Systemic therapy aims to address people as part of systems, i.e. people in relationships in the widest possible sense, dealing with interactional patterns and dynamics of relating. It approaches problems practically without necessarily determining past causes (as with psychodynamics) nor does it label people sick, or victim etc. It aims to look at ongoing patterns of behaviour in groups of people – i.e. families – and addresses those patterns directly.

The therapist does not have the power to change the people or systems, but help the systems themselves by creative “nudges”. Highlighting an individual’s “role” in the family is often sufficient to effect change at a deep level.

“Systemic therapy neither attempts a ‘treatment of causes’ nor of symptoms, rather it gives living systems nudges that help them to develop new patterns together, taking on a new organizational structure that allows growth.” [taken from wikipedia]

Systemic therapy focuses on practically addressing current relationship patterns rather than analysing causes such as subconscious impulses or childhood trauma.