Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Network in Family Systems Theory

  • Nathan D. WoodEmail author
  • Jeffrey L. Reed
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_294

Name of Concept

Network in family systems theory


Deep ecology; Network theory


Many ancient cultures emphasized that people, animals, plants, etc. were all part of one giant integrated system, “Mother Nature,” “Mother Earth,” or “Gaia.” These ancient beliefs of an integrated world where humans are a part of the larger system have been receiving greater philosophical and research support. One such theory, network theory*, or deep ecology* (Capra 1996), represents a synthesis of systemic ideas from general systems theory, cybernetics, human communication processing model, autopoiesis, physics, and nonlinear mathematics. Capra’s articulation of network theory* holds profound implications for the study of family systems in general, as well as the practice of couple and family therapy.

Theoretical Context for Concept

The evolution of systemic ideas familiar to the CFT field also informed Capra’s ideas. Specifically, Bertalanffy’s general systems theory, Wiener’s...

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  1. Capra, F. (1996). The web of life: A new scientific understanding of living systems. New York: Anchor.Google Scholar
  2. Kozlowska, K., & Hanney, L. (2002). The network perspective: An integration of attachment and family systems theories. Family Process, 41, 285–312.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1545-5300.2002.41303.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Eli Karam
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA