What is meant by Systemic Counselling?

Sylvia Rauch

The classical way to explain the term Systemic is to picture a mobile. If you touch just one aspect (part) of it, then the whole construction starts to move. The same thing happens when an individual, who is also part of larger ‘construction’ (eg. family , a partnership etc.) changes. Then, movement within the affected system occurs automatically.

It’s exactly for this reason that in the Systemic approach, the person is viewed with respect to all of their social relationships. Should peculiarities or difficulties become noticeable, then it’s not just as a result of the characteristics of the individual, but more due to the the interaction between the individual and those in his/her environment. For example, should a child suddenly start to wet the bed again, then this is generally a sign that there is an imbalance in the family system. At this point it is not a question of apportioning blame, but more in working with the skills and strengths of the members of the system (family, partner etc), to facilitate a positive change process. Often, it just takes a small change in perspective in order to initiate a significant improvement of the situation for all associated parties.

The Systemic Approach has the objective of helping to make certain thought and behavioural patterns, that we may not consciously be aware of, transparent. In doing so, it offers the opportunity to identify alternatives which will support us more effectively in the present and the future. A key factor to the success of this process is the fact that all conversations are performed in an atmosphere of respect, appreciation and acknowledgement, in which all participants have the opportunity describe their perspectives, and can be assured that their viewpoints are taken seriously.