Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Systems Theory

  • Genny Lou-BartonEmail author
  • Sean D. Davis
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_327


Systems science; Systems studies


Systems theory is a broad theoretical paradigm used to explain the interactions between elements of a system, and the effect those interactions have on the qualities of the elements of the system. From a systems theory perspective, everything is either a system or part of a system – people, buildings, trees, political parties, atoms, and so forth. Systems are comprised of interrelated and interdependent parts that together form a whole with a function that is greater than any one of its parts.

In every field, mathematics, sociology, engineering and so on, there are systems to study. Systems theory attempts to pull together and describe common principles of all systems, in part to unify science, and to better understand and deal with complexity (von Bertalanffy 1950). One theory, however, has not been able to address every type of system or system application. For this reason, the field of systems theory is quite diverse. There are...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Alliant International UniversitySacramentoUSA
  2. 2.California School of Professional PsychologyAlliant International UniversitySacramentoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Eli Karam
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA