Family Systems Theory

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According to Richard Charles (2001) “the effectiveness of family systems theory rests not much on empirical research but on clinical reports of positive treatment outcomes, the personal benefits experienced by the families that underwent this kind of treatment, and the elegance of Bowen’s theory” (p. 279). Bowen’s family systems theory views the family as an emotional unit and is a theory of human behavior. Systems thinking are used to describe the complex interactions in the unit. However, the client’s ability to differentiate himself/herself from the family of origin is the basis for Bowen’s family systems theory. In addition, the primary focus for growth within the emotional system is differentiation of self. Differentiation of self…show more content…
With this in mind, a critical element in determining whether a church is able to accomplish its stated mission is the average level of differentiation of a congregation. Differentiation decides how much of the church is affected by the reactions and complaints of key people in church as well as to what extent a church is influenced by social, cultural, political, or economic pressures (Ronald Richardson, 2005). “Differentiation is what allows us individually to fulfill our Christian calling more closely, to choose our principle, ethical and moral stances with clarity, and to act with courage in fulfilling them” (Richardson, 2005, p. 389). It allows for people to relate to others in a loving way, without taking part in the ‘party spirit’ Richardson (2005) suggests that destroys ministry and church life. Also, Richard (2005) suggests: It allows us the emotional flexibility to stay in contact with all important constituencies in the church, hear all points of view and understand them without being aggressive or defensive, retaliating when hurt, or accommodating in response to emotional pressure from key others in the system (p. 389).
Church systems can be more or less differentiated. Churches with less differentiation will have many weak symptoms. The church community’s level of differentiation is an average of all the people in it, in particular
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