Differentiation Coaching

You can't be a We...if you don't have a Me.


The ability to define and maintain one’s sense of Self while being intimately connected to another.  

Explain what you mean by differentiation.

Differentiation is best described as the ability to define and maintain one’s individuality while being fully engaged with another person or persons.  It is the ability to be a team player and an individual…all at the same time…both a Me and a We.

How did the concept of differentiation get started?

Differentiation or differentiation of self is a concept that originated in the work of Murray Bowen who developed a form of family therapy known as Bowen Family Systems Theory.  Bowen theory is a unique form of family therapy that identifies eight specific concepts related to familial and/or systemic dynamics.

Bowen conceptualized the therapist as a type of coach who comes alongside the client and models the attributes of a differentiated person.  Some of the primary concepts of Bowenian theory include balancing one’s togetherness and individuality needs, the ability to separate self from others and thinking from feeling and addressing the intergenerational patterns of behavior learned in one’s family of origin.

Additional concepts include the process of fusion, emotional cutoff, emotional reactivity, triangulation and chronic anxiety.

Why is it important to be differentiated?

Part of being a relationally healthy person is the ability to maintain one’s sense of Self in the midst of relational pressure. Healthy relationships do not require the loss of self or individual identity. Relationally healthy people are able to be intimately involved with others and maintain their personal integrity. In other words, differentiated people do not sacrifice pieces of their Self in order to maintain the integrity of the relationship, nor do differentiated people allow others to compromise or erode their sense of Self.

What does differentiation have to do with relationships?

The goal of any relationship is to complement not complete. Relationships based on a fusing of two Selfs into one, more commonly known as codependency, enmeshment or fusion generally result in relational dysfunction and failure while relationships that allow for the integrity of the self, i.e., good boundaries, mutuality and equality result in relational health, satisfaction and well-being. Differentiation is the foundation from which all relational health is build because you must can’t be a We if you don’t have a Me.

What is a Differentiation Coach?

A differentiation coach is a specialist in Bowenian therapy which is a type of marriage and family therapy known as Bowen Family Systems Theory. Bowen theory is unique in its focus and acknowledgment of the individual within the context of the family system. A Bowenian therapist or Differentiation Coach, assists, supports, encourages, explains and models a differentiated way of being for and with their clients.

Much a a mentor might guide, urge, tutor and motivate their mentee, a Differentiation Coach acts as a facilitator for their client’s expanded and more clearly defined sense of self and relational health.

How do I get started with a Differentiation Coach?

Simply call our office direct at


Or… schedule your appointment online.


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Learning to be a more fully differentiated person does not have to be a scary or confusing process.

In fact, the process of becoming a more fully functional and integrated Self while remaining intimately connected with others can be an exciting and rewarding journey.

Call the counseling center today to find out how Differentiation Coaching can help you grow your relational health and well-being.



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For more information about how differentiation coaching can help you discover the wonder and joy of relational intimacy while retaining your sense of individuality…

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A new way of thinking…that becomes a new way of being…