Family System Tools

Topics: Family, Family therapy, Psychotherapy Pages: 8 (2287 words) Published: August 15, 2010
Two broad conceptual terms make up the single term “Family Theory”. A theory is nothing more than a set of interconnected ideas. The family concept is, at times difficult to define and can include such elements as cultural environment, genealogy (causing social, environmental, psychological and biological factors are believed to contribute to and other factors to be inherited), physical locations (some families and even extended family members living under the same roof), emotional intimacy, and open communications.

The basic idea of a systems theory is that objects (in the case of family; the members ) are interrelated. System theorists insist the system (family) has to looked at as a whole unit as opposed to individual pieces. The General System Theory (GST) was defined by Whitchurch and Constantine (1993) and the “GST’s Composition Law states “that the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts”.( In layman language this means the whole family unit is greater than just taking each person’s individual characteristics and adding them all together to create the family. The Systems Theory is much more concerned with how different systems (subsystems) affect the family (the whole system).

There are four levels in which a family exists- rigid, flexible, chaotic and structured. Tools used to work with the family systems need to be fluent enough to adapt to each level. Cognitive Restructuring is a tool to do as the name implies. Restructuring thinking about the elements of the family, the social impacts a family endures, cultural and generational differences (when older parents start families). This tool can be adjusted dealing with all ages and population background, educating the family as a unit. The most common fear one has is speaking in front of a large group of people. Most people do experience some fear of speaking in front of a group. A little fear before speaking to a large number of people is expected or considered normal. But some people can not handle the fear he or she experiences while facing social situations. For these people experiencing the fear of speaking to someone in the hallway, replying to a teacher’s question, asking someone out on a date may cause severe anxiety and pain. This condition of severe anxiety and pain is called Social Phobia.

Warning signs of Social Phobia:

Emotional Symptoms

Worrying about a social event months before the actual day.

Fear of others judging you, (strangers, people you do not know.)

Feeling less confident and self-conscious about oneself in social situations

Fear of embarrassing yourself.

Avoid Social Situations that will cause the person to talk and be with other people.

Physical Symptoms

Heart beating “more rapidly” than normal

Turning Red in the face and not being able to talk

Sweating, dry throat, muscles tensing up or trembling.

Upset Stomach, experiencing Nausea or Diarrhea.

Social Phobia affects 7out of 13 people in the United States, and is ranked the third most common Psychiatric disorder. Social Phobia affects both men and women ages range from teenage years to young adult and on occasions young children. People with Social Phobia may be shyer than a normal person. This disorder can be a learned behavior, the parent can suffer from this disorder and the person growing up in the house hold will take on the parent’s characteristics. People who experience this phobia find it stressful to talk in a group or sit with other people he or she does not know. Mix the fear, shyness, stressful emotions plus anxiety equals a person avoiding people and social situations that cause him or her to talk and be with people. If a person does not treat this disorder it may control his or her life and interfere with school, family and professional career and the everyday living as a person. In some severe cases a person may quit school and work, avoid people. In worst untreated cases this...

References: Ellen Jaffe-Gill, M.A, Melinda Smith, Heather Larson, and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. contributed to this article. Last modified on: 9/30/06.
Garofolo, Susan, B.A. Play Therapy for Children, Retrieved from an online source
10/13/06 (Virigina Axline)
Retrieved 1 Oct 2006 “Systems Theories”
Retrieved October 11, 2006 “
Retrieved October 11, 2006
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