What is Systemic Therapy?

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  • Written By: Pamela Pleasant
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2019
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In psychological treatment, systemic therapy refers to a type of therapy used for two or more people addressing a problem. It is a psychological term that relates to family therapy, though it is not limited to families. Any type of group can benefit from this therapy, which can offer easier solutions to group problems because systemic therapy does not include psychoanalysis or individual counseling. The primary focus is to cover an overall issue instead of specific problem. When a group is offered a solution, it can also be applied to other problems.

If help is needed psychologically, an individual can be given many options for treatment. These options typically based on assessment and diagnosis a problem. During this time, certain behaviors, motivations, and past experiences can be examined. With systemic therapy, the solution can be found by finding out what is best for the group as a whole and personal relationships will not factor into the solution. It is called systemic coaching.

A creative approach can be taken when it comes to problem solving. The therapist dealing with the specific group may not try to solve the problem. Instead, he may attempt to allow the group to find its own solutions by introducing different scenarios and ideas. Systemic therapy gives a group control over problems by allowing the group's members to find viable solutions by themselves. These solutions can be used in the future, especially if they are effective.


Everyday interactions in the home or workplace can be more productive by using systemic therapy. Individual actions will no longer affect the entire group because there may be specific rules or regulations that prohibit such actions. For example, if a problem in the group arises because one or more people cannot keep up with work, then a specific overall regulation can be made addressing work related expectations. This eliminates any slow downs and it is the best solution for an entire group. It also eliminates problems that can appear in the future.

Entire group behaviors can also be examined. When a group reacts negatively to a problem, it can result in many problems. The solution in this case, may be to attempt to change certain patterns of behavior. Addressing patterns instead of individual people can help to bring about faster changes because no one person will take the blame for the behaviors of others. By developing new ways to address patterns and introducing change, the group will be able to resolve other issues using these same formulas.


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