WHAT IS FAMILY SYSTEMS?

Family systems therapy is meant to be an honest and open exploration of issues that affect everyone in the family. One of the most important aspects of family systems therapy is building communication skills. For the sessions, the therapist observes the interactions of family members in order to identify destructive patterns in the members’ relationships.  After problematic patterns have been identified, the therapist will employ techniques in order to improve the relationship between the family members.  The techniques used in family systems therapy vary depending on the specific problems at hand and the approach which the therapist believes most beneficial.

One technique of family systems therapy is restatement of content, which requires one family member to listen to and then repeat or rephrase what another has said. Clients take turns in voicing their opinions or discussing their feelings without interruptions from other family members. Often, the counselor, with the help of the family, will develop a family genogram which, through the use of symbols, provides a pictorial representation of the family structure and history. This can provide clues as to the results of previous events and family interactions, and give everyone the opportunity to recall successes and discuss possible reasons for failures.