enabling adj : providing legal power or sanction; "an enabling resolution"; "enabling power" [ant: disabling]
- present participle of enable
- This article describes enabling in its counselling or psychological sense. For enabling in an empowerment sense, see empowerment.
Enabling is a term with a double meaning.
As a positive term, it references patterns of interaction which allow individuals to develop and grow. These may be on any scale, for example within the family, or in wider society as "Enabling acts" designed to empower some group, or create a new authority for a (usually governmental) body.
It is also used in counselling and in the broader context of problematic behavior, to signify dysfunctional approaches that are intended to help but in fact may perpetuate the problem. A common theme of enabling in this latter sense is that third parties take responsibility, blame, or make accommodations for a person's harmful conduct (often with the best of intentions, or from fear or insecurity which inhibits action). The practical effect is that the person themselves does not have to do so, and is shielded from awareness of the harm it may do, and the need or pressure to change.
This article covers the latter meaning of the term.