family therapy(redirected from Family systems theory)
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family therapy[¦fam·i·lē ′ther·ə·pē]
Treatment of more than one family member in the same therapeutic session.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
family therapya treatment, usually for disturbed children, employing PSYCHOTHERAPEUTIC or COUNSELLING methods, based on the premise that a child's behaviour is the product of a complex of interacting family relationships. To understand why a child is unhappy or exhibiting behaviour problems it is essential that he or she is regarded as part of the family system, therefore the whole family is seen by the therapist. By being able to assess where the stresses are within the family, the therapist is able to suggest ways in which the balance may be restored. The ‘problem’ behaviour may be ‘referred’ from another part of the family system (e.g. when the parents are not happy in their marital relationship), and, similarly, it will be affecting the rest of the family system. Adjustment to one part of the system will have repercussions on other parts, therefore the whole family is involved in the treatment process (see SYSTEMS THEORY for the theoretical concepts involved).
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000