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.

Meet the specialists

When working with families and intimate partners, my goals are to help foster growth in connection, understanding, and communication from a togetherness space. We can navigate a broad spectrum of challenges and develop the skills needed to work on anything from repairing fractured trust, defining healthy boundaries, healing from grief or loss, and so much more.

— Kira Hayes, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Newark, OH
 

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

As a systems based therapist I see clients from an ecological perspective. Individuals are seen as part of a system of interactions and relations to others in their environment, rather than individuals being autonomous entities independent of their surroundings and context. By addressing breakdowns within a system and the relations and communications within its contextual setting, problems can be addressed in a greater holistic manner.

— Dan Schmitt, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Intern in Eugene, OR
 

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 systems recognizes that each individual participates in multiple relationships: immediate & extended family, work, school, friendships, and society. We can look at patterns of abuse, addiction, neglect, helplessness, power and authority, identity formation - and how to individuate from these traps to create a meaningful, productive, fulfilling life for yourself, your loved ones, and your community.

— Denita Benyshek, Counselor in , WA
 

Family Systems is a defining cornerstone of how I approach work with my clients. Together, we examine how the external landscape has affected your internal landscape, as well as looking at intergenerational patterns that are passed on from caregivers to their children.

— Lindsay Pierce, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Olympia, WA

I love the learning about self that observing family system dynamics can provide. We all learn what we know from somewhere. I enjoy walking with my clients as they discover what patterns have been learned and what values and behaviors they want to invest in and continue to practice.

— Bethany Schaefer, LPC Intern Supervised by Leah McDill, LPC-S, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern in Round Rock, TX
 

Family Systems forms the foundation of my therapeutic approach. Family Systems is relevant even if you are attending therapy as an individual, because it means I am considering how the systems in which you developed have impacted your present functioning.

— Brittany Boney, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in ,

I myself have 2 families since I am adopted. So I know what a hectic family system is.

— Kaylissa Butrum, Psychiatrist in danville, IN
 

Working with complex systems such as a family requires careful skill, courage, a clear understanding of family dynamics, and a touch of grace. Each family member should feel they trust the therapist and are being given a chance to be heard, all the while, the therapist is juggling up to 6+ family members thoughts, feelings, current, and past pains. It requires an enormous amount of training, understanding of the system (family) you enter and their trust. It’s the best part of my job!

— Laura (Lori) Patin, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Eagle River, AK

Systems theory takes into account all of the pieces that influence your life. In our first session, I will create a genogram with you. A genogram is essentially a fancy family tree. Family isn't always blood, so this will look different for everyone. We will examine trends, patterns, and ways in which your history has led to your wounds. For example, a genogram can show patterns of emotional disconnection that may have led to fear of abandonment or neglect. Knowledge is power!

— Emily Graham, Therapist in Denver, CO
 

Family Systems Theory suggests that a family functions as a system in which each member plays a specific tole and is expected to interact with and respond to one another in a certain way. Most of the youth I work with are seeking support with managing family dynamics and behaviors that have caused dysfunction in their family system and/or their ability to function effectively outside of the family system.

— Drionne Arney, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Tallahassee, FL

As a marriage and family therapist, I was trained to see symptoms not only in relation to the individual, but also within the context surrounding the individual. Our family, school, work, neighborhood, community, and even cultural attitudes all have an impact on the individual and my work takes into account all of these factors.

— Jacqueline "Jackie" Abeling, Marriage & Family Therapist in Maple Grove, MN
 

As a Marriage and Family Therapist, my formal education greatly emphasized the importance of exploring and often working with the greater family system. It's important to consider all aspects of the self - emotional, social, biological, spiritual. It's also important to consider how larger systems such as family, friends, and society contribute to how we exist in relation with others today.

— Karen Touboul Futerman, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist

We all exist in systems --- personal relationalships, families, school or work cultures, local cultures and subcultures, organizations, institutions, and local, state and national systems. Family systems work takes a particular look at family dynamics, how they affect family members, and how families can change dysfunctional dynamics. Together we can explore the systems you have experienced to change the negative effects you have internalized, and create positive changes.

— Renee Beck, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist