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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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 , OR

My concentration for my Master's Program is Family Systems. I have experience and expertise in this form of treatment. Most of our issues can relate back to our upbringing and how we were taught or how behavior was modeled to us. The good news is that that does not have to be our destiny and we can learn and grow from what we were taught.

— Rory Ayotte, Clinical Social Worker

When working with teens, I often include other family members. They can help support the teen dealing with difficult things or help them grow. Parents often learn that they can make changes to help the teen or change the family dynamics which changes the way the teen responds. Adults often need to explore their family growing up to see how that shaped them. We learn emotions, connection, worth, and behaviors from family. So if you find yourself stuck in a pattern chances are it started young.

— Rebecca Phifer-Ball, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Greer, SC

There are many different parts of you that protect you, that manage internal crises, and carry the emotional damage of our past traumas. I work with you to understand your full self, create an appreciation for yourself, and work to give yourself permission to be your true self.

— Stephanie Townsend, Licensed Master of Social Work in Marietta, GA

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

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

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

Family systems theory is the foundation of my education and training. For all clients, including individuals, I look for relational patterns that often inform the direction of therapy.

— Margaret  Certain, Marriage & Family Therapist in Seattle, WA

Many couples and families come to me thinking that if they just change "this one thing" then everything will work. You are way more cool and complicated than that! I want to help you and your loved ones honor the beautiful complexity of your relationship and the many generations that have contributed to this present moment for you. Change is possible! Family systems therapy helps us take a wholistic approach instead of just trying to slap a band-aid on it.

— Karyn Noel, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

A person is not simply a solitary, self-contained figure that needs to be fixed. Rather, they are part of numerous systems, be they family systems, cultural systems, social systems, economic systems, etc. If we label depression solely as a deficit in certain neurotransmitters we may miss the fact that depression can be a very normal response to economic and social challenges. In that sense, there's nothing wrong with you but rather your pain is telling us there's something wrong with the world!

— Bonner Dobbs, Psychologist in Bothell, WA

My deep understanding of the family systems approach is born from comprehensive training and rich experience. I've explored intricate family dynamics and the profound impact of communication patterns. I guide individuals in grasping how familial interactions mold their lives. My nurturing focus lies in fostering insights into these dynamics, empowering clients to cultivate improved relationships and communication.

— Saba Montazerian, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Newport Beach, CA

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

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

Systems Theory is not necessarily about doing therapy with an entire family (who has time for that?). A look at your family system is like seeing the inner workings of a clock. We have much more information about how and why you are the cog shaped the way you are shaped, when we look at the functioning of the entire clock. What's magical is, by changing how you are shaped, or how you behave, you can't help but affect the shape (behavior) of all the cogs in your family, workplace or community!

— Kathryn Gates, Marriage & Family Therapist in Austin, TX

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