CFT 412 Lecture 3: Class 3: April 9

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Class 3: April 9
General System
Gregory Bateson (1940) developed general system theory
Way to study and think about families functioning as
organized units, rather than just a group of individuals
Von Bertalanffy (1960’s): simple machines, jet engines, amoebas,
human brain
All share attributes of a system
The idea that an organized group of parts forms a complex whole
That is more than the sum of its parts
“There are no individuals in the world, only fragments of families”
Carl Whitaker
People's lives are interwoven
Family members behaviors become mutually influential
Challenges role of “scapegoat” in a family
Takes into account multiple influences
Individuals are systems within systems
Nichols & Schwartz, 2006
“The behavior of every individual within the family is related to and
dependent upon the behavior of all the others. All behavior is
communication and therefore influences and is influenced by
Watzlawick, Beavin, & Jackson, p. 134, 1967
Family as a
What are some rules and roles that shape your family system?
Covert and Overt
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