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What is the difference between a systemic therapist and a conventionally trained mental health provider?
Conventionally trained therapist considers themselves as an expert on the client’s life, believing that objective truth and normality exist. Postmodern perspective makes a therapist to be non-hierarchical and non normative, this allows clients to create their own change of the problem. Conventionally trained therapists operate from a pathologizing medical model that focuses the clinical diagnosis of the client.
Systems-oriented therapist knows that in order to fully understand we must understand their context, we see clients as part of and embedded in a system. A systemic therapist attempts to take into account as many variables as possible to understand individuals behavior. Thus when we see a client in therapy we know that they are part of a system and were only getting one view of that. The approach to therapy is also different, according to Nichols (2012) conventional therapists focus on root causes and look for the why as opposed to systems-oriented therapists that focus on the how. We focus on how we can help our client improve, how their relationships can be fixed as opposed to focusing on why the relationship may be broken. As system-oriented therapist we use circular causality versus linear causality because we know that everything is interconnected; people, relationship, histories, etc. Systems oriented therapist also work from a non-pathologizing standpoint because it is understood that behavior makes sense given context.
-Priscilla Jouvin, M.S 2019