What does Systemic Approach mean?

The fascinating fact about the systemic approach is that it breaks down the illusion that simply being mental health professionals makes us understand mental disorders and their treatments. On the basis of the theories of constructivism and social constructionism every psychological problem is considered to be a construction and that, on the level of verbal communication.

The therapist is an observer, but not one who is independent from the observed system. Maintaining this viewpoint provides one of the greatest advantages of the systemic approach, as the therapist loses the power of an expert and instead becomes more human.

In the systemic approach the notion of pathology is not considered to be useful. When we simplify reality through a diagnosis, we need to be aware and state that this type of simplification is a subjective construction. The systemic approach, on the other hand, offers another perception of reality, one that aims to capture complexity.

In simple words, the problem or difficulty that an individual may face depends on his or her relationships, financial and sociopolitical circumstances, childhood experiences, personal sensitivity as well as a combination of all of these. Those, who think and work in a systemic way, take into consideration all these parameters when they engage in a constructive dialogue with their clients. They do not arrive at diagnoses as mental health professionals, rather in cooperation with clients they explore the meaning of their problems and also explore alternative perspectives and possibilities.

This discussion may be abstract, metaphorical and also practical, according to clients’ needs. The outcome is relief, encouragement and new ideas for action.

Virginia Ioannidou