Entitlement generally has a negative connotation. Individuals who are labeled as “entitled” are often described as greedy, demanding, and/or overprivileged. Entitlement has a different connotation in couple and family therapy and is most commonly used within the model of contextual family therapy (CFT) developed by Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy. It most often refers to what one is deserving of or owed in significant relationships, and it can be relationally constructive or destructive. This entry begins with a discussion of how entitlement differs in horizontal and vertical relationships. It then defines constructive and destructive entitlement and explores both concepts through examples.

Horizontal and Vertical Relationships

The structure of significant relationships helps to determine what one is entitled to. In CFT, it is ideal when significant relationships are balanced. Balance means ...

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