Family Systems Therapy

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's February 2008

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Family systems therapy?s main focus is on the interactions between family members. This type of therapy views the entire family as one unit. Each family is also part of a larger system of neighborhoods, towns and cities and so forth. If any part of the system changes, the whole system reflects a change. Communication is an important aspect of family system therapy. Feedback is the communication pattern, which is either linear or circular, within the units of the system. In the linear manner, communication moves in one direction. With circular feedback, communication moves in any direction and to any unit in the system. Family systems therapy emphasizes circular interaction. There is also an emphasis on the process rather than the content. Family systems therapy focuses on the entire family as the context of the problem. Early research on schizophrenic children and adolescents as part of family systems led to the concepts and ideas that are used in the current practice of family therapy.

There are many different family systems therapy approaches. Some of these include, intergenerational, structural, strategic, experiential, solution focused, and narrative.

The goal the intergenerational approach is to help families reduce their general stress level and to find ways to help family members become more differentiated. When thoughts and feelings are not differentiated, fusion occurs. If there is inadequate differentiation, triangulation takes place. This is when there is stress between two people in a system and they bring another into the conflict to alleviate tension. The therapist triangulates in a differentiated way while attending to triangulation patterns in the family system. Evaluation and a process of taking a family history (through genograms) come before therapeutic intervention. A genogram is a method of diagramming families and includes information about families such as ages, sex, marriage and death dates...