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Family System Theory Essay

Human Beings depend on each other to survive and thrive. Whether in family group, business or organizational networks, relationships have the potential to be the resources for accomplishing important goal. Our interactive process can become a hindrance or a source of a productive action. Families are considered systems because they are made up of interrelated elements or objectives, they exhibit coherent behaviours, they have regular interactions and they are interdependent on each other. This is apparent in the relationship between flowers and bees, where bees use the flowers as a source of food, and the flowers depend on the inter-flower traffic that the bees provide to spread their pollen and insure healthy genetic diversity within the flower community.

These two species are interconnected and cannot be understood in isolation. If the bees become damaged, the flowers suffer, and vice versa. When any part of such a network is altered or damaged, it affects all the other parts of that network, for all are interconnected (Dombeck & Wells, 2006). The Family Systems insight is that what is true about flowers and bees is also true of human relationships. People live in families and social groupings, and depend upon one another for the means that insure their mutual survival, including (as Maslow has taught us) food clothing and shelter, but also safety, belonging and social support.

Family members are interconnected: Every person within a family has a role to play within the life of the family as a whole. Alteration or damage to one family member affects the entire family, for all are interconnected. A change in one persons functioning can be followed by reciprocal changes in the functioning of others in the family. Family systems theory views the family as an emotional unit that implies a deep, multi-generational connection between family members that significantly influences behaviors of its members outside of their conscious awareness.

Family Systems theory or Bowen theory is based on three main assumptions:

clients problematic behavior may serve a function or purpose for the family clients problematic behavior may be a function of the families inability to operate productively the maladaptive behavior may be a symptom of dysfunctional patterns handed from generations

I find the family systems theory to be the most practical and effective approach towards making positive changes within the family unit. Unlike other theories, Family Systems theory focuses on the entire family unit instead of a particular individual, family structure , a developmental stage, crisis or a behavior causing the dysfunction in the family. The theory provides a holistic and a realistic view of the problem and how best it can be treated by assisting the family members in realizing the problem and using the family as its own resource to solve the problem. Research has shown that incorporating Family System theory into therapeutic practice can enhance the recovery of the client and the family as a whole.


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