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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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 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

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 my primary training and expertise is in family systems and working with relationship dynamics.

— Alana Ogilvie, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Portland, OR

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

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

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

Family systems is extremely important work. I help you look at your family as a whole unit. By doing so, we can learn what areas need work and healing.

— Lindsey King, Counselor in Philadelphia, PA

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

While families can offer unique understanding and support, they can also be a source of stress and suffering. Some changes can increase stress and impact a family’s relationship quality and in turn, members' mental health. These changes may include moves, illness, loss, or life transitions. A family approach to treatment can help you and your family improve your understanding of each other, build empathy, establish and maintain important boundaries, and strengthen your relationships.

— Thai Alonso, Psychologist in Watchung, NJ

As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I was trained to see mental health issues through a systemic lens. Whereas many other therapists see problems as existing solely within an individual, a MFT seeks to understand your context by examining relational dynamics in your past and present. This approach allows clients to externalize issues which once felt like inescapable, internal failings and instead, learn to see their concerns as existing due to the complex systems at play in their lives.

— Shawnese Givens, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Boston, MA

The model I use to conceptualize treatment for families is the Satir Model. This model is greatly influenced by communications theory, and it espouses that family relationships consist of repetitive patterns of interactions. The model emphasizes family connection, communication, and emotional experiencing. It is an integrative, humanistic, experiential, here-and-now approach focusing on personal validation.

— Devona Stalnaker-Shofner, Licensed Professional Counselor

You’ll be listened to without any judgment. I’ll be there just for you. I’ll help to create a connection with the parts of you that are trying really hard to manage everything, despite your life feeling & unfolding way harder than you ever imagined. Through the Internal Family Systems model, we’ll work together to change how you feel about yourself. The fears you have will be honored. Your struggles will gradually transform as your own special talents come to the surface. You'll again find joy.

— Meg Coyne, Addictions Counselor

Family therapy is the therapy that is the closest to my heart. I am fascinated by families and I always have been. It was the first therapy that I started practicing as a clinician, and the first graduate degree I obtained was from The University of Kentucky, an AAAMFT approved program. The complexity of the family system is such a thing to behold, even when in crisis.

— Paige L. Freeman, Ph.D., PLLC, Psychologist in Houston, TX

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

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 Tigard, OR