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.


Started= monday, july 22, 2017,

Current=Wednesday, July 26, 2017=latest 26-Jul-17 9:04:54 AM

The purpose of these essays is to draw attention to the current inadequate level of meaningful, practical, and usable information from what is referred to as 'the social sciences '. "Psychobabble" and other such terms reflect popular recognition of this inadequacy.

We seek to add to a process that will eventually lead to a theoretical framework, useful to lay and professional readers, that favors integration of multi-sourced, fully human, data and theory.

Almost all, of the factors mentioned here from the various disciplines, have been explored individually before in different contexts and times. They have not, to our knowledge, been integrated in theory or through a vocabulary that reflects more human ways of functioning; multidimensional and compatible with non-linear, spiraling, systemically interactive principles

Is there in fact a way to connect psychology/anthropology to current macroeconomic concerns?

Can economists working on the Greek-Eurozone economy benefit from 20th century history or even ancient roman history? Can family therapy systems theory be of help to better understand eurozone governance?

We expect to bring the following new point of view to the table for your consideration:

1)  We know of no attempts to integrate financial, macroeconomic vectors into the clinical psychology and psychopathology body of theory.

2)  We know of no attempts to theoretically integrate psychological, cultural and ethnic studies into societal functioning and governance/macroeconomic policy.

For instance, “family systems theory” (and general systems theory on an institution and business level) contains certain working principles and assumptions; these are powerful but unpopular in behavioral science today. These include

1. Theoretical explanations of the typical flow and distribution of power, in systems of all kinds (e.g. Power always flows downstream and therefore, the headwaters of that power stream is where we should first look to discover clues to persistent dysfunction within the elements of any system).

2. Explanations utilizing the “multi-generation transmission process” (a most powerful and still mysterious process in families and even societies. See the works of Murray Bowen, MD for more clinical details.)

There is one central theme in our approach.

We think it will be considered the most controversial.

Surely it goes against a three hundred year assumption, started in “the west” by the “enlightenment” and the philosophers of that time. Namely that man’s logical brain is in charge (or can be trained to be in charge) of his behavior both personally in family life and in societal issues such as government and economics. We are not alone in challenging this assumption but we will try to make a difference by introducing certain facts, theories and the beginnings of an integrated social science approach.

From all the above we have come to one unifying theme:

The single most important but unpopular dimension in explaining the motivational system in most human beings is a bio/psychological, physiologically induced tribalism.

Biologically, we believe that a tribal gene exists in all pack/herd animals such as wolves, dogs, lions and all primates (unlike solitary hunters such as bears, tigers, most cats).

We believe that human beings’ behavior is a function of many dimensions. We propose that an unexplored area is our primate related tribal nature.

We, unknowingly, are motivated on a pack/tribe basis and rather than from learning, our genes make it so.

We believe to be true, that there is an inherited behavioral pattern that includes:

1)  The tendency to affiliate and to feel anxious when the affiliated state is put in jeopardy. Feeling truly isolated or alone in thought, behavior or feelings of identity is most unpleasant for all primates. (Could that be part of why “solitary confinement” is a serious punishment?)

2)  The biology based tendency to establish interpersonal and organizational hierarchies within any established human family, clan, or any other primate group.

3)  The tendency to reckon, usually unknowingly, on our “group” standing and to take group/pack approval (or internalized identity based group) very much into account. This is most evident during the pre-21 years.

4)  The tendency to be unaware of this tribal dimension and motivational system in our lives and in societal functioning.

In order to repair and justify further explorations into a science that seeks to describe the nature of being human...

We propose that the nature of being human must be seen in an integrated and interactive theoretical framework that contains integrated elements from all the non-sciences that are currently called "social".

Of necessity, this new framework would require a "non-PC" vocabulary that is explicitly non-linear, and that lends itself to describing multi-leveled, spiraling and interacting, and constantly evolving, processes.

As stated, a focus on what we call "tribalism" is central to our point of view. Our view of tribalism and its universal presence is multi-faceted.

Man and Woman

>>>> It includes the following circular, interactive inputs:

>>>> 1. biological-chromosomal

>>>> 2. Which leads to social

>>>> 3. Which leads to individual

>>>> 4. Economic

>>>> 5. Governance/Political

>>>> 6. #s 3,4 and 5 can be seen in history

George Jonisch, phd

Clinical psychologist, (ret.)

Family therapy



Started= Monday, July 23, 2017,

Current=Wednesday, July 26, 2017=latest 26-Jul-17 8:59:40 AM


What are the tools and mechanisms that will facilitate a more integrative theoretical framework? Each principal described below can be a tool when applied outside its specialty.

For instance, I do not know of any family therapy articles that take into account the macroeconomic environment that any particular family inhabits. Is that important?

You bet it is.

As stated in PART1 we start with the universality of tribalism and its evolutionary origins.

1.     Karl Marx said that “Religion is the opiate of the people.” We think community and its predictable stable, person to person connections is the opiate of the people. Religion is only one conveyance of that human, necessary source of identity, reassurance and anxiety-reduction.

2.     We hypothesize that “the wish to be part of something bigger than ourselves” has a component of tribalism within it. It is usually unwise for any authority (personal or societal) to mess with that.

2. “The multigeneration generation transmission process” which is a tool for therapists who work in a family systems context. They use this concept to understand and help families grow. It can be applied to long lasting groups much larger than families such as clans tribes, and societies.

3. Currency and money theory is crucial for world trade and financial stability but is outside most citizens' concerns or even their awareness.

Apparently it is also outside the consciousness of most behavioral scientists other than economists and some, not all, economic historians.

For instance “The rise of Protestantism in the 16th century weakened Rome's influence, and its dictates against usury became irrelevant in some areas. That would free up the development of banking in Northern Europe” (Wikipedia). Is it a coincidence that the industrial revolution and its connection to capitalism started in the Protestant countries, thus illustrating integration of macroeconomics with social and historical factors?

Is it a coincidence that the Northern European countries today, use a macroeconomic approach that favors currency stability and long lasting reliability? The Southern European (and many South American) countries have a history of currency manipulation and default.

Did the Protestant ethic and the character values and traits it professed make the difference for those Northern Europeans?

4. # 3 leads us to the next concept: The histories of the different geographical areas on the globe and their multi-generational impact on commerce, trade, warfare, alien occupation, all of which leads to different “national character” formation have not been explored in most University or intellectual sites.

We believe there are certain concepts originating in the various disciplines that can be used as integrating vectors. For instance the multi-generation transmission process when properly understood, might be relevant to changing north-south eurozone  economic patterns‎.

Similarly, can an understanding of pre and post-industrial patterns help the Eurozone cope with the immigration crisis?


George jonisch, phd

Clinical psychologist, (ret.)

Family therapy


More details:

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.

E-mail us with questions and or comments.

We would love to hear from you!


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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