Can we work systemically if I come to therapy by myself?


Actually, the systemic approach is helpful for pretty much any scenario of therapy or coaching because your lived experience happens in a relationship.

You may be thinking: hold on a minute…I’m not in a relationship! In fact, that’s got nothing to do with why I’m here.


I hear you. It sounds odd. The systemic approach often invites you to think about things differently, and one of the ways it does that is by offering you the opportunity to consider alternative perspectives…so let’s explore this together.

I’ll start with a simple scenario…if you are already familiar with the concepts, feel free to jump ahead if that works for you.

Consider your ‘self’ as made up of parts. Let’s imagine together a circle with five segments. If you’re a visual person, you may like to get a piece of paper and pen and draw if that’s useful. In the segments, imagine or write a heading for each one as follows:

In the centre of the circle, where the segments all meet, imagine or draw something that looks like a bullseye on a target. There are lots of ways we can use this process, and for now, we are going to use it to demonstrate the relational, or systemic, approach to working with your relationship with yourself.

For example, say you had a physical injury, which happened as a result of an accident.

Perhaps, you have since experienced anxiety symptoms and your emotional wellbeing has suffered. Perhaps, you find yourself aware of beliefs about what the physical changes mean about your capability now, or you have some assumptions about what you can and can’t do since the accident.

Perhaps your emotional distress has led to wondering why did this happen to me…which in a way is a kind of existential or possibly spiritual questioning.

And finally, perhaps, you have a change in your expression of your sexual self in some way, either directly related to the physical changes, or related to your emotional anxiety and so on.

Whilst this seems a simple situation on the surface, most experiences have the potential to impact us on multiple levels, sometimes in ways that can be unexpected, confusing, distressing, or anxiety provoking.

The systemic approach offers us an opportunity to explore the relationships within you and how you make sense of the world in a way that can help you develop new insights and perspectives.

It opens the potential for a richer awareness of your unconscious beliefs; and the influences of environment, context, and culture on who you feel you are in this moment.

Together, we can create a process of helping you to create the identity that feels right for you, and developing the tools to help you choose how your sense of self can emerge throughout your life.

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