Family Systems

What is Family Systems Therapy?

Family systems therapy views every family as an emotional unit, and uses systems thinking to describe the complex interactions that occur in the family. Families are naturally highly emotionally connected, which also means that each member can be affected in a significant way by other members’ thoughts, feelings and actions.

During family systems therapy, the family will work on an individual and family basis to resolve a problem that directly affects one or more family members. Each family member has the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings about how they are affected. They will also have the opportunity to explore their individual roles within the family, learn how to switch roles, if necessary, and learn ways to support and help each other. The overall goal of family systems theory is to rebuild a healthy family unit, while restoring the relationships within the family.

This treatment approach can be helpful for such mental health conditions as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, personality difficulties, alcohol and substance abuse, and eating difficulties. Family systems therapy has also been shown to help individuals and family members better control and cope with physical disabilities and disorders.

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The goals of Family Systems Therapy

Develop individual’s sense of self within a family unit
Resolve family conflict through intervention
Help manage any anger or miscommunication within the family
Guide the family to identify and accomplish family goals
Assist the family to resolve any communication issues
Recognise dysfunctional family behaviours

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