Leone Centre Glossary

Boundaries and roles in family therapy

Boundaries and roles

In family therapy, boundaries and roles are essential components that help define the relationships and interactions within the family unit. Boundaries in family therapy refer to the rules and limits that define interactions and responsibilities within the family. These boundaries can be physical, emotional, or psychological. Roles are the functions or parts individuals play within the family system. These can include parental roles, sibling roles, and other family-specific roles.

Common challenges

Family therapy often addresses issues arising from unclear boundaries and roles, such as conflict, miscommunication, and emotional distress. Understanding these concepts is important for developing healthy family dynamics.

Promoting stability

Clear boundaries and well-defined roles contribute to a stable family environment, reducing conflicts and encouraging mutual respect.

Therapeutic approaches

Family therapists use various approaches to help families establish and maintain healthy boundaries and roles, such as role-playing, setting rules, and communication exercises.


What are boundaries in family therapy?
Boundaries are the rules and limits that define interactions and responsibilities within the family, ensuring healthy and respectful relationships.
Why are roles important in family therapy?
Roles help clarify each family member’s responsibilities and expectations, promoting a sense of order and understanding.
How does family therapy address boundary issues?
Family therapy uses approaches such as role-playing and communication exercises to help establish and maintain healthy boundaries.
Can family therapy help with role confusion?
Yes, family therapy can assist in clarifying roles and responsibilities, reducing confusion and improving family dynamics.


  1. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy: Boundaries in Family Therapy
  2. Psychology Today: Family Therapy
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This glossary provides definitions of various counselling terms and approaches for informational purposes only, without implying endorsement or service provision