Family Systems Theory

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Family Systems Theory, also known as Bowen Family Systems Theory (BFST), is a commonly used theory that is implicated in social work practice, usually in working with family components. Family Systems Theory helps one to understand the relationships between a family unit based on each individual’s “role” in the family, or how the various roles in a family may impact the behaviors and attitudes of the person in focus. The theory presents how one relationship within the unit may disrupt or affect that of another in the unit, and that you cannot look solely at the individual when assessing and intervening with clients. Family Systems theory explains how potent relational forces ensure survival and facilitate less anxious physiological states…show more content…
Human functioning is governed by principles common to all life forms.
2. Human life is guided primarily by emotional, instinctive forces that can be regulated to some extent by an individual’s ability to think. Human emotional forces and behavior are influenced by the interplay among instinctual, biological, genetic, psychological, and sociological factors.
3. The family is a single emotional unit made up of interlocking relationships existing over many generations.
4. An individual’s behavior across the life span is best understood as being closely related to the functioning of her on his family of origin.
5. When the individual is seen in his/her family context, we can move beyond simplistic cause-and-effect thinking to a more comprehensive understanding of the multiple factors that interact across time to produce problems or symptoms.
6. People are able modify their automatic, emotional responses, by studying patterns of automatic behavior in themselves and their family of origin, and developing greater objectivity in their appraisal of situations and their feet responses (The Western Pennsylvania Family Center,
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Kelly-Ann James-Haynes, a Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW). She is currently employed with D.C. Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) and works within the Permanency unit. After re-explaining the purpose of my interview with her, I started off the questions with first asking what theory, if any, would she say is used in practice at CFSA. She explained that she could only speak for Permanency and not the other units within the agency, and that Family Systems theory would probably be the only one that is noticeably used. She stated, “Family Systems Theory is probably the only theory that I’d say is used here, but if you would ask a colleague of mine, I am sure they would be able to make a case for another theory. But for social workers in Permanency, we work directly with the children and their family members (predominately the caretakers they were removed from) and have to assess each family member’s behavior in relation to one another’s and how those behaviors may be affecting the child or children in care from the point of when we receive the case to closing the case.” In working in child welfare and working to reunify a child with their birth/legal parents, or to achieve an appropriate permanency option for children who come into care, you have to work with their families in order to address the underlying issues and conflicts that are allowing problems to arise, and in some cases worsen overtime. More often than

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