Physiological Considerations in Systemic Family Therapy

Angela B. Bradford, Eran Bar-Kalifa

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


Summary 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 GB
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Systemic Family Therapy
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781119790181
StatePublished - 2020


  • human physiology
  • systemic therapy
  • autonomic nervous system
  • synchrony
  • co-regulation
  • systems theory
  • systemic family therapy
  • biopsychosocial
  • endocrine system


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