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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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

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
 

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

— Tamarra Aristilde-Calixte, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

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
 

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 by training, I see people as a make up of systems. They come from a family, a friendship group, a community. I understand that lasting change often means the system has to change. I strive to support people as they navigate what they can and cannot control to step into a life that serves them.

— Elisa Blair, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Diego, CA
 

Family systems is extremely important work. I help you look at your family as a whole unit. By doing so, we can learn what areas need work and healing.

— Lindsey King, Counselor in Philadelphia, 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
 

Since childhood, I've been fascinated by social and group behavior, which is what led me to an undergraduate degree in sociology. The family is the quintessential social system. It's where we learn who we are by how we interact with and relate to others. Helping clients to explore their issues within the context of their family of origin gives them a deeper understanding of what they are going through now.

— Kristen Amanda Morris, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Family therapy or counseling can be used in addition to individual therapy. The goal is to improve relationships by communicating with each other and learning how to resolve conflicts. Families are systems and sometimes the only way to really address family issues or relationship issues is to be in counseling with each other to communicate and create solutions. There are times when the family may need to meet in subsets because of age but we are always considering the family system.

— Daria Mann, Marriage & Family Therapist in Denver, CO
 

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

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
 

As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I was trained to see mental health issues through a systemic lens. Whereas many other therapists see problems as existing solely within an individual, a MFT seeks to understand your context by examining relational dynamics in your past and present. This approach allows clients to externalize issues which once felt like inescapable, internal failings and instead, learn to see their concerns as existing due to the complex systems at play in their lives.

— Shawnese Givens, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Boston, MA

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, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Seattle, WA
 

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

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