Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950565 | Print ISBN: 9780761928201 | Online ISBN: 9781412950565| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Family Systems Theory
Amy E. Alberts
Family systems theory represents a theoretical orientation in research and practice that is concerned with family structure and functioning as a means of understanding individuals. Since its introduction in the mid-1950s, it has evolved into a largely accepted and highly influential approach to children and families. It proposes that the best interests of individual members, when properly interpreted, are coextensive with those of the family as a whole. Based on the assumption that the best way to understand an individual is to observe that individual in the context of his or her family, this theory offers researchers and clinicians alike a framework for identifying and addressing the best interests of individual family members. In this regard, family systems theory creates a dialectic between research and practice via a shared theoretical framework. By forging the integration of developmental research and practice so that it may inform policy and future practice related ...