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Intergenerational Loyalty

Intergenerational loyalty refers to a sense of preferential commitment experienced between family members, particularly children and their parents. The concept can help therapists make sense of their clients’ conscious and unconscious motivations. Individuals may be driven by a loyalty to members of their family’s previous generation, or a desire to restore a sense of justice or fairness to their family system. In this entry, a brief history of the term is provided, followed by a discussion of its philosophical roots and usefulness in determining family therapy goals and interventions.

Contextual Family Therapy

In contextual family therapy, Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy described intergenerational loyalty as an indebtedness children feel in response to resources, nurturance, and values they receive from the older generation. This loyalty prompts children to reciprocate and/or ...

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