Family psychology and systemic approaches: Working effectively in a variety of contexts

Michele Harway, Steve Kadin, Michael C. Gottlieb, Roberta L. Nutt, Marianne Celano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This series considers the importance of family psychology training and ethical concerns that scarcity of training in this area may leave psychologists poorly prepared with couples and families. In the lead article, Michele Harway and Steve Kadin set the stage for using systemic formulations to treat couples and families. They challenge practitioners to obtain additional exposure. Using clinical vignettes, they suggest combining systemic approaches with traditional approaches. The efficacy of systemic interventions is considered, as are ethical issues of working with couples and families. The three commentaries support that psychology must make a paradigm shift to accommodate the changing needs of service recipients. Michael Gottlieb argues that the time is now for systems interventions. Integrated models of patient-centered health care require psychologists with systems training as pivotal members of the team. Medicine's acknowledgment that physical ailments occur in relationships requires family psychologists to be part of that team. Roberta Nutt suggests that as our population changes and becomes more diverse, family psychology has much to contribute to cultural competence training. Since many cultural groups are collectivistic, systemic approaches must be taught side-by-side with individualistic approaches. Systemic perspectives can also address the intersectionality of identities, which can help navigate multiple systems. Marianne Celano proposes family psychology training for psychologists treating children. She notes that family assessment should be a key component of any psychiatric evaluation including youths. Systemic interventions are extremely effective with youths' behavioral health problems, and they can assist families in negotiating the multiplicity of systems in which they are embedded.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-327
Number of pages13
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Couples and families
  • Cultural competence
  • Integrative models of health care interventions
  • Systemic interventions
  • Treating children and adolescents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Family psychology and systemic approaches: Working effectively in a variety of contexts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this