Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Context in Family Systems Theory

  • Aalaa AlshareefEmail author
  • Emily C. Klear
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_1139


Background; Perspective; Situated cognition; Situated realities


Family systems theory originated to account for individuals in the context of their family and how the process of interaction between family members impacted the individual members. Historically, psychological theories focused on objects and drives, and identifying behaviors, thoughts, and emotions as independent entities; the context was truncated (Mesquita et al. 2010). There were attempts to understand the influence of social surroundings on individuals; for example, Wundt (1894/1998) discussed the impact of social context on an individual’s mental life (Mesquita et al. 2010). Neo-Freudian psychologists developed personality theories based on human interactions within the social and cultural context (Hair et al. 1996). Family systems theory emphasized the importance of context (Breunlin et al. 1997).

Theoretical Framework for Concept

Family systems theory from its earliest incarnations has had a...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Family Institute, Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Heather Pederson
    • 1
  • Diana Semmelhack
    • 2
  1. 1.Council for RelationshipsPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Midwestern UniversityDowners GroveUSA