Running Head: Family Systems Therapy
Adlerian Family Therapy
Chandra S. McCray
Family systems therapy is based on the concept that individuals are best understood through evaluating the entire family. Symptoms in individuals are seen as a result in dysfunctions in their family system. The family is an interactional unit and a change in one member affects all members. Family therapists believe that an individual’s relations with family have more impact in their lives than anyone could. The family therapist uses the systemic perspective, it believes that individuals may carry a symptom from the entire family, and an individual’s functioning is an outward sign of the way a family functions. Individuals can have symptoms existing independently from the family members but these symptoms always have valid meaning for family members. Family therapists will change the system in order to change the individuals. They do so by changing dysfunctional patterns or creating functional ways of interacting. Alfred Adler was the first psychologist of the modern era to do family therapy (Christensen, 2004). A basic assumption in Adlerian family therapy is that both parents and children often make habits in being repetitive, and having negative interactions based on goals that are unclear (Dreikurs, 1974). These negative interactions and patterns are a reflection of the way our society has changed in their family systems. In most cases the problems of any one family are common to all others in their social and ethnic community. Although much of Adlerian family therapy is conducted in private sessions, it has also been used in different group settings such as schools. Adlerian therapist believes that human beings are social, purposeful, subjective and interpretive in their approach to life (Sweeney, 1998). These characteristics are formed or instilled at a very young age. Without the social, physical, and emotional nurturing...
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Christensen, O. C. (ed.). (2004). Adlerian family counseling (3rd ed.). Minneapolis, MN: Educational Media Corp. (Original work published 1983)
Dreikurs, R. (1974). Counseling for family adjustment. In R. Dreikurs, Psychodynamics, psychotherapy, and counseling (Rev. ed.). Chicago: Alfred Adler Institute. (Original work published 1949).
Sweeney, T.J. (1998). Adlerian counseling: A practitioner’s approach (4th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Accelerated Development.
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