. Well, I guess I would have to change it to believe what I think is underlying in the statement. Like, I believe that families who have faith in God are fulfilled in a different way than if they are not… There was a lot of religious anxiety in my family, which caused those shows to add to our Exosystem.

  2. Tommy Johnson on Emotional Cutoff
    11:04 am, 11.30.09

    Differences between emotional cut-off and independence is based upon differentiation–I suppose. I mean if you leave home and say “I’m never coming back”. You will be cut-off. And, you aren’t very differentiated, because inside the back of your mind (I’m guessing), you wanted to hurt somebody with your response. This is not differentiated or independent. On the other hand, if you plan and determine with your family that you want to leave, because you need to discover your own dreams. The family, depending on the family, would probably accept this and give you their blessings.

    If one is differentiated with their family on the front end, I think that this adds to the growth of the family’s behaviors (cut-off vs. independence) toward that individual. In this independence phase, the individual has to continue with contact–otherwise they still have to chance of being cut-off. They aren’t being cut-off because of differentiation this time, but because of distance.

    Relationships going through change are tricky. There has to be work on the front end to grease the wheels (morphogenesis), perpetual filling of the gas (negentropy), and then balance the stops that are made (morphostasis /homeostasis).

    I like to think of movie families when I think of cut-off versus independence. Picture the Tennenbaums. They cut-off Royal, because he left on bad terms and never contacted them. However, the three children were just independent when they left, because they continued to have a relationship and contact with their mother. If you haven’t seen The Royal Tennenbaums, you must watch it over the break! It’s a therapist’s jack-pot! ha! Is that ethical to say?

  3. Tommy Johnson on Second-Order Change
    10:51 am, 11.30.09

    I just got back from Thanksgiving, so I think I want to tackle to FOO question. Ok Second Order change in a family. I’m sure every family has it intricacies. But, my family tip toes around change. The thing that actually catapults us into change is an emotional outburst.
    This outburst usually has been from my sister or mother. But, my dad or I could be the instigators as well. Anyway, after the error message or outburst happens–then all members in the system try to correct the behaviors that caused the deviation. I think when we have “good” family talks, we are processing and changing the rules about the rules–so that all members in the family can be functional/”happy”.

  4. Tommy Johnson on Mesosystems
    10:39 am, 11.30.09

    Yes, I think that Mesosystems impact the early development of children and adolescents. Parents have a role in choosing children’s day-to-day mesosystems.
    Do they home-school? Send them to private school? or Send them to public School?
    That there has just impacted the people that the child will interact with for 13 years, the mentors the child will come into contact with, and all of the social implications and dynamics that the child is faced with.
    Inside of that however is the real mesosystems. The relationships within the schools. The friends made, the enemies hated, and the teachers whom save the day.

    One of the best examples that I can think of (and it does involve education) is the movie, “American History X”. Danny is in a class where he wrote a paper on “Mein Kampf” (a book by Hitler…Danny is a white supremacist). His principal took charge and made a relationship with Danny, because he didn’t want him to end up in prison like his brother Derek did. This relationship is an impactful relationship that comes outside of the family unit (I suppose it could be in the family unit as well…)

  5. 1. Hitler and the Nazis. Basically their evil sparked lots of change. And then the “good” people that followed up after them made significant change as well.

    2. Ok, hmm. I would stop the world from making the Atomic Bomb! After the Manhattan Project and the creation of the “A” bomb–everything got much more chaotic and anxious. I mean let’s think about it. Even in the olden days, if you knew that you were going to be in war…that was just it–you were in war. But, now after the atom bomb, if we think we are going to be in war. We are so pre-emptive in trying to stop it. The US (and I’m sure other countries are too…) is an Overfunctioner because of the Atom Bomb/Cold-War/Terrorism.

    3. Morgan Myrick with her new line of Sex Therapy.

  6. Tommy Johnson on Resistance
    10:17 am, 11.30.09

    Briefly I just wanted to add that in Youth Ministry, a lot of the times this is what you are faced with. Kids are pretty resistant. It takes time, and a lot of joining for them to ever want to talk to you about spiritually significant stuff. That said. Every individual resists less and less on their own time, no one is really going at the same speed. The kids in the youth group, or the client might resist only about a certain subject matter. He or she also might resist to change.

    3. I think there are several ways to avoid resistance in therapy. First, don’t take ourselves too too seriously. Yes, we need to be professionals, but we need to also understand that therapy takes time. The individual is not going to share all of their “goodies” the first go-around. Second, be collaborative. Whatever that looks like in the model of your choice. This builds trust with the individual. Finally, of course, genuineness, empathy, and non-possessive warmth. So we be active listeners/empathizers/and not taking one side versus the other (which might cause the most resistance). Let the individual reach the change moment, we will help along the way.