Monday, July 17, 2006

Theories and Methods - Systems Theory

This theory is often used in the family therapy realm, but generally seeks to describe the interactions between the client and the environment and vice versa. There are two types of systems, open and closed. An open system is deemed functional and is continually interactive with its environment. An open system may become a closed system. This usually occurs when the system attempts to protect itself from the environment, leading to a blockage of energy and isolation which is maladaptive. Systems are prone to change and this is a good thing.

Systems theoreticians believe that systems interact in a way that maintains homeostasis. That is, they behave in a way that is balanced and somewhat flexible towards influence. The homeostatic state of particular systems can have both negative and positive connotations. Systems do what ensures their survival, and often this might include maladaptive behaviors in order to maintain homeostasis. A variety of techniques are used in systems theory to bring about changes. Systems therapists believe in peoples’ capacity and motivation for change.

For further review: There are a variety of books on different variations of family systems theory. Most of the ones I have found are expensive and thus I cannot really recommend a decent reader.

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