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What is Systemic Therapy?

Systemic therapy offers many benefits for those wanting to get help with co-occurring disorders, anxiety, and PTSD.

What is Systemic Therapy?

Systemic therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on the way relationships, life choices, and behavior patterns are all connected in a person’s life. The concept comes from systems theory, which suggests that all parts of a system affect one another. This helps to maintain the stability and equilibrium of the entire system.1 

How Does Systemic Therapy Differ From Other Therapies?

There are different types of systemic therapy treatment; systemic therapy can be used as a type of family therapy, but it isn’t entirely a substitute for family therapy. Family therapy is a branch of systemic therapy that allows multiple members of a family to express themselves in a safe environment, cultivating a greater understanding of each other. Systemic therapies are not always used for family units and can involve just one individual client.

The difference between systemic therapies and other types of therapy is that, rather than just focusing on an individual’s personal thoughts and feelings, it analyzes the individual and the individual’s experiences with the people around them in order to cultivate healing. The individual in therapy is regarded as part of a bigger system, and their part in that system affects the way they experience life.

Systemic Therapy Techniques

Therapists practicing systemic psychotherapy use the following systemic therapy techniques.

  • Circular questioning: This technique involves the therapist asking questions in order to see all angles of a situation and identify the core of an issue. It sometimes involves circling back – hence its name – to an earlier thought process to truly understand a client’s needs and experiences.
  • Conceptualization: This method allows a therapist to contextualize a client’s experience and look at how the individual is experiencing problems that are part of a larger pattern within themselves, their family, or their community.
  • Reframing: In this technique, the therapist will help the client identify the way they view themselves. From there, the therapist will offer a new perspective that deepens or broadens the individual’s initial view. It is typically used in combination with circular questioning and ultimately helps clients see their own patterns of behavior in different situations. This allows them to re-examine many areas that they previously may not have thought had significance. 

What is Systemic Therapy Used for?

Because systemic psychotherapy aims to investigate deep-seated issues and patterns, the therapy can be useful for many different people and mental health issues. It can be helpful for people of any age and background, including children. Some people may see improvement with just one session, while it can take years for others to get to the root of their issue and truly experience healing.

Systemic therapies are commonly used for:

Benefits and Effectiveness of Systemic Therapy

Systemic psychotherapy gives individuals or families a safe space to unpack personal issues they may have struggled to open up about with other people, even if they wished they could talk to them about it. It can also provide insight into relationships that can be hard to see without the help of a professional. Systemic family therapy can bring family members closer together – since systemic therapy relies so heavily upon patients realizing how everything is connected and relates to each other, families can also benefit from this and realize how family members impact the family system itself.

Individual systemic therapy can help people understand themselves better and live more positive lives by helping them to achieve understanding and empowerment through multiple different angles they might not have thought of before.2

This section will explain some of the many benefits that systematic therapy has to offer, both for the individual and the family units. 


Therapists give individuals the tools they need to better understand themselves and their lives. When people have a greater sense of self-understanding, they can form healthier relationships and improve existing relationships. The individual learns to actively explore their thoughts and behavior patterns, which can help them feel more empowered to reach their potential in life.

Seeing Different Perspectives

It can be hard to see outside of our own perspective, but systems therapy can help people see situations from different viewpoints and in different contexts. Having this awareness can help them see when others are trying to exert power, when they are being influenced by someone else, and how these different interactions can affect their life and behavior.


Systemic therapy psychology encourages people to take charge of their lives. This doesn’t mean they have to change their entire lives or become a new person, but it gives clients a sense of empowerment to live their lives the way that is best for them. It can help individuals cultivate more empathy for others, which is crucial in creating healthy relationships with partners, parents, and children.

Improved Relationship Skills

Individuals can learn to communicate with others in more meaningful and effective ways. They may also learn new and better ways to handle conflict and solve problems.

Core Beliefs

Systemic treatment helps individuals identify their core beliefs, some of which may be negatively affecting their lives. For example, someone with a core belief of “I am unworthy” may go about their lives feeling bad about themselves and struggling to improve their lives. Changing or eliminating that core belief can help individuals realize their value.3

Identification of Strengths

Systemic counseling helps people see their strengths and weaknesses, which can increase self-confidence and self-worth.

Learning to Work Together with Family

Systemic family therapy interventions facilitate better relationships within families, helping family members work together for the benefit of one another.

Along with the benefits above, systemic psychotherapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for children and adolescents specifically.4

Systemic family therapy

Systemic Therapy at Anew Treatment Center

If you or a loved one is interested in a systemic approach to therapy, don’t hesitate to get started. The first step is finding a therapist who is knowledgeable in this treatment modality, then setting up an appointment or consultation. Not all therapists are well-versed in systemic therapy, so it’s important to verify that before going to your appointment.

The compassionate, knowledgeable team at Anew Treatment Center is skilled in integrative systemic therapy and many other therapeutic modalities. Anew Treatment Center knows that individuals thrive when the people in their lives are committed to the growth and success of not only themselves, but the entire family unit. That’s why Anew Treatment Center offers systemic family therapy, as well as individual systemic therapy, so you can improve your life alongside your family, leading to lasting change.

Opportunity for Wellness

With intensive support offered for each stage of mental health recovery, Anew Treatment Center is there for you throughout the entire healing journey. Additionally, many of Anew Treatment Center’s programs are reimbursed through insurance, taking the financial burden off your shoulders. 

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