There are some psychologists who adhere to the Systems approach to mental health. The central idea here is that each individual lives and functions within a larger psychological system, like the family unit, a peer group, etc., and that within that system, our sense of self and well-being are derived and nurtured, this, of course, is especially true for young children, who, in their immature sense of personal boundaries, are wide open to external influences. Even a person’s sense of his own separateness is learned within the setting of the family system. If this system has the qualities of openness, truthfulness, acceptance, and love, then a child’s emerging self-image will naturally tend to be healthy. Where the communication is stifled or warped in a family system, the individual’s self-image can easily become unhealthy. Besides exploring our own personal history to clean up unhealthy impressions we may be carrying and acting out, there are some lifestyle choices we can make in our present circumstances to keep our psychological environment “clean”.
We don’t live in a psychological vacuum. In fact, we live and breathe within the psychological environment of our relationships and families. Each of us has the responsibility to keep this environment clean and flowing.
Article by Andy Roman LMHC, MS, RN