Thursday, June 14, 2012

Family Systems Therapy

*Family Systems therapy is represented by a variety of theories and approaches, all of which focus on the same relational aspects of human problems.

Alfred Alder - 1st Psychologist of Modern Era to do Family Therapy

(1870 - 1937)

Murray Bowen - Original Developers of Mainstream Family Therapy

(1913 - 1990)

Virginia Satir - Developer of Conjoint Family Therapy

*(A human validation process model that emphasizes communication & emotional experiences.)

(1916 - 1988)

Carl Whitaker - Creator of Symbolic-Experiential Family Therapy

(1912 - 1995)

Salvador Minuchin - Developed Structural Family Therapy

(b. 1921)

Jay Haley - Founded the Washington School of Strategic Family Therapy

(1923 - 2007)

Cloe` Madanes- Contributed to the Development of Brief, Solution-Oriented Therapy Approach

* (The strategic interventions most used were reframing, family directives, & paradoxical interventions.)

(b. 1941)


  • To help family members gain awareness of patterns of relationships that are not working well.

  • To create new ways of interacting.

Key Concepts :

  • Focus is on communication patterns within a family, both verbal & nonverbal.

  • Problems in relationships are likely to be passed on from generation to generation.

  • Differentiation

  • Triangles

  • Power Coalitions

  • Family-of-origin Dynamics

  • Functional vs. Dysfunctional Interaction Patterns

  • Dealing with Here-and-Now Interactions

  • The present is more important than exploring past experiences.


    • The family is viewed from an interactive & systematic perspective.

    • Clients are connected to a living system; a change in one part of the system will result in a change in other parts.

    • The family provides the context for understanding how individuals function in a relationship to others & how they behave.

    • Treatment deals with the family unit. An individual's dysfunctional behavior grows out of the interactional unit of the family & out of larger systems as well.



      Other Techniques:

      • Techniques may be experimental, cognitive, or behavioral in nature.

      • Genograms

      • Teaching

      • Asking Questions

      • Joining the Family

      • Tracking Sequences

      • Issuing Directives

      • Use of Countertransference

      • Family Mapping

      • Reframing

      • Restructuring

      • Enactments

      • Setting Boundaries  



        Family Therapy


        • Corey, G. (2013)..Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy (9th ed.,). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

        • Google Images

        •  YouTube



  1. A genogram is a pictorial display of a person's family relationships and medical history. It goes beyond a traditional family tree by allowing the user to visualize hereditary patterns and psychological factors that punctuate relationships. You can find some Genogram Examples to learn more about how to draw genograms online.

  2. Genogram is a pictorial display of a person's family relationships and medical history. By using a proper genogram you can easily get your work done which will be much benefited too.