There is an increasing interest in and need for family models. One such model is the Olson Circumplex Model, previously reported in this journal (18). This model is compared and contrasted with the Beavers Systems Model, which was also developed from empirical data and has had extensive use in family assessment. Though both are cross-sectional, process-oriented, and capable of providing structure for family research, we believe there are certain short-comings in the Olson model that make it less clinically useful than the Beavers Systems Model. These include definitional problems and a total reliance on curvilinear dimensions with a grid approach to family typology that does not acknowledge a separation/individuation continuum. Our model avoids these deficiencies and includes a continuum of functional competence that reflects the development and differentiation of many living systems, including the family.
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