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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Narrative Therapy, Strategic, Solution Focus, and Internal Family Systems, CBT

— Tamarra Aristilde-Calixte, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

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

We all view the world through a certain lens. How we were raised in our family of origin affects how we view ourselves and others around us. It affects how we show up in the world and we interrupt our world. When we are aware of how the environment we grew up in affects us we can learn to grow from the ways we are living that are harmful to us or that are detrimental to our growth and fulfillment.

— Jessica Warburton, Professional Counselor Associate in Tigard, OR

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

None of us exists in a vacuum. We're embedded in systems large and small, and each of us in a family system. Often within these are our most precious and painful relationships- people who know how to push our buttons, patterns we can't seem to break. Family systems examines the push and pull of all members, acknowledging that every action is a reaction and that with awareness choice is possible.

— Polly Harrison, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Portland, OR

As a marriage and family therapist, I was trained to see symptoms not only in relation to the individual, but also within the context surrounding the individual. Our family, school, work, neighborhood, community, and even cultural attitudes all have an impact on the individual and my work takes into account all of these factors.

— Jacqueline 'Jackie' Abeling, Marriage & Family Therapist in ,

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 family systems approach, which I operate from, takes into account the various contexts (e.g. family, school, etc.) that each of us interacts with to offer a better understanding of identities, behaviors, and decisions. Looking at yourself through the lens of the contexts you are a part of can offer you understanding and empathy, key parts of acceptance, which can lead to change.

— Tera Buerkle, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Lexington, KY

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

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

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 ,

Even on an individual level, exploring family dynamics and lessons learned about emotions and how to handle stress can provide significant clarity in why you are the way you are. From a systemic lens, we can explore how these patterns have impacted you, and how to shift them to something that works for you.

— Rebecca Cuniff, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Eugene, OR

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

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