What is Systemic Psychotherapy?
Systemic therapy is specifically designed to meet the needs of couples and families. For this reason, it is sometimes more generally known as ‘couples psychotherapy’ or ‘family psychotherapy’. Unlike other forms of psychotherapy Systemic practice is specifically focused on working with more than just a single individual, instead, this is an approach that works with family groups or others who are in a close relationship. The ultimate aim of this is to enable everyone involved to work on problems together, helping and providing empathy through a shared therapy experience.
Systemic psychotherapy is an outgrowth of a larger interdisciplinary field called systems theory, which studies the complex structures and interactions within science, nature and society – systemic practice has developed as a method of therapy which encompass the whole family group or closest caring relationships.
Is Systemic Psychotherapy for me?
Couples and family psychotherapy is well suited to a range of personal circumstances and issues, meaning that anyone can benefit from this valuable therapeutic option. Just as there are many forms of relationships and family groups, systemic psychotherapy can be effectively applied regardless of the client’s sexual orientations, type of relationship, financial status, social background, beliefs or culture.
Therapy can help you to communicate better with a loved one, child, parent, sibling, distant relative, co-worker or help to build skills to do so even if the other party is not able to be present. Alternatively, it can be a space to talk about any relational concerns that one might have.
Systemic psychotherapy is designed for both, brief interventions and for complex, severe or long-standing disorders requiring long-term treatment.
How does Systemic Psychotherapy help?
The groups and pairings in which we live have a very profound impact on our emotional health. When issues and problems arise within a group, such as a couple or a family unit, this can have a negative effect on everyone. Systemic psychotherapy is designed to address ways for couples and families to cope as a group with the distress, pain and upset that problems can bring by suggesting exercises and communication skill building.
Therapy works by exploring patterns in the relational system in a non-blaming way. Often partners or family members can pinpoint a problem as having been started due to a particular cause or a person. We will, however, encourage everyone to explore how each member has contributed to a certain pattern.
By providing this type of support systemic psychotherapy can help both families and couples to better understand the issues they are facing, understand how individuals affect the group as a whole, identify the strengths and weaknesses within the group, improve communication between members and ultimately set goals and devise strategies which will resolve their current problems.
What issues is Systemic Psychotherapy good for?
Systemic psychotherapy has been proven to be effective for a large range of both personal and group problems, including children and adolescents, as well as adults. A great deal of research has shown that couple or family therapy is an effective solution to dealing with a range of issues, such as:
- Difficulties in relationships and the distress they cause
- Sexual problems
- Domestic violence
- Drug and alcohol problems
- Mental health issues and mood disorders, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), psychosis, schizophrenia, grief, self-harm and suicide
- Coping with physical issues, including major illness diagnosis and poorly controlled asthma and diabetes
- Eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia
- Child and adolescent behavioural problems, including infant sleep, feeding or attachment issues, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and delinquency
Systemic psychotherapists are active in a wide variety of areas, including schools, hospitals, hospices, child and adult services, offending projects and community outreach programmes, as well as in private practices such as Psytherapy.
What happens in Systemic Psychotherapy?
It is important to understand that in systemic family or couple psychotherapy the therapist will take an approach which is not blame-centric and doesn’t seek to ‘take sides’. The aim is to reduce stress and difficulties for everyone involved. While it is natural for couples or families to experience difficulties due to their differences or competing concerns, the goal of systemic psychotherapy is to tackle these problems by encouraging loved ones to understand and help each other better.
You can feel confident that your therapist will adapt and tailor sessions to fit your personal circumstances and problems. The needs, resources, ages and preferences of the people involved are taken into account as much as possible – enabling everyone to feel they are being listened to and their feelings are taken into account. Therapy involving children can include drawing and play exercises which help them to better express themselves in a creative way.
While the central idea is to provide systemic psychotherapy to a group or couple, sometimes the individuals who attend can vary. Therapists can also see clients on a one-to-one basis in addition to group psychotherapy if they feel this would be beneficial. This applies to circumstances where someone may want to sort out their feelings before a group session or where therapists want to discuss issues with the parents of young children.
Is Systematic Psychotherapy recommended by the NHS?
Family and couple psychotherapy is recognised as a valuable and effective treatment option for suitable issues by the NHS. In line with other forms of counselling and psychotherapy, the benefits of ‘talking treatments’ are very well established and are often used as the first line of treatment for a range of mild to moderate mental health problems. Where medication has been prescribed it has long been understood that talking treatments work very effectively in concert with pharmaceutical intervention to deal with both symptoms and causes.
How can I find out more about Systemic Psychotherapy and whether it’s a suitable treatment option for me?
For a friendly and completely confidential conversation please feel free to get in touch with us by either emailing Psytherapy at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling now on 07570 084856. Alternatively simply click here to visit our contact page. We will be happy to answer your questions and advice whether systemic psychotherapy service for families and couples is the best option.