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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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

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

Understanding family patterns can help us understand how we got to where we are today. Along with attachment theory, I use family systems to help clients build a picture of their past so they understand who they are in their relationships today, and can make choices about how they want to grow in relation to themselves and others.

— Brandie Sellers, Licensed Professional Counselor in Timnath, CO

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 ,

Claudia was trained at the Ackerman Institute for the Family with a specialization in family systems theory. Claudia's approach to family therapy begins with a look at intergenerational patterns, and includes her expertise in trauma recovery.

— Claudia Narvaez-Meza, Psychotherapist in Los Angeles, CA

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 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

No matter where we come from, all family systems are complex. Our original families play a big part in our current families. Or maybe we are having a hard time creating the partnership or family we want now because of what we have been through in life. Exploring the historical components that impact our relationships is key to increasing our healthy functioning.

— Tracy Bryce Farmer, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Portland, OR

By using evidence-based approaches like The Gottman Method and Bowen Family Systems, I can help you create new ways of relating to one another. You’ll learn to reduce conflict, improve communication, and rebuild. You’ll reconnect. At the end of each session, my goal is for you to leave with something concrete to apply daily. It might be something new to try or think about, something to read, or a new tool to begin using. These small steps will add up to the big changes you need to repair, reb

— Darrin Pfannenstiel, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate in Dallas, TX

As one of the founders of family systems theory states, "That which is created in a relationship, can be fixed in a relationship." I view problems within a systemic lens and work to resolve issues by focusing on improving the relationships within that family unit.

— Rachelle Dudley, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Olympia, WA

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

I'm a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who completed a rigorous training program that focused on family systems theory and approaches to therapy.

— Laurie Budlong-Morse, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Indianapolis, IN

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

You are NOT broken. We each of us are inherently whole *and* as part of the family systems in which we live (or have left/grown out of) – we develop over time, certain responses, internalized messages, and patterns. When faced with difficult situations, ill health, extreme stressors or trauma, our lives can feel broken. Together we can look to identify and adjust these patterned responses, activation triggers and processes.

— Amy Ruth Crevola, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Corvallis, OR

As a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist my training was all about family systems and how each of us impact the rest of our family members, sometimes in helpful ways but also harmful ones. Though I only work with individuals now, I'm always thinking of how my clients' experiences in their family (both chosen and of origin) impact their current thoughts, behaviors, and self worth.

— Cadence Chiasson, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Morrison, CO

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

I trained in family systems (structural family systems) in my experience working with children and families and was part of the training program at CHA/Harvard Postdoctoral Fellowship. I use my experience with family system approaches to support clients to change and improve their relationships (with their spouse, family, friends), improve their parenting skills and make changes in other relationships such as with their medical team or colleagues at work.

— Amelia Swanson, Clinical Psychologist in Chicago, IL

As a marriage and family therapist I have been, and continue to be, trained to explore the dynamics of a client's family, and to see the client as part of a bigger system. And despite its name, I use a family systems mindset when working with individuals. In short, we all play a part within our family. Don't believe me. Many clients have expressed regressing to their childhood ways during occasions of holidays spent with the family. Taking a step back we see how one person affects the entire system, and how the entire system affects the one person. Within our families we learned our roles, family rules, and expectations. In forming relationships with others we are bringing what we've learned from our family with the anticipation of the same response. Meanwhile, the other person is doing the same thing. Hello miscommunications, anxiety, and frustration. Family systems helps us work through those sticky parts and recognize our part in the relationship dynamic.

— Sheila Tucker, Counselor in Hilton Head Island, SC

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 in Portland, OR