As the name suggests this approach focusses on the systems operating within families and how these influence our current relationship behaviours. These “systems” include family beliefs and rules which are passed on through generations.
All families operate as systems, with different roles given to different individuals. If a family is healthy and functioning well, these roles will not be too rigid and change will be possible.
"We don't talk about money"
"An affair means we can't stay together"
"I can't cope on my own"
In problematic relationships these roles are unlikely to be so healthy or flexible. This, combined with other "rules" can function as protective devices to ward off the possibility of change, which is seen as too painful.
Every family holds beliefs about the world - how safe or unsafe it is. Counselling helps clients explore these beliefs and the impact they have on current relationships.