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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In working with individuals, I am an avid believer that individuals are heavily influenced by their particular family units, whether that be communication styles, emotional identification, or relationships with particular family members. My goal as a counselor is to explore how past experiences in the family unit are currently influencing an individual and their level of functioning/processing.

— Meagan Fischer, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Tyler, TX

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

Family Systems therapy looks at how each individual is connected to their family, community, culture and spirituality. People are wonderfully complicated and how you end up as you is a combination of many things, relationships and events that have happened throughout your life. True healing can begin when all these parts of you are looked at and healed through love, compassion, understanding and setting healthy boundaries.

— Rachel Boyle, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Intern

I have experience and training working with families and their complex systems of relationships. Family systems acknowledges generational influences on family and individual behavior. Identifying multigenerational behavioral patterns, such as management of anxiety, can help people see how their current problems may be rooted in previous generations.

— Kathryn Krug, Marriage & Family Therapist in Santee, CA

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

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

Family therapy can be extremely beneficial if communication is out of sync in your system. The goal of family therapy is to help create better understanding, improve communication, and foster a higher functioning home environment. Utilizing a systemic lens I view what's going on in your family as a whole system rather than it's individual parts. We collaborate to figure out how get your system working in a way that is healthy for you and your whole family.

— Jessamy Whitsitt, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Seattle, WA

We all view the world through a certain lens. How we were raised in our family of origin affects how we view ourselves and others around us. It affects how we show up in the world and we interrupt our world. When we are aware of how the environment we grew up in affects us we can learn to grow from the ways we are living that are harmful to us or that are detrimental to our growth and fulfillment.

— Jessica Warburton, Professional Counselor Associate in Oregon City, OR

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

I always knew I wanted to work with individuals, but I specifically chose systemic "marriage and family" training because I value seeing my clients in context. I have also experienced being a systemic therapy client, and I valued the non-pathologizing, multifaceted approach. My graduate education, internship, and professional experience have been in systemic settings, and I seek regular supervision from my systemically-trained supervisors and consultants.

— Easin Beck, Marriage & Family Therapist in Phoenixville, PA

I help clients look through their family of origin connections to help them discover their sources of anxiety, stress, and how those connections influence their present choices

— William Hemphill, Licensed Professional Counselor in Decatur, GA

As one of the founders of family systems theory states, "That which is created in a relationship, can be fixed in a relationship." I view problems within a systemic lens and work to resolve issues by focusing on improving the relationships within that family unit.

— Rachelle Dudley, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Olympia, WA

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

I use my training in Family Systems to conceptualize presenting problems you may have in a relational way, rather than approaching one person as the "identified patient" thought to be the one with the mental disorder. When a problem is viewed as relational rather than as one person's "fault", we can discover new ways of healing such as identifying intergenerational trauma, creating better boundaries, learning communication skills, and cultivating more honesty, safety and ease in relationships.

— Grace Norberg, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Oak Park, IL

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