Family Systems Theory Part 1

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Individual Therapist

1. Obtain accurate diagnosis DSM IV
2. Begin Therapy right now
3. Focus: causes, purposes, and processes
4. Concern with experience & perspective
5. Intervene to help clients learn to cope.

Systemic Therapist

1. Explore system for family process & rules
2. Invite in parents, siblings
3. Focus: Family relationships
4. Concern and transgenerational meanings, rules
5. Intervene to change context within family system

subsystem

members of a larger system who join together to perform various tasks or functions. Carry out specific family functions.

systems

persons, families, organizations, communities, societies, and cultures are:

Individuals

According to The Family Systems Perspective: Are best understood through assessing the interactions within an entire family.

Symptoms

According to the family systems perspective: Are viewed as an expression of a dysfunction within a family.

problematic behaviors

According to the family systems perspective:
1. Serve a PURPOSE for the family
2. Are a function of the family's INABILITY TO OPERATE PRODUCTIVELY
3. A family is an interactional unit and a change in one member effects all members.

family subsystems

Spousal, Parental, and Sibling. In a family these are referred to as:

circular causality

refers to the fact that in family systems, each family member's behavior is caused by and causes the other family members' behaviors. They are each impacting the other.

boundaries

1. Define membership in a system
2. Represent the point of contact between the system and other systems
3. Vary in degree of permeability, the degree to which they control the flow between systems.

homeostasis

1. Our balanced state of equilibrium
2. Supports resistance to change
3. Natural part of systems to want to stay where they are but systems have to learn to adapt if they are to be open.

Equifinality

1. The ability of a system to achieve the same goals through different routes.
2. Communication patterns are organized into feedback loops which affect goal-setting behavior in systems.

Triangles

Detouring conflict between two people by involving a third person, temporarily stabilizing the relationship.

Family Rules

1. Can describe regulation or regularity
2. Prevent family members from using the full range of behaviors available to them.
3. Are not explicit, therefore difficult to change.
4. Govern the range of behaviors the system can tolerate, therefore defines homeostatic range.

Family Roles

1. Expectations bring regularity to complex social situations.
2. Tend to focus on each individual in the family.
3. Stereotyped (Cultural Differences)
4. Narrowing these limits the possibilities for family life.
5. Can create stress
6. Are hard to set aside
7. Do not exist independent of one another.
8. Tend to be reciprocal and complementary.

Distancer-Persuer Dyad

1. Often the roles that various members take on are related to one another.
2. One person seeks out closeness with the other person, while his/her partner wants more space or independence and pulls back from the relationship.

Clear

This type of boundary is firm, yet flexible.

Rigid

This type of boundary is:
1. Restrictive and permit little contact with those outside the subsystem.
2. Can lead to DISENGAGEMENT
3. Permits independence and growth
4. Disengagement limits warmth, affection, and nurturance

Diffuse

This type of boundary is:
1. Enmeshed relationships, vague and not restrictive.
2. Heightened sense of mutual support
3. Lack of independence and autonomy

Adler

1. Student of Freud
2. First to pursue implication that treating the child would prevent adult neuroses.
3. Organized child guidance clinics in Vienna
4. Insight that the real problem was not the obvious one, child's symptoms, but family tension were the course of the symptoms.

Alderian

Type of Family Therapy:
1. Use an EDUCATIONAL MODEL to counsel families
2. Emphasis is on FAMILY ATMOSPHERE and BIRTH ORDER
3. Therapists function as COLLABORATORS, who seek to join the family
4. Understand the PURPOSES OF UNDERLYING CHILDREN'S MISBEHAVIOR

Alderian

Goals of this type of family therapy:
1. Unlock MISTAKEN GOALS and INTERACTIONAL PATTERNS
2. ENGAGE PARENTS in a learning experience and a collaborative assessment
3. Emphasis is on the FAMILY'S MOTIVATIONAL PATTERNS
4. Main aim is to INITIATE A REORIENTATION OF THE FAMILY

Bowen

Developed the multigenerational model, triangulation, and differentiation of self.

Whitaker

Developed Experiential Symbolic Family Therapy, therapist coach influences change.

Minuchin

Developed Structural Family Therapy, solves problems now

Satir's family roles

The following communication styles:
1. Placater
2. Blamer
3. Super-Reasonable
4. Irrelevant
5. Congruent Communicator
Are referred to as:

Placater

Satir's Family Role:
1. Caricature: Service
2. Verbal Expression: Whatever one wants is okay, I'm just here to make you happy
3. Body Posture: Grateful, boot licking, begging, self-flagellating
4. Inner Feeling: I am like nothing. Without you I'm dead and worthless.

