System Theory and Communicationtheory

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Systems & Communication Theory

System: A system is defined as a bounded set of interrelated elements exhibiting coherent behavior as a trait (Constantine, 1986). Families are considered systems because they are made up of interrelated elements or objectives, they exhibit coherent behaviors, they have regular interactions, and they are interdependent on one another.

Boundary: Boundaries are the interface between systems and subsystems. In family theories, boundaries are set by functions of the system, the implicit rules defining who participates in the system and how they can participate. Boundaries influence the movement of people into and out of the system.

Open Boundary/Closed Boundary: Every system has ways of including and excluding elements. If a family is permeable and vague boundaries it is considered “open”. Open boundary allows elements outside the family to influence it. Closed boundary isolates its members from environment and seems self-contained. No family system is completed closed or completely open.

Morphostasis/ Morphogenesis: Morphostasis refers to the ability of the family system to maintain consistency in its organizational characteristics despite the challenges that may rise up over time (Steignlass, 1987). In contrast, morphogenesis refers to the systems’ ability to grow systemically over time to adapt to the changing needs of the family. In all families, there is an ongoing dynamic tension between trying to maintain stability and introducing change. Also feedbacks loops is used to describe the patterns of interaction and communications that facilitates movement toward morphogenesis or morphostasis. Negative feedbacks maintain stability and minimize changes which help to maintain homeostasis, while positive feedbacks facilitate changes.

In family system, families draw boundaries between what is included in the family system and what is external to the system. Boundaries regulate the flow of information into and out of the...
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