Family Systems Theory: Family Therapy

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The family is an essential social group system that influences each member substantially. Family therapy as an intervention is beneficial to each individual and the family unit as a whole. Family therapy can be applied to a variety of situations that are problematic for this social group. This intervention can serve families of different structures, cultures, and dilemmas (Minuchin & Ebrary, 1974, p. 7). The history of family therapy began after WWII when it was developed to assist people with conflicts in relationships and those exhibiting mental health problems. Prior to family therapy, many people were sent to psychiatric hospitals as a first resort, rather than seeking alternate interventions to help them. Because of the practice of early…show more content…
Family systems theory helps the therapist understand how each family member is interacting within the family unit and how they are affecting one another. The therapist can use the family systems theory to recognize that each member influences the other and see the family dynamics from a holistic perspective. The therapist also can consider what systemic influences are attributed towards family conflicts, how the family members can be empowered to balance out the family dynamics, and what types of pre-existing strengths the family has to build upon (Walsh, 2011, p. 154). Another theory that is utilized and applied during family therapy is the Biopsychosocial Systems Theory. This theory is used to understand how different systems interact with the family unit. The therapist looks at the biological systems that may be influencing the family based upon medical or psychiatric disorders. The therapist may draw an ecomap in relation to the social and spiritual systems that each family member is tied to and the varying degrees of strengths and tenuous connections to each of these systems. The therapist would then try to find ways to balance each of these systems and the relationships within the family (Walsh, 2011, p.…show more content…
This assessment must come to a conclusion of awareness of how the therapy will positively benefit all family members (Rosen & Proctor, 2003, p. 101). One important concept to be aware of while using this intervention is The Family Life Cycle. Families are a system that is different than other systems as they have entry and exit points through birth and by death. The relationships that are in this social system are the main source of connection among its members. The stages of the family life cycle are important to become aware of because in each stage the family faces new challenges that can allow each member to grow within the family unit. Some of these life cycles include: leaving home, newly married couples, families with young children, families with adolescents, and families in later years (Carr, 2012, p. 4-7). There are many concepts in family therapy that are derived from the basis of theories. These concepts provide the framework for family therapy practice. In Psychodynamic theory, a therapist uses the concept of "interlocking pathology" to analyze how each family member connects to each other to produce an overall understanding of the family functioning. In systems theory, the basic concept a therapist would look at is how open or closed the family systems is, the characteristics of the family system, and how this family system
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