Systems-Centered Theory

Living human systems survive, develop, and transform from simple to complex through a developing ability to recognize differences and integrate them.

Systems-Centered theory explains how living human systems contain their energy within functional boundaries and direct it towards their goals: the primary goals of survival and development and the secondary goals of environmental mastery.

Systems-Centered theory can be applied clinically to individual, group, couples and family therapy. It can also be applied to all levels of the system in organizations.

Systems-Centered Training

Systems-Centered training teaches how to understand and influence living human systems and how to take up one’s role as an agent of change, both for the self and for other living human systems.

Members in Systems-Centered training learn how to bring their energy into the here-and-now and focus it on the goals. This is accomplished by crossing the boundaries from the outside into the inside, from the past and the future into the present, from fantasy into reality, and into the role of membership.

Innovations in Systems-Centered Theory & Training

SCT members learn through experience. By exploring rather than explaining, members learn to tell the difference between comprehensive understanding (words first, experience second) and apprehensive understanding (experience first, words second).

Learning this skill leads to "containing" the energy that frustrations and conflicts arouse rather than discharging, binding, or constricting it in defenses or symptoms. Energy in SCT groups is understood as the ability to work towards the goals between, within, and among all the different living human systems in the hierarchy of systems.

In SCT training groups, all members work in functional subgroups rather than work alone. Subgroups contain both sides of every issue in the group-as-a-whole which frees the individual to choose which side of the conflict has therapeutic salience for their work.

Yvonne M. Agazarian developed the theory of human living systems and its systems-centered practice. To find out more, visit the Readings pages.

Functional Subgrouping, the core method of SCT, developed by Yvonne M. Agazarian