family Systems theory
Topics: Family, Psychology, Family therapy, Sociology, Early childhood education / Pages: 4 (395 words) / Published: May 21st, 2014


Why study families?

• Traditional psychology - problem an individual one - Externalise distress - act out

- Internalise distress - withdraw


- Psychoanalytic - e.g Freud - fixated at a phase due to trauma and regress to this level

- Behaviourists - e.g learn inappropriate response

- Attachment - insecure primary attachment

• Sociological perspective

Bronfenbrenner's model - ecological approach

a) Life cycle stresses

b) Stresses related to cultural expectations

c) Stresses related to historical time

d) Random fate

e) Stress reactions which create more stress

Does research support the sociological viewpoint?

- Distress related to lack of social support

- Overcrowded housing, father in gaol, depressed mother

- Parental stress & maternal negativity plus child temperament

- Poverty

What is family's position in the sociological model?

- most influential part of child's social context

- buffer between child and outside world - serves to protect or expose child

- usually positive

Do families need support?

- Bronfenbrenner's model less applicable now?

- Less sense of community

- Increased fragmentation

How do families work?

Can be seen as a system - stress -> distress

- child most likely to be the distressed person as most powerless

Basic premises

 Circulatory causation - interactive model

 Non-summativity - whole more than sum of parts

 Communication - feeling and content

 Governed by rules - spoken or understood

 Homeostasis - in some sort of balance

 Morphogenesis - flexibility to respond to change

How do you measure family relationships?

Research relies on two dimensions

- Affection (aka warmth, acceptance, cohesion, closeness)

Disengaged-------------OK----------------Enmeshed Acceptance

- Control (aka power, autonomy, flexibility)

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