This kind of therapy isn’t solely focused on the client’s individual, psychological and behavioral traits, but takes into account how they intertwine with his/her personal relationships, self-evaluation skills and the unique subjective experience that comes with it. The symptoms that a person manifests, in addition to how they express their subjective discomfort, gain further meaning if seen as parts of the complex relational systems in which we all live in: above all family, being the first social environment in which we experience roles and jobs, and which goes through phases of crucial development and transformation, called “life cycle”.
Sometimes, a single family member finds himself/herself shouldering all the weight of the emotional tension caused by the crumbling of the entire system, focusing all the attention on him/her and so allowing the other members to avoid directly facing their own issues and difficulties.
The Systemic-Relational approach uses many techniques when dealing with individuals, couples and families, working on four main levels of observation:
- The family transgenerational history (grandparents – parents – children)
- The present family relational and communicative organization.
- The role of the individual symptom inside the family system.
- The phase of the family life cycle in which the symptom takes place.