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CHAPTER SIX FAMILIES AS SYSTEMS The Practice of Generalist Social Work (2 nd ed.)
Key Ideas Systems theory helps social workers to conceptualize families as highly organized systems, whose parts are dependent on one another. These components can be used in interventions to help improve family functioning. © 2011 Taylor & Francis
Key Systems Theory Dimensions Component Changes Also known as homeostasis, systems theory posits that a change in one part of the system affects other parts of the system. All systems strive to maintain homeostasis, regardless of whether that homeostasis results in positive or negative functioning for the system. © 2011 Taylor & Francis
Key Systems Theory Dimensions Subsystems Smaller systems within a larger system that organize relationships within the system as a whole Social workers assess and intervene with subsystems to help improve functioning of the larger family system © 2011 Taylor & Francis
Key Systems Theory Dimensions Boundaries Help define the types and qualities of relationships between subsystems Permeable boundaries Diffuse boundaries Rigid boundaries © 2011 Taylor & Francis
Key Systems Theory Dimensions Family Norms Rules of conduct that help define subsystems and boundaries in family systems Can be implicit or explicit Can be negotiable or non-negotiable © 2011 Taylor & Francis
Key Systems Theory Dimensions Family Roles Socially or culturally sanctioned patterns of behaviors expected of individuals within a system Examples of roles Hero Clown Lost child Scapegoat © 2011 Taylor & Francis
Key Systems Theory Dimensions Differentiation A systems movement from a simple existence toward a more complex form of functioning Entropy A systems movement toward disorganization and death. Negative entropy is a systems movement toward growth and development Feedback Positive or negative information about a systems performance © 2011 Taylor & Francis
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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