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Family System Perspective and Handling Depression

A theorist whose family-systems work acknowledges varieties of family pathology but appears to give an account of overcoming it in a context of emotional safety and emotional empowerment strategies is Virginia Satir. According to Nichols and Schwartz (2000, p. 117), Satir made a significant theoretical break from the mechanistic-family-theory school of thought in favor of an approach more in tune with the humanistic psychology ideas of Carl Rogers. This is borne out in her text Peoplemaking, which not only speaks much less in structural-functionalist and professional-psychology jargon than in more or less ordinary language but which also formulates family theory in terms of the human experience of being an individual, being in the family, being in the world.

For example, Satir identifies aspects of family life, first in regard to the individual's experience, and later in regard to individual experience within the family. Family experience is implicit in that of the individual, and the primary concerns of Satir are self-worth (of each individual member) and communication (between members). One concession Satir makes to jargon is to describe self-worth, or self-esteem, in terms of a "pot" continuum. Thus low pot = self-esteem is low; high pot = self-esteem is high. Low pot would be the equivalent of depression. Self-esteem would vary directly with low and high pot. Thus an individual not suffering from depression but possessed of self-esteem would "own" his or her feelings and decisions, rather than feeling oppressed or not in control of them (Satir, 1975). But labeling the condition seems to be of less import to Satir than looking at the human behavior and emotion that allows the labels to reach meaning and that allows the human beings involved to obtain a sense of and empowered, self-reflective, congruent self who has options and who has the ability to make competent decisions about the self (McLendon, 2000).

In Satir's view, the d...

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Family System Perspective and Handling Depression. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 03:59, August 20, 2017, from
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