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Essay on Family Systems Theory

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The family structure is made up of individuals living together in intimate groups with the purpose of caring and supporting each other. Rules and boundaries, spoken and unspoken, are developed by the family members. Family rules and boundaries change and shift over time in order to evolve and grow as a family unit. Some changes are subtle, but some events force major change within the family system. This paper applies the concepts of systems theory to the family system in the movie Sweet Home Alabama. Reese Witherspoon (Melanie Smooter) and Josh Lucas (Jake Perry) star in this heart-warming film telling a story of a young woman who flees from Alabama to reinvent herself in New York City as a high fashion designer. She leaves behind…show more content…
The second family consists of a mother-son system. The mother is a wealthy, prominent Judge in New York City and her son is the cities most eligible bachelor running for political office. The second system’s boundaries are ridged; other systems have a difficult time being accepted by and into the family. Family information is guarded and the family system is difficult to penetrate.
Open Systems In the examples given above, two family systems exist. Both are considered to be open systems, however, one is more open than the other. Each system has a boundary which is open to some varying extent. This openness makes it possible for other systems and information to pass into and out of its system. Input from within a family or from other systems puts pressure on the family to make changes. Sometimes these changes are not wanted and disrupt the family dynamic.
Closed Systems “If not enough change is allowed to occur, the system is said to be closed.”(Becvar & Becvar, 1999, p. 23) While there is no type of system which is entirely closed, there are some systems that lack beneficial energy or input to stay balanced.
Entropy
Entropy is a term used to describe a force that is present in all family systems. If the system is lacking a sufficient amount of social exchange, the family relationship tends to weaken and breakdown. Melanie and Jake are a perfect example of entropy. They
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