Sample Psychology Paper on Family Stem Therapy

Family Stem Therapy

Several studies have been conducted on the topic of family therapy, which have resulted in numerous conclusions. Family therapy is important in addressing many concerns that family members go through. For instance, as compared to no treatment or alternative control measures, family therapy has been evaluated and acknowledged to have positive impacts. Furthermore, family therapy has been perceived to show some constructive impacts over time on individuals in the structural and functional units of families. The present paper provides an analysis of literature review on family system therapy and a research question on the topic.

Family therapy is a common name that means a widespread and assorted group of treatment methodologies, which have become prevalent in the past three decades. The introduction of such forms of treatment strategies replicates a major model transformation in understanding the behavioral and mental disorders among individuals. In most cases, many family therapists share the supposition that the affected individual’s conducts and symptoms are closely related to models of contact between family members. Despite the fact that family therapy normally entails face-to-face engagement with members of the family, the epistemological foundation of family therapy is not connected to the individual involved in the treatment but relatively to the way family therapists perceive the concerns as well as the human condition (Hazelrigg, Cooper & Borduin, 1987). In the family therapy process, a family system standpoint recommends that a given conduct problem or concern needs to be acknowledged and understood d from the social context in which it takes place. Therefore, the family is not only perceived as a collection of personalities but also as a decree-administered system as well as an ordered group that surpasses the sum of its discrete components. In the family systems therapy, several approaches have been applied as overriding in the family system. The common approach is based on Bowen’s multigenerational systems theory where the family is defined by the extended family members where the therapy emphasizes on the person’s role within the extended family system.

According to Fife and Whiting (2007), the common tactic involved in family therapy is grounded on family systems theory. A system’s perspective assumes the biological view of the family, thus accentuating the link between family members as part of the entire family system, instead of focusing on specific individuals. Family systems therapy, therefore, involves treatment that considers the systems exclusive to the family in therapy and the internal decrees and models of functioning by which their system functions. For example, challenges that a particular family member may be going through or the identified patient may be as a result of an unproductive operations entailed in the system. Therefore, initiating transformation into the system is hypothesized to introducing change to the family member through ensuring the whole system in effective. Though it does not depend on an original pattern of a typical family, Family Systems Therapy (FST) is alert to assorted notions of what institutes a family. Because of the lively and general method of systems theory, several fundamental philosophies align well with the notion of family within numerous cultural standpoints. The fundamental thinking of systems therapy is unswerving with shared cultures through working together with the family unit. The independence and poise of an individual within the family is also upheld in this approach, hence bring into line with self-deterministic models of distinctive societies.

This concept is predominantly noticeable in the notion of differentiation in family systems therapy, where discrete family members uphold their own sense of personality and remain expressively linked to the family. For example, therapists working with Samoan families need to be acquainted with the opinions surrounding notions of the self initially before initiating philosophies of differentiation. Differentiation is one of the five concepts that make-up systems theory. Each of these concepts is significant and must be acknowledged within in a given cultural context in a steady manner. In family systems therapy, the ideologies of youth development are significant. For example, the identified patient entails a family member with an issue and is classically a young person. Therefore, family therapy system provides that instead of focusing on the individual, therapists contemplate the elements in the system that may play a significant role in triggering the problems. This allows a shift from family dysfunction to be assessed completely depending on the conduct of the young person as a result of the family dynamics impact. This system is stable with a strengths-build outlook despite the fact that it does not explicitly talk about the strength of the young individual.

According to Larner (2004), several approaches are based on the broad systemic ideologies, for instance, strategic, structural, feminist, solution-focused, and social constructionist among others entailed in family systems therapies. Therefore, the essentials of treatment can be different between among family therapists in regard to their ideal approach and emphasis even within a given model. In most cases, the techniques applied tend to be different, compliantly and practically applied in response to the intricacy of the client’s condition and exhibitions with a number of approaches based on broad systemic principles such as strategic, structural, Milan, post-Milan, feminist, Bowenian, narrative, solution-focused, social constructionist and so on. The specifics of treatment can vary between family therapists according to preferred style and focus even within a particular model. Techniques tend to be flexibly and pragmatically applied in response to the complexity of client contexts and presentations with integrative systems becoming the custom (Larner, 2004).

