Family systems theory is a therapeutic philosophy based on the belief that people cannot be understood in isolation from one another, but rather as a part of their family. Family systems theory looks at each family as unique and evolving. A family systems approach to therapy always considers the entire family. If any member of the family has a problem, it is viewed as a symptom of as issue in the family group. Family systems therapy helps families to identify the ways their own family functions and to focus on and develop their strengths as a whole.
Family Systems counselling
Often there will be complex and unspoken rules within a family and these often cause misunderstanding and issues particularly in situations of changes. These changes may be due to many factors such as children becoming teenagers who wish to try new experiences in live or test boundaries. Other significant changes or issues may relate to a parent becoming the main wage-earner or becoming unemployed. There are many reasons why a family might consider counselling such as disruption related to separation, divorce or a new partnership, issues with step-parents, problems with adolescents or older children, children leaving home, unwanted pregnancy. Family relationships are completely interconnected and so any change to one family member can cause an effect on other members. Although it can be difficult to organize all members to participate in counselling the process can be extremely useful for establishing new ways of coping with issues.
Practical issues and moving forward
As part of the divorce process it may help to consider the family system as a whole and to have family counselling to allow children the opportunity to discuss their feelings in a neutral space. Divorce can lead to feelings of loss and despair which may be experienced by all family members and it is crucial to consider all members of the family and their feelings during this difficult process.