Family and Systemic Therapies

1707 Words7 Pages
The emergence of family and systemic therapies in the latter part of the 20th century saw something of a paradigm shift in the world of psychotherapy and counseling. Those in the field during the 1960’s and 1970’s were predominantly occupied with psychodynamic, behavioural and humanistic approaches (Corey, 2009). Theories attached to these forms of therapy emphasized the autonomy of the individual, and the capacity to engage in free, independent choice. In therapeutic settings, much of the discussion would also typically be focused on ‘cause-and-effect’, in other words; seeking an explanation for why a person was thinking, feeling or behaving in a particular manner. Less attention would be focused on the context of the individuals’ experience, and the matter of how a situation came to be as it is (Bowen, 1972). This idea however is central to what would later become the practice of family and systemic therapies. Family therapy advocates using practices that specifically address historical, contextual and constitutional factors, including working with all members of the extended family and wider social network as well as coaching people to manage their constraints within their unit (Carr, 2012). Systemic therapy has its roots in family systems theory, which was pioneered by Murray Bowen, an American psychiatrist who originally practiced within the psychoanalytic model, but later shifted his focus to the role of family dynamics and dimensions of the family as a system during
Open Document