Family Systems

What is a family system?

It can mean a lot of things, for instance, people could be brought up with people outside of their natural family but class them as their family. Family could also mean a committed relationship or relationships in general.

Family systems theory suggests that individuals cannot be understood in isolation from one another-families are ‘systems’ of interconnected and independent individuals, none of whom can be understood in isolation from the system.

What does it mean to say a family is a system?

  • To understand this better, try and consider the example of a mobile.

When you move any pieces of a mobile, all the other pieces move too! They do not exist in isolation from one another, and ‘movement’ in any part of the ‘system’ will affect all the rest of parts of the system.

What you’ll want to understand about the family system.

Family Roles:

  • The most basic types of roles are ‘mother’, ‘father’, ‘auntie’, ‘daughter’, ‘son’, ‘grandparents’ etc. But what is expected from people in these roles?
  • There are also roles beyond this most basic level. For instance: Roles that are given to us by other family members. Examples – the clown, the scapegoat, the delusional one, the troublesome one etc, etc. And in all families there is always one labeled the ‘nutta’, the ‘idiot’ or even the, the ‘golden child’ or the ‘achiever’ etc, etc.

Family Rules:

Family Rules are rules about how a family operates; these rules are often unspoken rules.

For example:

When people are angry with one another, do they express this or keep it to themselves?

  • How affectionate or emotional are family members expected or allowed to be with each other?
  • How do decisions get made in the family? Who has input and who is expected to ‘just tag along’, or ‘accept’ what’s happening. How is the final decision made?
  • Are there limits on ‘how much’ or in what ways people argue with their parents/loved ones?
  • How much are family members ‘allowed’ to talk to ‘outsiders’ about family problems, or in general?

Why do the roles and the rules apply?

Are your family dynamics a trigger and why?

Published by Dylan Kerr BA ACAT FDAP DipHE MBABCP

Mr Dylan Kerr Addictions Counselor Bachelors in Clinical Counseling (Hons) Advanced Certified Addictions Therapist Member of the British Association for Behaviour and Cognitive Psychotherapist Member of the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Practitioners HeDip Health-care HeDip Psychology of Addiction Dip Counselling Diploma in Arts Therapy Diploma in Transactional Analysis CSAT III Dylan Kerr is a Certified Substance Abuse Therapist who is qualified in Counseling, Psychology of addiction from Leeds University and Healthcare from Birmingham City University. Dylan Kerr has been a senior Therapist at the River Rehab, Lead Therapist at Lanna Rehab in Chiang Mai and Head Counselor of Hope Rehab in Siracha. As well as working in Thailand for 7 years, Dylan has also been the on-tour counsellor for the the Rock band ‘The Libertines’. Dylan is now resident counsellor at an Asian rehab. Dylan has experience of working within the music industry supporting acts in therapeutic needs. As well as working around the world Dylan has over 13 years experience delivering substance use disorder treatment at various agencies around the UK. He is skilled in motivational interviewing, CBT, RET and guidance around 12 step philosophies. Dylan has worked with a broad client base and establish the rapport needed to effect change and sustainable progression. Dylan wishes to start this blog to help educate people on his observations within this field and debate the nature of work in the addictions field.

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