About the Course
The triangle is the basic building block of an emotional system. It is the smallest stable relationship system. A two person system is stable in times of calmness or low anxiety. However, when tension increases between two persons, one party will automatically involve a third person. How does the triangle relationship system work? When anxiety is low, there will be a comfortable twosome and an outsider. The comfortable twosome work to maintain togetherness so that one of the twosome will not seek togetherness elsewhere. The outsider seeks to establish togetherness with one of the twosome. Moderate tension is typically felt by one of the twosome while the other party is unaware of the tension. The uncomfortable one seeks togetherness with another, thus moving the system to a new equilibrium. In times of anxiety the most comfortable position in the triangle is the outside. However, when the outside person refuses to be involved, then one of the twosome will reach outside the triangle and involve a fourth person. This frees the original outsider for involvement later. The universal example of the triangle is the Primary Triangle, consisting of Mother, Father and Child. Everyone has this. Often, this triangle operates with one parent (commonly the Mother) and the child functioning as insiders, and the Father is the outsider. But, as in all triangles, the dynamics shift at times.
Jake Morrill is a minister, therapist, non-profit director, and leadership coach. He started serious study of systems thinking in 2004, after getting caught up in a church fight. Currently, he’s in his sixth year of the Post-Graduate Program at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family; he is also part of the Bowen Theory study group and the Bowen Theory in Organizations study group, both housed at the Bowen Center. This fall, Rockridge Press will publish his book, Unlocking the Art of Forgiveness. His website is www.jakemorrill.com.