The family system is founded on the notions that for change to occur in the life of an individual, the therapist must understand and work with the family as a whole. In working with the family, the therapist can understand how the individual in counseling functions within his family system and how the client’s behaviors connect to other people in the family. This theory also holds the perception that symptoms are a set of family habits and patterns passed down by generation and not a result of a psychological problem or an inability to change (Corey, 2017). Furthermore, the family system theory holds the idea that when a change occurs everyone in the unit is affected by the change.
The goal of Bowen’ theory is to review developmental patterns within the familial system and the stress centered around the anxiety caused by closeness or the lack thereof (Penny, 1999). Bowen’s theory works to facilitate a decline in stress and anxiety by enabling the clients with education as to how the emotional system works and focusing on how to modify self perceptional behaviors instead of working to change others within the system (Penny, 1999).
Today’s culture seems to not be able to accept anything that is out of the norm. As a result, gay marriage has been under constant backlash due to the idea that the “true marriage” and a “real family” is constituted by the union of a male and a female. Although the model family was previously seen as the union of a male and female back in the 1950’s, things change over time and with it news things are formed. With gay couples increasingly coming out and demanding their rights, the definition of the traditional family is being altered and along with it the disappearance of some American myths and traditions. We now live in the year 2013, and the same ideals that we possessed back in the 1950’s no longer function the same way today; many people are choosing not marry until a later age, and the divorce rate is at the highest it’s ever been, so how do we really define what a “real” and “traditional” American family is and who should be able to get a say in who gets to marry or not.
For this assignment, two different theoretical approaches will be discussed, Bowenian family therapy and structural family therapy, and they will be used individually to construct a treatment plan to help clients reach their goals. Within each treatment plan discussed, short-term and long-term goals of therapy will be established and the family’s presenting problems will be defined. Two techniques that will be assigned to help them reach their therapeutic goals and any expected outcome from using those techniques will be discussed.
In family system theory, it is believed that the impact of the relation of individuals on their lives is more than on a counselor and the individuals play a very important role in order to recover faster. In this system, changes in a family comes due to the interaction between the family individuals and therefore more emphasis are put on the relationships within a family which plays important role in the well being of a family with regard to psychological health (Titelman, 1998).
Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) in training are tasked with helping a family work through conflict and arrive and more intimate and interdependent relationships, which can seem daunting or maybe even terrifying. However, the interaction patterns that show up in families can find some context and clarity for a therapist who knows systems theory. Systems theory suggests that individuals cannot be understood in isolation from their family context because families create relational processes and generate a “sequence of interactions” and behaviors in order to maintain dynamic stability of the self-regulating family system (Nichols, 2013, pp. 58-59). How does this general systems theory help an MFT guide a family in therapy? In this paper I will take three systems theory principles and apply them to a movie in order to demonstrate how it provides a language and context for MFTs, thus making it an essential tool in family therapy.
According to Minuchin (1985), six basic principles outline the Family Systems theory. Each principle describes the function in which a family and its subsystems operate and the inextricable relationships within the system. The first principle of Minuchin’s (1985) theory implies that each member develops and is enveloped within the family unit, while the second principle states that there is a continuous loop in which each member feeds the behaviours of another. Thirdly, family systems have homeostatic elements which restore the family back to its equilibrium when disarrayed (Minuchin, 1985).
Prior to establishing his theory post-World War II, Bowen studied the origins of schizophrenia and postulated that transgenerational maternal enmeshment was its cause. Bowen’s thoughts on this were similar to those on individuation. Though he believed psychoanalysis was too individualized for family therapy, the psychoanalytic notion that one’s interactions are driven by unconscious motivation was the theory’s germ of inspiration. Goldenberg & Goldenberg (2012) write that the most essential piece Bowen’s family systems theory is that the individual needs to resolve anxiety arising from their family of origin to find a sense of individuality. This concept is traceable to Bowen’s psychoanalytic roots as a psychiatrist.
Today, non-traditional families dominate the scene. The “normal” family is now uncommon in our society (Shields 562). Teachers have to be cautious when assuming every child has a mommy or daddy. Social workers must no longer be surprised when their clients are actually grandparents taking care of their grandchildren. Some children may have two daddies, or some only have a mommy. The list goes on. The culprit creating these unusual families is not always divorce and can include the death of a parent, unwed mothers, or single-sex parents (Shields 562). New families are not required to be biologically related. In an article about her non-traditional family, “Why Do We Marry?” Jane Smiley points out that people with numerous marriages or partners extend the definition of family (564). She writes, family dinners consisted of “me, my boyfriend, his daughter and son by his second wife, my daughters by my second husband, and my seven-year-old son by my third husband” (563, 564). Relationships begin to resemble several broken, rerouted, and
I chose to analyze the book Queering Marriage: Challenging Family Formation in the United States by Katrina Kimport for this book analysis. The book is written in a way that specifically focuses upon Kimport’s findings on how the act of same-sex marriage is capable of altering or affirming heterosexual assumptions that are contained in the institution of marriage, which has been heavily based upon the concept of heteronormativity. Because the American culture never acknowledged same sex marriage and was heavily focused upon heteronormativity, the gay and lesbian Americans, who had put so much effort into constructing and establishing their set of relations and the culture, had to endure so many years of exclusion. Even with the recent breakthrough
Dr. Murray Bowen, a psychiatrist, offered us the family systems theory. This theory views the family as an emotional unit, further providing a thinking systems approach to describe the complex interactions in the unit. Bowen offered, “A change in one person’s functioning is predictably followed by a reciprocal change in the functioning of others” (Kerr, 2000). If one person within the family unit is having a difficult time, it effects everyone within the family unit. An example of this would be a father who is the primary breadwinner for his family suddenly loosing his job. Prior
This paper will summarize the theory of family systems developed by Murray Bowen. It will describe the eight key components to Bowenian therapy and the techniques used during practice. Strengths and limitations will be exposed, followed by a summary of the importance of integration between psychology and family systems theory.
Bowen’s theory consists of a system of eight interlocking states that describe the inevitable chronic emotional anxiety present in family relationships and concludes that chronic anxiety is the source of family dysfunction.
The Bowen family systems theory can utilize to understand the Gillison’s family dynamics. According to the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family (2016) the Bowen family system theory views family as an emotional unit that utilizes systems thinking to comprehend the complexity of the interactions within the unit. The theory describes families as having a major influence on their member’s thoughts, feelings and actions, which leads them to feel as if they are composed of the same “emotional skin”. The members of families, according to this theory, are driven by each other’s attention, approval, and support. The members therefore, react to each other’s expectations and wants and needs. The family is therefore interdependent. One change in one member’s function leads to a change in the functioning of the others. This is evidence in the case of the Gillison family.
Murray Bowens family systems theory focuses on ordering and defining relationships and conceptualizes the potential for growth within humans (Metcalf, 2011, p. 39). With this is mind this report aims to explore the history, concepts and principles of Murray Bowen’s family systems theory as well as apply these concepts to a case study regarding the Aleppo family. Firstly this report will explore the historical origins of Bowen’s theory followed by a description of the 8 main concepts and the key principles of the approach of this method. Secondly the report will link the applications of Bowen’s theory to the Aleppo case study and explore how a therapist would interact with this family when utilizing Bowen’s approach. Lastly an evaluation of the strengths and limitations of this approach will be explored.