Fusion is a multidimensional theoretical concept developed by Murray Bowen, one of the pioneers of marriage and family therapy. As defined by Bowen, fusion is a manifestation of the lack of differentiation between self and other in interpersonal relationships, which is typified by extreme emotional (over)connection to another and a lack of differentiation between emotional and cognitive processes in the self. In this entry, fusion is discussed in the context of Bowen’s family systems theory and is contrasted with the concept of emotional cutoff, which is another concept developed by Bowen but one reflecting the other end of the same emotional continuum. Interpersonal and intrapersonal processes related to fusion as manifestations of emotional reactivity are also explained.

In Bowen family systems theory, the role of ...

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