Family System Theory

Topics: Family, Family therapy, Systems theory Pages: 7 (2825 words) Published: October 12, 2008
Family System Theory
Murray Bowen's family system theory was one of the first comprehensive theories of family system functioning. It was developed in 1974 and it believed the family can be defined as a set of interacting individuals who are related by blood, marriage, cohabitation, or adoption and who interdependently perform relevant functions through roles. Relevant functions of the family include values and practices placed on health system theory is used to explain patterns of living among the individuals who make up the family systems (Edelmen, 2006). Describe the theory

In system theory, behaviors and family members responses influence the family pattern and life. Meanings and values are vital components of the family system and provide motivation and energy. Every family has a unique culture, value, structure, and history. Values, which are described as the means of interpreting events and information, pass from one generation to the next. Values continually interact with the environment and change slowly over time. The family processes information and energy exchange with the environment through values, the values identify the meanings of the information for the family's use. Systems have boundaries that separate the family system from the rest of the environment and control the flow of information, energy and matter between the system and surrounding environment to maintain the system. This characteristic becomes the family's psychic energy and internal manager, made up of interactions and relationship of members with one another and with those outside of the family system. The family is considered a unified whole rather than the sum of its parts-an integrated system of interdependent functions, structures, and relationships that acts as a single whole. Living systems are open systems. As a living system, the family must be open to a constant exchange of energy and information with the environment; the greater the openness of the family, the greater the changes can be. Change in one part or member of the family results in change in the family as a whole. Change requires adaption of every member of the family as roles and functions take new meanings. After the family has made the changes it does not revert to its former state; the change is incorporated into the system (Edelman, 2006). Family system theory is a “system that is changed by input from surrounding environment and, in turn, exert an influence on that environment. In layman's terms, the family systems theory means that when change happens the family system is influenced by and is an influence on that environment. The way interdependence is described is much like the idea of the family systems theory. This idea means the same as the theory, but it is the relationship between the family members, not the relationship between the environment and family members. Everything one person does relates to what the other person does. With the family I will study this case will be a very prominent concept. Many problems arise in a family and when that happens the members of the family (system) must depend on each other to get through it. Thus, interdependence is a crucial component when examining the family systems theory (Brown, 1999). Feedback mechanisms are responses to an operation or behavior that provides information about that operation or behavior. These mechanism provide feedback to the family about their progress toward their goals and aspirations and also dictate whether the family is heading in the opposite direction of their goals. They are the mechanism that tell or show the reality of the situation. They help show what is really happening in the family, what goals are still existing and realistic, what goals have changed, who's roles are changing and where the family is going at that moment. A systems boundary is an arbitrary dividing line that defines the inside and outside of a given system. The system hierarchy defines the...

References: Brown, J. (1999). Family system theory and practice. ANZJ, Fam Ther., Vol 20,
No.2, pp. 94-103.
Bryannan, L. (2000). In Bowen Family System Theory [Web]. Retrieved Oct. 12, 2007, from
Edelman, C. & Mandle, C (2006). Health promotion across the lifespan. (6th Ed).
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