Up to now the family therapy movement has done better in the area of how-to-change-it than of what-to-change. Descriptions of the creature that family therapists are out to get have been notoriously unsatisfactory. Clinicians know that there is something rustling about in the bushes, but nobody has done a good job of finding it and explaining what it is. It has eluded efforts to put it in terms of communication patterns (the double bind, for instance), as well as attempts to be more global and tie it to a type of family structure ( Minuchin's "enmeshed" family; Bowen's "undifferentiated family ego mass"). Qualities or traits indicating a family guaranteed to produce dysfunction, such as Wynne's "pseudomutuality" and Bowen's "fusion," are suggestive but poorly attached to any particular symptomatic configuration.
As the search continued, the triadic concepts of coalition theory seemed to point to a more useful unit, one larger than the interchange but smaller than the family. Constructions like Haley's