PMID: 590474Dec 1, 1977

A systems theory approach to a case of anorexia nervosa

Family Process
P CailléB Sorbye


Systems theory views mental and psychosomatic illness as the natural consequences of a dysfunctional human interactional group. The symptom chosen is affected by the symptom carrier's age, sex, and unique individual characteristics. However, the reason the symptom develops and is maintained is to be found in the system(s) of which the symptom carrier is a part. A human system consist of two or more individuals who have an ongoing, often goal-directed, relationship with each other. The most important human system today is undoubtedly the family. The welfare of the individual is usually related to membership in a vital, well-adjusted family. A dysfunctional family easily becomes dependent on mental or behavioral deviations in one of its members as a means of preventing disintegration. We hope this article's description of a typical treatment situation will demonstrate how a systems theory approach differs from other forms of family therapy in its evaluations and techniques.


Mar 1, 1994·The International Journal of Eating Disorders·S GowersA H Crisp
Jan 1, 1980·Journal of Psychosomatic Research·A H CrispJ Hartshorn
Dec 1, 1988·Journal of Adolescence·D C BreunlinW P Russell
Jan 1, 1995·The International Journal of Social Psychiatry·P S ChandraS M Channabasavanna
Mar 1, 1986·Family Process·L OnnisL Cancrini

Related Concepts

Anorexia Nervosa
Defense Mechanisms
Family Psychotherapy
Parent-Child Relationship
Psychotherapy, Multiple
Systems Analysis

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