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Family Systems Theory. Definitions A system is defined as a whole made up of interactive parts. You can not add these parts together and get the total.

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Presentation on theme: "Family Systems Theory. Definitions A system is defined as a whole made up of interactive parts. You can not add these parts together and get the total."— Presentation transcript:

1 Family Systems Theory

2 Definitions A system is defined as a whole made up of interactive parts. You can not add these parts together and get the total system. The system is more than the sum of its parts.

3 Family System A family system is a social or biological construction made up of a set of people related by blood or intention. Members interact in reciprocal relationships, responding to one another in the content of roles.

4 Each family type describes the way the family system operates within each type In assessing family types, Olson (1993) uses a multisystem assessment, which includes looking at different subsystems within the family, such as the martial system, parent-child system, and the family as a whole Each family type can very much be thought of as separate family cultures, in which underlying group norms, role, behaviors and expectations How they operate

5 Interaction – the interplay between members Reciprocity – both parties influence each other as they interact with each other Roles – a character or function one plays

6 Family Communication communication is either good or poor The types of systems families have reveal their communication types Communication is verbal and nonverbal It includes rules within the system

7 Wholeness, it is necessary to look at the family in its entirety – not just one or some parts Boundaries- the lines of demarcation that indicate who is in or out of the system They are physical or symbolic Permeable- able to enter or exit the system Open or closed

8 Change vs Stability Family systems are stable in their chaos and orderly in their disorder Families are predictable in general and unpredictable in detail

9 Homeostasis The tendency of a system to return to a state of equilibrium This is counteracted in the need for change in a living system

10 Subsystems Smaller units within the larger system that share the characteristics of the larger system Multiple identities with in the system

11 Feedback Loops the feedback loop as a path along which information can be traced from one point in a system, through one or more other parts of the system or its environment, and back to the point of origin Feedback loops are of two types: positive and negative A negative feedback loop has been likened to a homeostatic system, in which the feedback loop provides information that returns the system to some preset level and reduce deviation causes to the system. A positive feedback loop tends to promote change

12 Three main dimensions, family cohesion, flexibility and communication family cohesion is defined as the emotional bonding that family members have toward one another (Olson, 1993, p. 105) family flexibility is the amount of change in its leadership, role relationships, and relationship rules (Olson, 1993, p. 107) family communication is measured by focusing on the family as a group with regards to their listening skills, speaking skills, self-disclosure, clarity, continuity-tracking, and respect and regard (Olson, 1993, p. 108).

13 Family cohesion has four separate levels Disengaged Separated Connected Enmeshed

14 Family flexibility has four levels Chaotic Flexible Structured Rigid

15 Rigidly Enmeshed Strictly enforce rules Negotiations are limited Rules are unchanging Roles are clearly defined Little separation of self Time together & little private space Few outside friends Decisions made by the whole not individual

16 Chaotically Disengaged Little discipline Limited leadership Impulsive decision making Little role clarity Frequently changing rules Emotional separateness Low interaction Private space Individual friendships

17 pps/counseling_marital_conflicts.pps#284, 21,Healthy Marital Relationships

18 A disengaged relationship often has extreme, emotional separateness. There is little involvement between the couple or a family member and a lot of personal separateness and independence. Individuals often do their own thing and have separate interests.

19 A separated relationship has some emotional separateness but is not as extreme as the disengaged system. While time apart is important, there is some time together and some joint decision-making. Activities and interests are generally separate but a few are shared.

20 A connected relationship has some emotional closeness and loyalty in the relationship. Time together is more important than time apart. There is an emphasis on togetherness. While there are separate friends, there are also friends and interests shared by a couple or family.

21 An enmeshed relationship has an extreme amount of emotional closeness and loyalty is demanded. Individuals are very dependent on each other and reactive to one another. There is a general lack of personal separateness and little privacy is permitted. The energy of the individuals is mainly focused inside the marriage or family and there are few outside individual friends or interests.

22 Cohesion focuses on the ability of the couple and family system to balance separateness and togetherness. Very high levels of togetherness (enmeshed) and low levels of togetherness (disengaged) might be problematic for a marriage and family. On the other hand, relationships having moderate scores (separated and connected) are able to balance being alone together in a more functional manner.

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