Family Systems

Family systems therapy is a therapeutic technique that thinks about the family as a single, emotional unit. Each action and family member affects the others. Family systems therapy focuses on families and couples in intimate relationships with a goal of nurturing change and development. It tends to view change in terms of the systems of interaction between family members. It emphasizes family relationships as an important factor in psychological health. A professional trained in this technique will work on understanding the relationships within a family, and create a family history that will be the foundation for how current behaviors are viewed. No individual can be understood in isolation from the others in the familial unit. Issues shared among family members, such as substance abuse, depression, eating disorders, anxiety, and schizophrenia are good candidates for a family systems approach. Think this approach might work for you? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s family systems specialists today.

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Meet the specialists

 

As a marriage and family therapist my primary training and expertise is in family systems and working with relationship dynamics.

— Alana Ogilvie, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Portland, OR

I have always strived to bring family members into the healing process, when appropriate, to ensure everyone is doing their part to help healing take place. Everyone is a part of many different systems, whether that be school, work, your social circle, ethnic groups, family, etc. All these systems come together to impact us, and ensuring we address and have awareness of these can help up figure out what we have control over and what we don't.

— Devan Briggs, Licensed Professional Counselor in Glendale, AZ
 

Family therapy can be extremely beneficial if communication is out of sync in your system. The goal of family therapy is to help create better understanding, improve communication, and foster a higher functioning home environment. Utilizing a systemic lens I view what's going on in your family as a whole system rather than it's individual parts. We collaborate to figure out how get your system working in a way that is healthy for you and your whole family.

— Jessamy Whitsitt, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Seattle, WA

I use my training in Family Systems to conceptualize presenting problems you may have in a relational way, rather than approaching one person as the "identified patient" thought to be the one with the mental disorder. When a problem is viewed as relational rather than as one person's "fault", we can discover new ways of healing such as identifying intergenerational trauma, creating better boundaries, learning communication skills, and cultivating more honesty, safety and ease in relationships.

— Grace Martin, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Oak Park, IL
 

While families can offer unique understanding and support, they can also be a source of stress and suffering. Some changes can increase stress and impact a family's relationship quality and in turn, individual members' mental health. These changes include: moves, illness, loss, or life transitions. A family approach to treatment can help you and your family improve your understanding of each other, build empathy, establish and maintain important boundaries, and strengthen your relationships.

— Thai Alonso, Psychologist in Watchung, NJ

I help clients look through their family of origin connections to help them discover their sources of anxiety, stress, and how those connections influence their present choices

— William Hemphill, Licensed Professional Counselor in Decatur, GA
 

While families can offer unique understanding and support, they can also be a source of stress and suffering. Some changes can increase stress and impact a family’s relationship quality and in turn, members' mental health. These changes may include moves, illness, loss, or life transitions. A family approach to treatment can help you and your family improve your understanding of each other, build empathy, establish and maintain important boundaries, and strengthen your relationships.

— Thai Alonso, Psychologist in Watchung, NJ

Family therapy is the therapy that is the closest to my heart. I am fascinated by families and I always have been. It was the first therapy that I started practicing as a clinician, and the first graduate degree I obtained was from The University of Kentucky, an AAAMFT approved program. The complexity of the family system is such a thing to behold, even when in crisis.

— Paige L. Freeman, Ph.D., PLLC, Psychologist in Houston, TX
 

I have experience and training working with families and their complex systems of relationships. Family systems acknowledges generational influences on family and individual behavior. Identifying multigenerational behavioral patterns, such as management of anxiety, can help people see how their current problems may be rooted in previous generations.

— Kathryn Krug, Marriage & Family Therapist in Santee, CA

Bowen Family Systems Theory is concentrated on eight prominent theoretical concepts: Multi-Generational Transmission Process, Nuclear Family Emotional Process, Family Projection Process, Emotional Cutoff, Sibling Position, Triangulation, Differentiation of Self, and Societal Emotional Transmission Process. I use these concepts as the overarching principles in my approach to uncovering patterns that bind anxiety and relational issues.

— Federico Mendez, Marriage & Family Therapist in Fort Worth, TX
 

With my Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy and being half-way through a PhD in Couple and Family Therapy, Family Systems is the air I breathe. None of us exist in a vacuum, and systemic (family) therapy allows you to identify the different systems you interact with and see the influences.

— Gabrielle Gebel, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Chicago, IL

I always knew I wanted to work with individuals, but I specifically chose systemic "marriage and family" training because I value seeing my clients in context. I have also experienced being a systemic therapy client, and I valued the non-pathologizing, multifaceted approach. My graduate education, internship, and professional experience have been in systemic settings, and I seek regular supervision from my systemically-trained supervisors and consultants.

— Easin Beck, Marriage & Family Therapist in Phoenixville, PA
 

The early years in which we are developing physically and emotionally are some of the most important years of our life. Because we usually spend this time with our families, family systems have a big effect on our future lives. Family systems work can happen with individual people processing their family of origin, with people in relationships with different family histories which are influencing their present actions, and with families who come to therapy together.

— Renya NeoNorton, Marriage & Family Therapist

As a trained Marriage and Family Therapist, I see the importance of understanding your familial context in understanding you as a whole. Primary relationships with parents/caregivers shape our attachment style and have the power to influence behaviour in current relationships. Investigating these primary relationships with parents/cargivers and siblings helps provide a deeper understanding of the self in relationship and can guide our therapeutic work together.

— E Ardron, Marriage & Family Therapist in Chicago, IL
 

In my post-graduate work, I obtained a Couple and Family Therapy certificate. This education helps me to understand how our family can shape us and our reactions. Looking at the past for answers to now is a part of how I practice.

— Angie Gutekunst, Licensed Professional Counselor in Bethlehem, PA

John Dunne wrote that no man is an island. And while I bristle that women aren't mentioned the quote, I firmly believe it's true about our mental health. We create systems with the people we interact with...their behavior influences ours...which influences theirs. Together, we can make changes in the system, reduce conflict, and increase happiness.

— LAKink Shrink, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in , CA
 

The model I use to conceptualize treatment for families is the Satir Model. This model is greatly influenced by communications theory, and it espouses that family relationships consist of repetitive patterns of interactions. The model emphasizes family connection, communication, and emotional experiencing. It is an integrative, humanistic, experiential, here-and-now approach focusing on personal validation.

— Devona Stalnaker-Shofner, Licensed Professional Counselor

You’ll be listened to without any judgment. I’ll be there just for you. I’ll help to create a connection with the parts of you that are trying really hard to manage everything, despite your life feeling & unfolding way harder than you ever imagined. Through the Internal Family Systems model, we’ll work together to change how you feel about yourself. The fears you have will be honored. Your struggles will gradually transform as your own special talents come to the surface. You'll again find joy.

— Meg Coyne, Addictions Counselor