Systems Theory Paper

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Week Four: Systems Theory Paper
Nisselly Rossell, Keri Welborn, Christie Alston, Kristy Monroe, Jennifer Bourne, Melanie Hines BSHS/312 Models of Helping People

Systems Theory Paper
“Those who study systems theory tends to view any system as the result of a dynamic interrelationship between its component parts and its whole. They view the parts as mutually determinate with the whole. Social workers utilizing systems theory view societies and social groups as dynamic systems. They are concerned with bettering the conditions of the individuals who make up such systems.” (Flamand, 2010) Systems theory is used by many social workers. This theory helps social workers understand how the surroundings of the client’s environment determine and are determined by those who make up the environment. Once the social workers are able to acknowledge the dynamics of the system, the social worker will try to figure out a way to create a positive change in the system to bring about a better way of living for that client. Some of the factors that may affect a client’s environment are: family, friends, social policy, and mental health. Systems theory is the same as family therapy. The history of this theory can be traced all the way back to the 1940s and 1950s. However, marriage and family counseling began to really grow in the late 1970s and 1980s. In 1968, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, came up with a theory that said organisms (couples and families) affected one another (Parrott, III, 2003). Parrott, III (2003) stated that, “the focus of the theory of the family is on the interaction of the parts, which influences the system as a whole” (p. 366). In the 1950s, another aspect came to surface when learning how to deal with a family member who has schizophrenia. Many individuals, such as: Jackson, Bateson, Lidz, and Bowen, all focused and observed how families and couples functioned with a schizophrenic member (Parrott, III, 2003). Parrott, III (2003) stated in the text that “Gurman and Kniskern (1981) report that approximately 50 percent of all problems brought to counselors are related to marriage and family issues” (p. 367-368). Families and married couples bring many different issues and problems into counseling sessions, such as: parenting difficulties, rebellion, spouse abuse, and self-concept issues. All of these problems and numerous other issues, make family therapy one of the most popular counseling areas in the past, and currently (Parrott, III, 2003). System theory beliefs are based on all things can be viewed as a web of relationships among elements, and all systems can be understood and used to develop greater insight into behavior of complex things and to move closer towards a unity of science. Kenneth Boulding, an economist, had concerns over the manipulation of the systems concepts and he concluded that the affects of the Cold War that abused the power always prove consequential and that systems theory might address these issues. Many of the theorists wanted to find a general systems theory that could explain all systems in all fields of science. Ludwig von Bertalanffy emphasized that real systems are open to, and interact with, their environments, and that they can acquire qualitatively new properties through emergence, resulting in continual evolution. There are many approaches that have been influenced by systems theory, which makes for numerous important contributors and practitioners to this theory. Structural therapy was founded by Salvador Minuchin in 1974. He believed that the goal in this therapy was to make a new structure, and in turn, a new therapeutic system. Strategic therapy focuses on not altering the family structures, but focuses on resolving the problem. Jay Haley and the Milan Group were founders of this therapy. Virginia Satir and Carl Whitaker were founders of the well-know approach known as experiential family therapy. This therapy is focused on growth experiences that troubled...
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