What do you mean by self-differentiation?

Self-DifferentiationThe concept of self-differentiation has roots in the work of psychiatrist Dr. Murry Bowen. Dr. Bowen essentially defined self-differentiation as the ability to be more of a separate self by making a clearer distinction between one’s own thoughts and feelings and the thoughts and feelings of others. To be more self-differentiated means to have a solid sense of self even when the pressure to conform is challenging. It also allows one to maintain close and meaningful relationships with others, while not being so close as to lose oneself in the thoughts and feelings of others. In other words, a self-differentiated person can take a step back, see and think about what’s going on in the people and within the activities around them, and then choose an appropriate response to the anxiety they see and feel, instead of having an unconscious reaction.

In Resilient Leadership terms, several concepts are touched upon in this definition of self-differentiation. We talk about the ability to “stay calm, stay the course and stay connected.” We talk about how to be “close enough to influence, but distant enough to lead.” We also talk about “getting out on the balcony” and being a curious observer of the “emotional system” swirling in and all around you and asking yourself “what is my role in this?” Each of these concepts are contained within the definition above, and so to learn how to do practice these, contact us at reslientleadershipdevelopment.com

Mike Nowland

Mike Nowland
To learn more about how you can apply Resilient Leadership concepts to your leadership presence, contact Mike Nowland at mnowland@resilientleadershipdevelopment.com.