Application of Family Systems Theory

Application of Family Systems Theory. Application of Family Systems Theory. You will use a television series to illustrate the Family Systems Theory concepts that were presented to you in class and in the Ingoldsby, Smith, & Miller reading.

Using the list below, choose a TV show to watch for three hours (if you choose an hour-long show, you need to see three episodes; if you choose a sitcom, you need six episodes). Most of the shows are either currently on the air, shown in reruns, or available on DVD. It is fine if you want to watch the show with a group of fellow students, but your final paper must be your own work completely.

After viewing the show, you will be expected to write a 3-4 page paper using the show as an illustration of how you would use Family Systems Theory to understand family dynamics. This analysis shouldn’t be more than 4 pages (that’s the hard part). Apply the concepts

You must choose one of these shows. Do not substitute another show:


The Cosby Show


Golden Girls

Living Single

The Mindy Project

Parks and Recreation


Soul Food

30 Rock

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

The Office (American version)


New Girl

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia


Desperate Housewives Downton Abbey Fame Gossip Girl Glee The Good Wife Grey’s Anatomy The Good Wife

Lost Nashville Parenthood Revenge

Scandal The Sopranos thirtysomething Ugly Betty

Pretty Little Liars Gossip Girl

A detailed grading rubric is on the next page, and on D2L, but (in summary) grading is based on:

Organization and Flow

(introduction and conclusion, cohesion between paragraphs and sections, transitions: 5 pts)

Technical Accuracy

(spelling, proper grammar and punctuation, citations, references and APA format: 10 pts)

Presentation of Family Systems Theory

(provides an accurate and clear explanation of the principles of family systems theory – what are the main assumptions and concepts, why are they important, and how are they related to each other?: 10 pts)

Selection and Presentation of Example

(provides an overview of one distinct example from the TV show so that unfamiliar readers have a context with relevant details of the example made very clear: 5 pts)

Application and Justification

(provides an organized application of family systems theory using two to three main concepts from the theory and interprets the application for the reader – for instance, don’t just point out roles; use your discussion of roles to make a larger point: 20 pts)

Family Systems Theory Paper Outline

(This outline will help you structure your paper. Feel free to use headers for each of these sections of your paper, but follow APA guidelines. Refer to the OWL@Purdue for assistance:

Introduction to the Paper

Think of this section as a map to the paper. What will you be writing about? How will you write about it? Which show will you use? How will you analyze the scene? Will you discuss FST concepts? Which ones?

Sometimes folks write this section last, so that they can give an overview of what they have written about in the paper

Should be about 1-2 paragraphs max. for this paper.

Description of Family Systems Theory

What is FST?

What are the concepts and main assumptions of this theory?

Which concepts will you specifically discuss in this paper?

Which ones will you leave out?

Should be about 1-2 paragraphs

Description of the scene

Describe the scene you will be analyzing, not the whole show. You can assume the reader is familiar with the show.

Should be no longer than a paragraph

Application of Family Systems Theory to Scene

Using two to three concepts you identified earlier in the paper apply them to the scene you just described.

Be sure to discuss how these concepts are interrelated within the system.

You should provide an in-depth analysis of the show using FST concepts.

Should be the majority of your paper


What were the main points of this paper?

What would you like to reader to take away from this paper?

Should be about 1-2 paragraphs

****Please remember to cite the sources you used to write this paper. These could include class discussions, your television show, and readings from the syllabus. Most likely the types of sources you will cite are called: Personal communication, motion picture, articles or chapters. Look on the OWL@Purdue for assistance citing these types of sources****

Application of Family Systems Theory

Application of Family Systems Theory

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