Similarly, the focus on systemic family therapy involves a social process, that is, who speaks what to whom instead of the specific application of a functioning approach. Since the family systems therapy entails a combined and philosophical form of therapy, an individual’s language and action are emphasized instead of a precise model or system. Larner (2004) emphasizes that family systems therapy gives special consideration to its accorded components of culture, gender, politics and devoutness. Moreover, in emphasizing individual and universal narratives and explanations, family therapists may not apply some explicit interventions. This implies that family therapy involves an environmental intervention in a natural environment that does not translate easily into a step-by-step procedure or intercession guide, which can be recurrently functional and verified. This form of intervention is significant for operational or interactive systems of family therapy and hybrid family-founded management systems that encompasses psychoeducation, mental-developmental practices and managing training programs in dealing with exact issues and target groups (Carr, 2000).

According to Delalibera et al. (2015), providing care for a family member, for instance, individuals with serious and advancing condition is worrying. This is because the condition causes apprehension, which can trigger changes in family aspects. Normally, the whole family to some extent is directly or indirectly entailed in the care process. For example, providing care for a sick individual mostly at home encompasses several practical functions, which ensure that the patient is comfortable both physically and mentally. According to Kramer et al. (2009), several researches have been undertaken and show the manner in which family struggle and involvements of care at the end of life can impact the desolate process among family caregivers. Sorrow involves a natural and predictable reaction when one losses a loved one that affects both individuals and a family at large. In family systems therapy, Delalibera (2004) maintains that death can impact the family’s operational and dynamics since the family, which is an incorporated system of associations, is forever altered and the remaining members need to reorganize.

Therefore, in the grieving process, some elements can impact the individual’s mourning process, which are different from each other. Moreover, the mourning experience can also be triggered or impaired by the frankness of communication in addition to the degree of solidity among the affected family members. Consequently, effective family functioning in the process of caregiving stage, particularly during the grieving process, is significant for the emotional welfare of the family members. According to Delalibera et al. (2005), when a family unit functions effectively as provided by family systems therapy, shared support among the members of the family play a significant role in the adjustment process during the loss of a loved one. The best approaches involved during this process include open communication and free forms of expression of state of mind and opinions. Furthermore, family togetherness and positive resolution of opinion differences are significant for an effective functional family that is experiencing a traumatic situation since when a family functioning is more restricted, its members have a bigger challenge in adapting.

According to Stanton & Welsh (2012), systemic thinking is among the foundation of family systems therapy for a couple and family psychology research and practice. In this case, systems theory offers a set of philosophies and ideas that inform the understanding of human conduct besides being significant in activating these values in a practical manner, which are incorporated by healthcare providers. Stanton and Welsh in their literature abridges significant elements of systemic thinking and reconnoiters its application couple and family psychological study and practice in the current hypothetical, procedural, and specialized practice developments. Systemic thinking involves the complete intellectual reorientation, which includes the inclination and capability to contest prevailing mental models, the acknowledgement and use of systemic standards for constructing an individual’s information (Barton & Haslett, 2007). It is significant to understand that the contemporary systems thinking is not similar to traditional representations of systems or the incorporation of the past model of a family therapy. This because the current systems thinking emphasizes on the complex dealings of the components in problem sourcing, protraction, or change (Stanton and Welsh (2012). Therefore, several perceptual and intellectual constructing processes illustrate systemic thinking and its application family system therapy in research and practice.

