Families Matter

Why Societal Origin and Family Structures
Are Important

About George Jonisch

Grasp the realities of global family systems and their implications in the social sciences blog from George Jonisch, PhD, Clinical Psychologist (ret.) Family Therapist. Following forty years of private clinical practice with individuals and families this website and blog will present a forum where a more integrated view of the social sciences (interpersonal, familial, social, economic, political) can be seen as a fruitful solution to today's family and global dilemmas.

Man and Women

There are demographic factors currently at work that remain outside the realm of traditional psychotherapy and societal concerns. In general, these factors have not been included in the professional therapy or social science literature, but they are relevant to families, developmental psychology, education and of course, parenting. The ultimate goal, beyond explaining these dynamics, is to interact with you, the reader, and to exchange ideas and implement them into real-world results.  

Join the discussion of the importance of
family systems around the world.

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With minor variations, throughout the twentieth and twenty first centuries middle class, educated and urban citizens of the cultures collectively called “the west” have been subjected to a variety of misinformation. For instance, that the economics profession had formulas and procedures that could be relied upon to fairly accurately predict, measure or even guide our economy's and citizen’s livelihoods. Successive governments on the left and right endorsed this assumption.

If you are interested in learning about “parenting” you are probably in search of how to be a “good” parent. This brings up another misinformed "western" concept; that there is only one definition of “good” human development, “good” relationships and “good” mental health. As a parent of five children and a double digit grandparent I can confidently refute both these notions. In fact I believe that these two assumptions among several others are connected not by conspiracies but by simple ignorance of certain readily available facts.

This blog has complicated but specific goals.

“The Social Sciences” is meant to be a scientific term referring to the “non-physical sciences.” To my mind there is no single body of integrated knowledge concerning humans and humanity. There are many separate (mostly randomized and digitized) spheres of investigation. There is no current sphere of knowledge that meaningfully integrates (through integrating useful vocabulary and multi-dimensional concepts) the separate social sciences.

By explaining certain processes of how family systems work to economists and governance experts, and by explaining the principles of macroeconomics, history and governance to psychotherapists we hope to promote dialog among all these fields. Between the developing individual and the multi-dimensional society is the family; and all its hidden processes. Can we study any two sides of this triangle (individual - family - society) without details of the (family) angle in the middle?

Most notably, we point to a consistent world-wide disparity between two societal types:

(1. "The West" which entails the English and Germanic speaking countries; (the northwest of Europe, North America, New Zealand and Australia)

(2. "The Rest" which entails eastern Europe, the Middle East, India, most of Africa, South America and most of Asia)

(For more details, please Click Here or choose any of the choices in the MENU above.)

Differences between these two groups entail significant patterns in family structure and functioning. This disparity also encompasses multiple dimensions of human experience. We point to two different gestalts (organized frameworks). Both these gestalts encompass attitudes, values, beliefs and behavior on child-rearing, personal, social, political and economic levels.

These are not random traits or values: pre-industrial societies do not address citizenship, political and economic processes the way post-industrial societies do. Pre-industrial parents do not address parenting and family issues in the way post-industrial families address them. Integrity, intimacy, marriage, and filial devotion are seen quite differently. What distinguishes group1 (eastern & southern" preindustrial, agrarian cultures) from group2 (western  & northern postindustrial, urban/modernity cultures) parenting and family patterns? (Click Here)

Another key term which we consider important for parents is " the multi-generational transmission process." The societal and family processes that are described here do not last just in your lifetime. These patterns last into two or three generations. Gramma's way of raising children has a good chance of affecting your kids; believe it or not. (Click Here)

Understanding individuals and families in a framework emphasizing integration of these different social science fields led to faster, deeper resolution of the presenting child, family and parenting problems.

Mother and Daughter

We believe that this fundamental principle, responsibly applied, can help modify, explain and predict personal, societal, and economic behavior more effectively than "objective" numbers, however parsed and extrapolated. Numbers can be our eyes but never our brains.

Accordingly, we argue for a comprehensive, interdisciplinary study of social phenomena at micro and macro levels. This approach must analyze and testify to universal human tendencies, functioning at the levels of individual, family, local and broader culture, political organization, and macroeconomic structure. Such an approach will help illuminate circular, self-perpetuating connections between family rules, legal institutions, commercial law and theory.

Please remember, our goals are to maximize your choices and effectiveness as executives in your children’s development. We believe your evaluating and absorbing the concepts learned here, will help your children achieve more choices and life successes as they grow into mature adults.  The more integrating principles that we have derived might be seen as controversial. They are derived from the thinking and hypotheses that are laid out on the other sections and pages of this web site.

Menu (in upper right corner of this page) contains a SUMMARY section so you can see if this approach makes sense to you.

If you seek deeper or more elaborate advice and background theory, start with the Intro pages (in Menu) and/or Connections sections.

Please go to The Menu for more details .

We welcome all questions and comments. Please send all questions or comments to:

We will do our best to respond to each one.

Email addresses will not be published unless specifically requested.


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