Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Relationship Systems Outside the Therapy Room: A Grounded Theory on Seasoned MFT Doctoral Graduates Utilizing Their Systemic Training in Human Service Team-based Organizations
by Bexley, Jewell Nichole, Ph.D., Nova Southeastern University, 2012, 210; 3533786
Abstract (Summary)

Systems thinking (ST) is the philosophical underpinning for the field of family therapy (FT). This notion of understanding the whole comprised of parts has a long history, some suggest dating back to Descartes and Aristotle. A number of influential men—Darwin, Wiener, Bertalanffy, Bateson, Erickson, and Foucault—recorded their interpretation of ST, which became the basis for relational theories and practices. Commonly used in clinical settings, family therapists have been applying this knowledge to create change in people’s lives. However, the principles were meant to be universal and have been applicable in other contexts. A growing number of trained FTs use their teambuilding expertise in business settings. Books, articles, workshops, and conferences have been addressing this topic and trying to communicate its prevalence for over 20 years. Yet, faculty members seldom delve into organizational change, and the literature has been lacking in numerous areas, except for what is customary for FTs to do with their training: Work with families.

The researcher thoroughly investigated six seasoned doctoral graduates who have taken their systemic training and applied it toward successful programs, consultations, and management of diverse professionals in varied businesses. The grand tour question was: How have seasoned family therapy doctoral graduates utilized their systemic training in human service team-based organizations? A grounded theory approach using a constant comparative method of analysis uncovered multifaceted ways their understanding has been employed. The findings indicated systemic tridimensional levels: (a) Three large categories (i.e., Learning Stage of ST Principles, Expansion Stage for Connecting ST Principles, and Transition and Execution Stage for Utilizing ST Principles), (b) eight process concepts, and (c) 22 constructs. The participants have broadened and assimilated their lifetime learning and training recursively in every realm, which transformed into a constant state of beingness. This grander synthesis process created the expertise and opportunities to practice outside therapeutic settings into different organizations and beyond as macro-level Change Agents. Implications for training, practice, and research within the FT field, various systemic disciplines, and other business professional contexts have been identified.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Boyd, Tommie V.
School: Nova Southeastern University
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-B 74/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Management, Individual & family studies, Systems science
Keywords: Aristotle, Cybernetics, Doctoral graduates, Family therapy, Human service organizations, Leadership, Systems thinking, Team building
Publication Number: 3533786
ISBN: 978-1-267-79186-3
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