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Second-Order Change

Many family counseling theories were derived from the family systems framework. Second-order change is a central concept in family systems theory, defined as fundamental changes within a system’s function and organization that lead to permanent changes in its interaction patterns. Generally, second-order change involves a change in the structure of the system. A family counselor using a second-order change framework will go beyond working to remove the problematic symptom by attempting to understand the family’s systemic interaction patterns in order to encourage change in these areas. A family counselor can facilitate change to the rules and structure of a family system and assist family members in disregarding the old system and learning to adjust to the new system in order to develop a healthier way ...

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