Systemic therapy – we are all part of different social systems
Systemic therapy is interested in the way you as an individual relate to, and are in relationship with other people. It does not view you as someone in isolation but as part of a larger unit:
- a family
- a couple
- a work organisation
It is a therapy that is interested in how you fit within the various groups and communities you are part of.
Systemic therapy looks to understand and recognise unhealthy and complicated patterns of relating
Systemic therapy looks to understand and recognise unhealthy patterns in your relationships and to identify ways in which you can consciously alter the ways in which you are involved with other people to make them more constructive.
Your therapist will work with you to help you spot and identify particular signs, such as low mood, and emotional responses that are triggered in you by interactions with particular kinds of people, events, experiences and things.
In systemic therapy we think about how other people impact upon you. We don’t think of low mood as being something that exists solely in you but instead see it as part of your response to a larger system.
Systemic therapy is not a directive therapy
It is a therapy that helps you to spot and learn and recognise the kinds of patterns of relationship and interaction you may get into.
It is a therapy that has a broad application and can be used to explore a range of issues:
- emotional issues
- depression issues
- issues relating to addiction
- sex and relationships
- eating issues
- panic and PTSD
It can be used in both short and long term treatment – this is something that you would discuss with your therapist.
Systemic therapy is not all about the past
it’s not focused particularly or exclusively upon problems of the past, although issues of the past of course do fit in. We all have our own histories of relationships with people, with groups, and with certain organisations and families.
Systemic therapy is a therapy that looks to understand what’s happening to us right now when we interact with people. It is a way of addressing what is happening to us in the present, it’s not backward looking.
Aims of systemic therapy
One of the aims of systemic therapy is to help people to develop their own, independent ways of seeing what happens to them when they relate to certain people.
In your therapy you will work to develop more independent ways of thinking about things.
By following this approach it helps people to see for themselves what they can start to change. It helps people understand and change certain things about how they relate and how the systems that they are part of fit together.
We are all different parts of different family systems and sometimes where it is possible therapists will bring the family unit together to help you understand how your family adapts and interacts with each other. They do this to help spot and identify maladaptive behaviours and change them. It is not aimed at blaming or creating un-helpful conversations within the family. It’s really trying to develop a more supportive environment and family system.
But, because it can be very difficult to bring different members of the family together it may be that the individual has to come to terms with and think about the system that they are part of by themselves, with their therapist. This is where your therapist would help you to gain insight into the way you tend to relate to other people.
Your relationship with your therapist is a system, and the opportunity in therapy is to understand the dynamics that are going on in the therapeutic relationship. By doing so you gain insight into your own patterns of behaving and relating. Your therapist will help you to identify and make changes, and you can work with your therapist to understand the kind of systems you develop, and to see what you can do to make them more adaptive and healthy and useful for you.
Systemic therapy is really aiming to help you understand yourself, your needs, and the way you relate to other people better. To understand the emotional moods and states that are provoked in you by other parts of your systems. By doing so, systemic therapy aims to give you more autonomy and independence and room to make good decisions and to create and construct a healthier lifestyle for yourself.
How can Counselling Buckinghamshire help?
Understanding more about how you fit into the systems of your family, work etc., can have a profound impact on your everyday life.
At Counselling Buckinghamshire we have a depth of experience of working with people to help them understand how the systems they are part of influence their behaviour.
Contact now for a free telephone consultation to discuss how our approach may be relevant to you.