Blamer

Satir's Family Role:
1. Caricature: Power
2. Verbal Expression: You never do anything right. What is the matter with you?
3. Body Posture: Finger-pointing, loud, tyrannical, and enraged
4. Inner Feeling: I am lonely and unsuccessful

Super-reasonable

Satir's Family Role:
1. Caricature: Intellect
2. Verbal Expression: If one were to observe carefully, one might notice the work-worm hands of someone present here.
3. Body Posture: Monotone voice, stiff, machine-light, computer-like
4. Inner Feeling: I feel vulnerable

Irrelevant

Satir's Family Role:
1. Caricature: Spontaneity
2. Typical Verbal Expression: Words unrelated to what others are saying. In the midst of a family dispute "What are we having for dinner?"
3. Body Posture: In constant movement, chatter, distracting
4. Inner Feeling: Nobody cares. There is no place for me.

Congruent Communicator

Satir's Family Role:
Only this style seems real, genuinely expressive, responsible for sending straight (not double-binding or other confusing) messages in their appropriate context.

Froma Walsh

Developed theory for healthy family functioning

Healthy Family Functioning

Froma Walsh Developed this:
1. Connectedness and commitment of members to one another
2. Respect for individual differences
3. Couples: mutual respect, support, sharing of power
4. Children: nurture, protection, socialization, and caretaking of vulnerable family members.
5. Resources for basic economic security.
6. Organizational stability, adaptability, open communication, effective problem solving, and a shared belief system.

Isomorphism

refers to equivalence of form: there is a one to one correspondence between elements and relationships.

Hierarchy

The layering of systems of increasing complexity including systems, subsystems, and suprasystems

Suprasystem

larger systems (economic and political systems)

Negative

1. This feedback is used to maintain homeostasis.
2. Also been called constancy loops and attenuating loops

Morphostatic

This feed back promotes maintenance of existing structure

Positive

1. This feedback is used to promote change
2. Referred to as deviation amplifying loops or variety loops

Morphogenic

This feedback produces change in a system

First Order Cybernetics

1. Grew out of communication engineering and computer science as a means of understanding the general principles of how systems are regulated.
2. Attention directed at structure (patterns of organization) and control through feedback cycles.
3. Universal laws or codes were sought to explain what governs all systems.
4. It was assumed that the system being observed was separate from the observer and could be studied objectively, while remaining outside the system itself.

Second Order Cybernetics

Michael White
1. Emphasize that the therapist must be aware that there are a number of individuals present, each has a sense of family, and each has a separate and legitimate perception.
2. This model posits that objectivity does not exist, that descriptions of families are social constructions that may say more about the describer than the family.
3. The family's "reality" is nothing more than the agreed-upon consensus that occurs through social interaction of it's members.
4. Family is composed of multiple perspectives
5. Therapist is not seen as an outside observer, but has a part in constructing the reality being observed,
6. There are multiple truths about every family, not one universal truth.
7. The therapist can not consider any members' viewpoint as a distortion of some presumably correct interpretation of reality.

General Systems Theory

Limitations of this theory are:
1. Focus on application of systems theory
2. Poor explanatory power because, although it provides conceptualization, it is difficult to clearly identify and measure constructs.
3. Criticism of subtle assumption that all parts of the system have equal power.

General Systems Theory

Feminist Critique of this theory are:
1. Limited recognition of power in family systems which obscures the privilege of dominant groups.
2. Systemic constructs reflect sex bias
3. Emphasizes therapist neutrality
4. Not systematic enough
5. Interdisciplinary scholarship has demonstrated that all cultures utilize gender and generation as fundamental categories of organization, but ignores gender concerns.

Social Constructionism

1. The client, not the therapist, is the expert.
2. Dialogue is used to elicit perspective, resources, and unique client experiences.
3. Questions empower family members to speak, and to express their diverse positions.
4. The therapist supplies optimism and the process.

Social Constructionism

Goals of this type of therapy are:
1. Generate new meaning in the lives of family members
2. Co-develop, with families, solutions that are unique to the situation.
3. Enhance awareness of the impact of various aspects of the dominant culture on the family.
4. Help families develop alternative ways of being, acting, knowing, and living.

Social Constructionism

Critiques of this therapy are:
1. Emphasizing the cognitive dimension of individuals ignores some of the defining insights of family therapy.
2. Families operate as complex units and symptoms are often results of conflicts within the family.
3. Biblical teachings on God and Creation preclude the absolute relativism of this theory.
4. To what extent should or shouldn't a family therapist take the role of expert.

Ethical Integration

Application of religious moral principles to practice

Perspectival Integration

Independent, complimentary views

Humanizer of Science Integration

Explicit incorporation of Christian world-view and control beliefs

Control Beliefs

1. Existence of God
2. Authority of Scripture
3. Acknowledgement of Spiritual
4. Uniqueness of human beings
5. Teleology
6. Ethical Constraints

Control Beliefs

The following are criticisms of these:
1. Humanism undergirds most family systems models.
2. Critique against the theology of the Fall

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