Family theory and therapy

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Whereas psychologists have traditionally focused on individuals, particularly what goes on inside people, family system theory largely deals with what happens between people, especially closely related ones. Family system theory emphasizes contexts, particularly the intimate context of the family as a powerful motivating and organizing force in human behavior. Ths psychology of intimate relationships provides a bridge between the personal and the social. Family and marital therapy are clinical applications of the system viewpoint that is creating a revolution in clinical practice. Psychopathology is viewed as a consequence of relationship struggles between intimates. Symptoms, which can balance family as well as intrapsychic forces, are looked upon as relationship events rather than as a manifestation of a central illness process. The focus in treatment is on changing the context or the interlocking system as well as the individuals. (15 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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