Physiological considerations in systemic family therapy: The role of internal systems in relational contexts

Angela B. Bradford, Eran Bar-Kalifa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In this chapter we examine the role of human physiology as an important consideration in systemic family therapy (SFT). We briefly explore the history of the role of physiology in systemic theory and therapy and then give an overview of the physiological systems, most prominently related family systems, namely, the autonomic nervous system and endocrine system. We also give practical examples of how these systems may influence family interactions and vice versa. Psychophysiological processes are then explored in the context of the therapist-client relationship, such as instances of synchrony or co-regulation. Finally, we give the reader an idea of how to incorporate the physiological processes outlined here in a clinical context with a number of physiologically informed considerations and interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Systemic Family Therapy, Set
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781119438519
StatePublished - 26 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Biopsychosocial
  • Co-regulation
  • Endocrine system
  • Human physiology
  • Synchrony
  • Systemic family therapy
  • Systemic therapy
  • Systems theory


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