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Family Systems Therapy Research Papers

Family systems therapy research papers illustrate that family systems therapy emerged in the early 1950s as the new paradigm of psychotherapy. Although this type of therapy originated with Murray Bowen, it has grown extensively over the past thirty years to become one of the most useful methods of helping families in crisis. The family structure stands as a quintessential model for the larger framework of society.  Given this fact, it only stands to reason that solving family problems and helping families through difficult times will serve not only to strengthen the family but also strengthen society as a whole.

Family Systems Therapy

Family Systems Therapy and Applications in Society

Family systems therapy has a number of applications in society because it provides a model of helping that can have an impact on the lives of both parent and child. This point is well demonstrated when one considers the case of very young children (2-5 years of age).

  • Because most children under the age of five have not yet developed the verbal skills necessary to communicate their thoughts and emotions, utilizing the basic premises of family systems therapy, led psychologists to develop a method of therapy known as play therapy.
  • This method of therapy allows both parent and child to interact utilizing the natural language of the child, play. 
  • According to McGuire and McGuire (2000) “Play is the natural language of children.  As a consequence, play contains the vast majority of all children’s experiencing”.

Children and Family Systems Therapy

For children, play therapy provides a mechanism of communication allowing them to express their feelings and emotions. In turn, by sharing their feelings and emotions with their parents, the child is able to form a more stable and secure bond.  For parents, the process provides a method communication and a means to understand what the child is experiencing. The end result for the parent is a grasp of the child’s emotions and renewed confidence in parenting skills.  Arguably, family systems therapy is much more than play therapy, however, the example above clearly demonstrates how the theoretical underpinnings can be utilized in a practical therapy setting.

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