Systems Theory

Hey there! It’s no secret that our mental health can be affected by the people around us, the tasks we do every day, and even the larger structures of society. When things happen outside of our control, it can be really tough to cope. That’s where Systems Theory comes in. Developed by psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner, it helps us pay attention to how our outer world and current events shape us.


Microsystems & Macrosystems

Systems Theory recognizes that everyone has a “Microsystem” (our immediate environment) and a “Macrosystem” (our broader environment). Our microsystem is made up of our family, friends, work, and school. Our macrosystem is made up of things like our cultural values, political systems, and economy. Sometimes, we separate these things in our minds, but doing so can leave important aspects of our wellness overlooked.


The Ripple Effect

The thing is, when something happens in one system, it’s likely to affect the other. For example, a national economic crisis can impact our ability to provide for our families. Or, national disasters like gun violence can make kids feel unsafe in their own schools. These ripple effects can lead to feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, and fear.


How Therapy Can Help

But don’t worry – therapy can help. Therapists don’t ignore how the world around us affects our mental health. Instead, they empower us by acknowledging how systems impact us and validating our feelings towards what’s harder to control. They also brainstorm coping strategies, like limiting media intake, initiating activism, and focusing on joy as a form of resistance. Therapists can even connect us with community resources and organizations to help us navigate conflicts that arise from systems.

If you’re interested in learning more about Systems Theory and how it can help you navigate your own microsystem and macrosystem, consider booking an appointment with a therapist at Wellness Road. They can provide personalized guidance and support to help you feel more in control of your mental health.

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Phil Glickman

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Wellness Road Psychology

A leading provider of mental health services, offering a range of evidence-based treatments to help our clients improve their mental wellbeing.

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