Family System Interventions – Delivering Advice and Conflict Resolution

Family System complexities play out, in their own sweet time, like a staged drama:

  • Family systems constantly strive to achieve balance, or at least try to find their own natural level of comfort and stasis.
  • The more enmeshed and engaged family members are in the family system, the more a weakness in one area of the family system is likely to be compensated for by extra efforts made by family members in another area.
  • By way of contrast, the less enmeshed family members are in the family system, the more likely it is that the family will fragment, as individual family units go their own ways.
  • Intervening in a family’s affairs ‘disrupts’ the family system, no matter how skilful, necessary or timely the intervention. The result is a form of ‘ripple’ effect, with greatest effect closest to the parties involved in the intervention.
  • Pressuring the family to make decisions they’re not ready to make, may just increase the pressure on the family system. This calls for highly strategic thinking, and actions, to achieve desirable results in non-destructive ways.
  • It’s often ineffective to just deliver excellent advice, we need to both negotiate the acceptance of good advice AND assist with its implementation, if the family lacks the will, or the ability, to execute.

Family System Interventions should only be attempted, from within or without, after a clear picture has been developed of the influences that affect the family system, and by individuals or groups with the skills to safely manage the intended intervention (which never, ever goes entirely according to plan!).

In any Family System Intervention, the questions to be asked in advance include:

  • What are the objectives of the planned intervention? What are you trying to improve, and how will you measure success?
  • Who and what are the Family System components: who’s who in the zoo? Who are the individuals involved?  What are their personalities and issues; family history; inter-personal compatibility and relationships; competencies, knowledge and skills; discipline levels; current circumstances and challenges; aspirations; levels of respect, trust, commitment and participation in the family system?
  • What levels of motivation can we expect? Do individual family members actually desire some form of resolution, or is something else in play (eg: revenge)?

For assistance with Family System Interventions, please call, or contact: The Solutionist Group.

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