FAMCUM is the one who exhibits the symptoms



Definition: The term “famcum”
is derived from the abbreviation of family (fam) and from the Latin word cum, which
means “with”. Donald Bloch first coins the term. Famcum defines a family in
which one member is identified as carrying the symptoms and designated as sick.
One member of the family is the carrier of the symptoms for the entire family.
Although the whole family carries the symptoms, only one member is seen as
exhibiting the symptoms overtly. 


Example: A family goes to a
therapist seeking help for their son, who is suffering complicated grief after
loss of his grandfather, who died in a car accident.  He feels intense sorrow and pain. He focuses
extremely on his grandfather’s death and reminders of him. He doesn’t talk to
his parents and distance him from them. The family asks the therapist to treat
the son from complicated grief. In fact, the whole family is experiencing
complicated grief, but they don’t exhibit the symptoms overtly, they are
experiencing it inside. The son is the one who exhibits the symptoms overtly
and he is seen as the carrier of symptoms.





Definition: R. D. Laing coined the term
“mystification” to describe a manipulative maneuver. It is concept, which
appears mostly in schizophrenic families. Mystification occurs when the parents
deny the feelings of their child to the extent that the child develops mistrust
and begins to lack confidence. As a result the child can no longer trust and
rely on its own perceptions. The child develops false constructions about the
reality and its experiences and feels confused. It describes a process how
manipulative maneuvers, invalidated experiences and elastic boundaries cause an
individual to become schizophrenic.


Example: A child is watching television loudly at
night. Her mother wants to sit quietly and read her book and relax. She wants
that the child go to bed and leave her alone. A straight statement would be “I
am tired, be quiet.”, “Go to your bed, right now!”, “Turn off the volume.”. A
mystification example would be “It has been a long way for you darling. I am
sure you feel tired. Tomorrow will be a long day, you have a lot to do. You
want to go to bed and have some rest darling, don’t you?”. These statements
induce the child to turn off the TV, go to bed and leave her mother alone.
Rather than directly demanding the child to go to bed, the mother induces the
feeling that the child is tired and should go to bed.




Definition: Speck coined the term “network therapy”,
which is a kind of psychotherapy. In this type of therapy not only the family
or patient are involved. Friends, neighbors, extended relative, peer, work
colleagues and other peoples take part in the psychotherapy. They might play an
important role and be helpful in the therapy and recovery process of the


Example: A family goes to a therapist because
their son is addicted drugs and alcohol. First, the therapist talks to the
parents and the son. The therapist finds out that the cause of the drug and
alcohol addiction doesn’t arise from the nuclear family. Afterwards, the
therapist tries to find out the causes and circumstances, which leads the son
to use drugs and treat the addiction problem. To do this, the therapist make
interviews with the boy’s teachers in high school, his classmates, his friends
outside the school, extended family members, his work colleagues from his
part-time job, his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s family. The therapist
engages them in the psychotherapy and establishes a supportive network composed
of friends, teachers and family for the patient.




Definition: The term “rubber fence” is a concept in
family systems theory introduced by Lyman Wynne. Rubber fence is like an
invisible barrier surrounding the family. This barrier allows some information
to be passed to the family and some to be ignored. The family decides what is
permeable and what is impermeable. Rubber fence helps the family members to
relate themselves to the outside and also keep the distance with the outside
world to deny extra familial involvement. It maintains the balance between the
family and outside world. If anyone outside the family tries to enter the
family or change the family system, they bounce off the rubber fence. The
rubber fence is maintained by closeness, criticism, guilting and believing that
family is the first.


Example: A couple experiences communication
problems and continuous arguing. The husband and his wife are always in
conflict and don’t listen to what their partner wants. They always argue before
doing something. One of their friends suggests them to see a family therapist
to work on the problem. They deny it and say that they don’t want that a third
person deal with their problems. Their friend arranges a meeting with a therapist.
As the conversation goes therapist represents some solutions and advices to
them but they say that they want to leave and refuse the help. They bounce off
the therapist’s and their friend’s help. They believe they are a close family
system and no one should interfere their life and try to change them.





Definition: System suction occurs when the family is
resistant to change in the course of the family therapy. It makes the
therapist’s job hard. It happens when the family maneuvers the therapist to
join the family system. Thereby, the objectivity and helpfulness of the
therapist is limited.


Example: A family goes to the therapist asking
help for their daughter’s eating problems. The daughter refuses to eat and
doesn’t talk to her parents. The mother and the father are always fighting and
yelling at each other. They argue almost every day. However, the mother and the
father don’t talk about their problems. They see their daughter as having
problems and they want to therapist to see their daughter as bad, they try to
pull the therapist in the family system and make their daughter seem bad, in
order to fix only the daughter. They resist the idea that their daughter is
having eating problems because of their continuous fight, they refuse that they
need help.