Systemic approaches

Vossler, Andreas; Squire, Brigitte and Bingham, Clare (2017). Systemic approaches. In: Vossler, Andreas; Havard, Catriona; Pike, Graham; Barker, Meg-John and Raabe, Bianca eds. Mad or Bad? A Critical Approach to Counselling and Forensic Psychology. Sage, pp. 223–236.


This chapter introduces key ideas and concepts of systemic approaches and how they are applied in therapeutic work in forensic mental-health practice settings. Following a brief overview of the development of systemic thinking in the last six decades, key concepts and guiding principles of systemic therapy will be explored (focus on strength and resources, circularity, meaning making and changing), together with related systemic techniques. This is followed by two applied sections discussing how systemic ideas and concepts are applied in the work with young offenders and their families in a community setting and in working with clients in a forensic mental-health inpatient context. Throughout the chapter the psychological research evidence for the use of systemic approaches will be provided and case illustrations given of how systemic concepts and techniques can be applied in therapeutic practice in forensic settings.

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