Systemic Informed Therapy

Systemic Therapy can be beneficial for a diverse range of families and diverse range of problems within them, including families from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds, families who have children with behavioural issues, and is also useful for individuals who have emotional difficulties relating to others and to reflect on strengths and difficulties from a relational point of view.

What is Systemic Therapy?

Systemic therapy (a form of Family therapy) seeks to reduce distress and conflict by improving the systems of interactions between family members, and may involve parents and children of all ages, grandparents, siblings, partners, friends, carers – anyone who is important to the family.

Systemic therapy seeks to identify deep-rooted patterns within an individual’s relationships and with family members. This helps to uncover how members communicate and behave within a system, based on beliefs about their respective roles. This approach also assumes that a person’s emotional problems arise from difficulties in their relationships with others inside and outside the family. So, when someone develops a psychological difficulty, systemic therapists see the problem as not just one for that person but also a problem for their family and other people who are involved in the person’s life.

How does it work and is it effective?

Duration of Systemic therapy can range between 6-20 sessions depending on the presenting problems.

Sessions will involve the bringing together of family members with a therapist, to discuss the issues that are affecting their relationships.

The therapist will discuss each person’s hopes from the therapy and encourage everyone to talk about their experiences and ideas, and to listen to everyone else.

A family tree will be drawn to help everyone think about relationship patterns in their family.

Questions will be asked by the therapist to encourage reflection on each person’s beliefs, values, needs, hopes and assumptions to help facilitate understanding and new ways of thinking.

The therapist will help everyone to move beyond blame and to begin exploring how everyone can work together towards a shared goal.

These sessions – and the family therapy techniques used – will be adapted according to the therapy goals and the ages, needs, resources and preferences of the individuals involved. Sessions involving children for example may include drawing and play exercises to help them express their emotions in a more creative and engaging manner.

Sometimes a family therapist will offer individual sessions to supplement the family These can be particularly beneficial for those who want to meet with the therapist before a family session to decide on the best ways to express their thoughts and feelings with others.

The flexible approach towards Systemic therapy means that it has been shown to be very effective for both adults and children, and evidence in the effectiveness of this therapy is continually growing.

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