Drawing in or Ruling Out “Family?” The Evolution of the Family Systems Approach in Sri Lanka
This chapter traces the baby steps of family systems approaches (FSA) in Sri Lanka. It captures some of the early known discussions about FSA held between academics, development workers, practitioners and grassroots counsellors and shares with the reader their genuine questions, doubts, cautious enthusiasm and joyous discoveries. The chapter also provides insights into the sociocultural realities within which counselling services are offered, the nature of the mental health and psychosocial services (MHPSS) in Sri Lanka, the diverse players and the specific limitations and challenges that proponents of FSA would need to navigate. The reader is invited to experience two real-life events in which the authors have explored the adaptation and use of FSA together with their students, co-workers and trainees. The first is in a classroom where masters-level students of counselling experience FSA as a practical learning experience. The second shares explorations with field counsellors working directly with vulnerable family members of migrant workers. These two scenarios highlight the reasons for and the manner in which FSA has been chosen as a robust, flexible and powerful tool capable of addressing the demands of evolving family systems and a changing Sri Lankan society.
KeywordsSri Lanka Family systems approach Evolving families and society Adapting family systems approach
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