Family Systems Theory. History. The History of Family Systems Therapy. Freud and Rogers believed that psychological problems were a result of neurotic conflicts and negative interactions to one’s family.
Family Systems Theory
Origins of Psychopathology
1. It is impossible not to communicate, even silence is communication.
2. Communication contains information, and a definition of the relationship
A. Not only does communication carry information it also contains a command which defines how the interaction should take place.
B. You have to consider that a communication always contains two aspects, a verbal and non-verbal message.
3. The punctuation in a communication defines the nature of a relationship and also can be used to define the person with the last word as having greater power.
4. This axiom addresses what type of message is conveyed in verbal and non-verbal communications. A. Verbal communication is the clearest form of conveying a message in terms of content but there is a lot of room for ambiguity about the definition of the relationship between the communicators. B. The non-verbal communication defines the nature of the relationship. It can become a problem if the family relies too much on non-verbal communication because it can create more ambiguity in the relationship.
5. There are two types of communication exchanges, symmetrical and complimentary, and these are identified by the type of relationship in which the communication is taking place.
A. If equality is present then there is a symmetrical relationship and either party is free to take the lead in the interaction. In this type of relationship a pathology can occur if there is a schism or open warfare.
1. Schism is defined as a state of constant andchronic disequilibrium. This occurs when one or more parties in the relationship is constantly competing and an existence of mutual distrust. The lack of cooperation is also present in this state.
B. A relationship is complimentary when one party leads and the other party follows. This type of relationship can rigidify and prevent adequate growth.
1. When a parent insists that a child relate as an adult the child can experience depersonalization and aggressive acting out.
2. In a marriage when one partner displays overt control it can lead to domination of the family by that person and then there is a lack of reciprocity and give and take between partners. There is a rule of accommodation in these families and it is often at the expense of compromising oneself.
Techniques of Treatment in the Family Systems Approach