Family Systems Therapy is a way of understanding and working with present situations in the context of a family unit and past relationships or family histories. The family is viewed as a single emotional unit made up of interlocking relationships existing over many generations. This perspective suggests that individual behaviour throughout life is more closely related to the functioning in one’s original family than most people realise.

Clinicians working from a family systems perspective attempt to move beyond cause-and-effect thinking to a more comprehensive understanding of the multiple factors which interact across time to produce problems or symptoms.