Family Systems Theory

1148 Words5 Pages
The family structure is made up of individuals living together in intimate groups with the purpose of caring and supporting each other. Rules and boundaries, spoken and unspoken, are developed by the family members. Family rules and boundaries change and shift over time in order to evolve and grow as a family unit. Some changes are subtle, but some events force major change within the family system. This paper applies the concepts of systems theory to the family system in the movie Sweet Home Alabama. Reese Witherspoon (Melanie Smooter) and Josh Lucas (Jake Perry) star in this heart-warming film telling a story of a young woman who flees from Alabama to reinvent herself in New York City as a high fashion designer. She leaves behind her redneck husband and white-trash upbringing. Melanie finds herself engaged to the cities most eligible bachelor and has to return to Alabama to request a divorce from her first love and confront her past ("Alabama," 2002). Boundaries Boundaries are drawn between family systems and anything which is external. Boundaries influence the movement of people in and out of the family system, and regulate the flow of information to and from outside sources. The boundaries within a family are what distinguish one family from another. Families have varying boundaries, some more open than others, whereas in other family systems, its members are restricted on where members may go and who may be brought into the family ("Systems theory," n.d.). Boundaries also control what information will be brought in and out of the family. Some families have strict boundaries and strict family rules. Two families are referenced in the movie Sweet Home Alabama. The first family includes Melanie, her mother and her... ... middle of paper ... ...oiding her family, friends and husband has left her family system frustrated. When Melanie comes back asking for a divorce, not one, two or three times, her husband continues to put her off. The action from the husband is positive feedback because the lack of response to Melanie’s requests, have left her feeling out-of-control. All systems need a balance of both positive and negative feedback. Works Cited Becvar, D. S., & Becvar, R. J. (1999). Systems theory and family systems (2 ed.). Lanham, NY: University Press of America. Family systems theory basic concepts. (n.d.). Retrieved from Nichols, M. P. (2010). Family therapy concepts and methods (9 ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Sweet home Alabama. (2002). Retrieved from
Open Document