According to Asen (2002), coming up with an inclusive representation of all the methods and systems that make up family therapy is an intricate task. Asen (2002) in his exploration provides an inclusive evaluation of the systems that are found in systemic family therapy.  In this regard, systemic family therapy involves an assorted set of systems that are essentially associated with a background component, that is, “seeing and treating people in context” (Asen, 2002a). Systematic family therapy can also encompass treatments that employ systemic, cybernetic, narrative and constructivist models (Asen, 2002). The main systems that are grouped under the systemic canopy include structural, strategic, milan‐ systemic, narrative, psycho educational and behavioral (Asen, 2002a). Furthermore, in explaining and describing each of the systems used in family systems therapy, Asen (2002) offers an assessment of the proof base for universal therapy. In conclusion, the author affirmed that systemic therapy is more real alone, or together with other therapies, in a variety of dissimilar situations and provisions. For example, these could be behavioral problems among children, drug and alcohol abuse among minors and adults, marital suffering, juvenile asthma, minors with oppositional analysis issues, eating disorders, psychotic ailments and mood illnesses (Asen, 2002). Cottrell and Boston (2002) in their literature are, however, critical in their analysis of the suggestion. The authors cite a number of organizational concerns in their study. Therefore, Cottrell and Boston (2002) are more thoughtful in their definition of efficacy or effectiveness of family therapy. Nonetheless, they provide an evaluation of the confirmation base for systemic family therapy among children with behavior and attention disorders, drug abuse, eating disorders, melancholy and chronic physical conditions. Furthermore, Asen’s (2002) evaluation of systems family therapy also restraints therapists from having a general brand of therapy that does not consider the condition of the patients, their setting of work and the projected results of the therapy.

According to the literature provided, it is apparent that family therapy is effective in addressing some of the clinical issues. Carr (2000) provides an empirical exploration that supports the application of family therapy as an efficient treatment involvement. Nonetheless, there is still a need for a comprehensive evidence upon which approaches work for specific problems. According to Carr (2002), the evidence provided relates to a variety of child and adolescent psychological health issues, such as child abuse, behavioral issues, attention disorder, substance use, anxiety and depression among others. For example, brief family therapy helps drug addict minors and the bereaved juveniles and adolescents. On the other hand, narrative therapy is more efficient as compared to behavior therapy for psychological challenges like fouling.

Generally, family therapy approaches that apply to minors and adolescents’ concerns effectively work through an amalgamation with intellectual-behavioral and psychoeducational programs. According to Carr (2000), family therapy is also significant among psychological issues, such as marital suffering, sexual issues, worry, and mood problems among others. Using clinical trials that are based on the effectiveness of specific mental health disorders, it is clear that the literature provides evidence for family therapy as being effective as compared to none treatment. This is important in conditions such as schizophrenics among families, miserable women, substance abuse among family members, behavior problems in both children and minors, and aggression among others.

There is a need for a study on the implications and effectiveness of family therapy practice. It is evident that the therapy has been effective in dealing with several health problems. Nonetheless, in more severe cases and chronic disorders treatment such as cognitive therapy, drug treatments and group programs are effectively applied. Therefore, there is a need for evidence to ascertain the effectiveness of the family system therapy for all conditions both inside and outside the therapy, which will form the basis of the research question.


Asen, E. (2002a). Outcome research in family therapy. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 8, 230‐238.

Barton, J. & Haslett, T. (2007). Analysis, synthesis, systems thinking and the scientific method: Rediscovering the importance of open systems. Systems Research and Behavioral Science24(2), 143-155.

Carr, A. (2000). Evidence‐Based practice in family therapy and systemic consultation. Journal of Family Therapy22(1), 29-60.

Cottrell, D., & Boston, P. (2002). Practitioner review: The effectiveness of systemic family therapy for children and adolescents. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry43(5), 573-586.

Delalibera, M., Presa, J., Coelho, A., Barbosa, A., & Franco, M. H. P. (2015). Family dynamics during the grieving process: A systematic literature review. Science & Pblic Health, 20(4), 1119-1134.

Fife, S. T. & Whiting, J. B. (2007). Values in family therapy practice and research: An invitation for reflection. Contemporary Family Therapy29(1-2), 71-86.

Hazelrigg, M. D., Cooper, H. M. & Borduin, C. M. (1987). Evaluating the effectiveness of family therapies: An integrative review and analysis.

Kramer, B. J., Kavanaugh, M., Trentham-Dietz, A., Walsh, M. & Yonker, J. A. (2009). Predictors of family conflict at the end of life: The experience of spouses and adult children of persons with lung cancer. The Gerontologist, gnp121.

Larner, G. (2004). Family therapy and the politics of evidence. Journal of Family Therapy26(1), 17-39.

Stanton, M. & Welsh, R. (2012). Systemic thinking in couple and family psychology research and practice. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice1(1), 14.