This paper explores the utility of triadic analysis as a conceptual tool for clinical sociologists. Departing from earlier research on patterns of interaction, triads are emphasized over dyads as the structural basis of both micro- and macro-processes, and interdependency is recognized as a decisive influence in the formation and dynamics of triads.

Clinical examples and applications of triadic analysis suggest that stress and conflict within a dyad prompt its members to seek out a third party to neutralize the tension. A third party functions to stabilize the dyad, in some cases as participant in a new dyadic coalition within the triad. Until the original dyadic stress is effectively lowered, third parties are continuously sought. This predictable outreach creates networks that stabilize dyads and relationship systems.

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