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A family is a complex natural social system compl

A family is a complex natural social system complete with its own properties and processes. As in any system no part stands alone and no process operates without influencing, to a greater or lesser degree, every other process and every component of the system. Social Work assessments and interventions cannot, therefore, be based on the consideration of any individual or process in isolation. A review of four components of family systems--patterns of interaction, boundaries, rules, and homeostasis--demonstrates how these variables influence each other and how an understanding of these systemic interrelationships is crucial to those conducting Social Work assessments and designing interventions.

Family systems evolve rules, roles, and power structures as well as the various forms of communication, conflict resolution, and problem solving that enable the performance of numerous tasks and the achievement of their objectives. But a family, unlike other systems, is an emotional system characterized by "affection, loyalty, and durability of membership," that organizes itself in ways that may be either stated or unstated and whose meanings and broad effects may not be fully understood by the family members or, at least, may be difficult for them to isolate and articulate (Goldberg & Goldberg, 1991, p. 4). Family systems also operate "in a temporal context" and involve members of three or even four generations (Hansen, 1983, p. 121). In addressing the problems of maladaptive, chaotically organized, and disrupted families, therefore, Social Workers require a strong grasp of the manner in which the various aspects of the system affect each other.

Traditional approaches to the problems of troubled families derived from the psychoanalytic paradigm that regarded the individual in terms of intrapsychic conflict and employed a retrospective methodology in which explanations were sought by looking at "root causes from the past" (Goldberg...

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A family is a complex natural social system compl. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 04:44, May 26, 2022, from