Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Seeing the System

I have come to deeply value the training I received in systems theory during my graduate work in family therapy. It really is a theory of everything! Of course, the application of it can become very difficult at times simply because families and individuals are not machines, even though some of the things that happen in families and family systems appear to be sequential. Anxiety and other generational symptoms can travel around and land on certain individuals in the family system with some amount of predictability. It is also possible to observe how changes made by one member of the family system can sequentially impact all the other members. The art of therapy then is figuring out how to "see" the family system and its movements, and then knowing how to briefly enter into that system to influence change. I've always felt that Emma has an uncanny ability to see the systemic dynamics in individuals and families and know how to move with it. I sometimes get stuck in artistic metaphors and metaphysical gymnastics while she brilliantly dissects and diagnoses the heart of the problem. I guess that's what makes us a good team. I've become really good at spotting that look from Emma in co-therapy sessions that means, "I don't really think you are seeing what I am seeing, and I think you should probably go with me here." I am quick to respond. Don't worry though, when it comes to metaphors, she can't touch me.



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