Family Systems Perspective

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Family therapy, sometimes called family focus therapy or family systems therapy, is a type of psychological therapy that works to change the relationships within families to help them better deal with a wide range of problems. Family therapy helps family members find constructive ways to help each other. Due to this flexibility, family therapy is useful in a wide range of situations. Family therapy can be useful in childhood and adult conditions including conduct and mood disorders, eating disorders, drug abuse and psychiatric conditions as well as couples experiencing difficulties. Family therapy is useful throughout life and can be especially useful in the treatment of long term illness such as depression. Family therapy usually works within family groups but often includes work with people on an individual basis or, when appropriate, individual sessions within a series of family meetings. Family therapy may also include the social networks around families. The family systems Perspective A family systems perspective holds that individuals are best understood through assessing the interactions between and among family members. The development and behavior of one family member is inextricably interconnected with others in the family. Symptoms are often viewed as an expression of a set of habits and patterns within a family. It is revolutionary to conclude that the identified client’s problem might be a symptom of how the system functions, not just a symptom of the individual’s maladjustment, history, and psychosocial development. This perspective is grounded on the assumptions that a client’s problematic behavior may: (1) Serve a function or purpose for the family. (2) Be unintentionally maintained by family processes. (3) Be a function of the family’s inability to operate productively, especially during developmental transitions. (4) Be a symptom

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