A family systems model for divorce and the loss of self

Judith Haber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The dissolution of a marriage through divorce represents a major loss in the lives of all family members. Losses can include those of a physical, social, and emotional nature. The self as it was defined within the marital context and the loss of that self as a result of divorce is a significant source of potential dysfunction in adult family members during and after the divorce. From a family systems' perspective, the lower the level of differentiation of self in family members, the greater is the likelihood that the self was defined in a fusional way during the marriage. As such, when the fused common self is lost through divorce, one or both spouses is likely to experience a significant sense of loss as well as potential dysfunction. The purpose of this article is to propose a model that helps divorced people deal with the loss of self and assists them to define a more differentiated sense of self.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-234
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Psychiatric Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health


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