The Handbook of Systemic Family Therapy

The Handbook of Systemic Family Therapy, Karen S. Wampler, Editor-in-Chief

  • Volume 1. The Profession of Systemic Family Therapy, Richard B. Miller and Ryan B. Seedall, Associate Co-Editors
  • Volume 2. Systemic Family Therapy With Children and Adolescents, Lenore M. McWey, Associate Editor
  • Volume 3. Systemic Family Therapy With Couples, Adrian J. Blow, Associate Editor
  • Volume 4. Systemic Family Therapy and Global Health Issues, Mudita Rastogi and Reenee Singh, Associate Co-Editors

Under contract with John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Expected January 2020.


The handbook will be a comprehensive and authoritative reference on both the profession (Volume 1) and the practice of systemic family therapy (SFT) for children and adolescents, couples, and families across the lifespan (Volumes, 2, 3, and 4). Volume 1 is focused on systemic family therapy as a profession. Even though this volume has a different structure, there are connections between Volume 1 and Volumes 2 - 4. For example, sexual orientation and gender identity are addressed in Volume 1 from the perspective of what the therapist needs to know to work sensitively and effectively with these populations (e.g., coming out process, discrimination, legal and ethical issues, differences by country and culture). In contrast, the topics in the problem-focused chapters in the other volumes are explored in terms of the effectiveness of treatment, possible adaptations needed in treatment approach, and limitations of research on relational interventions for gender and sexual minority populations.

The three problem-centered volumes focus on systemic family therapy approaches to children and adolescents (Volume 2), couples (Volume 3), and the family as a unit over the lifespan (Volume 4). It is challenging to divide topics and the literature in this way. In a systemic approach, each aspect of the family system is viewed as related to the other. Yet, each volume must be able to stand on its own and offer something unique as well as comprehensive. We are guided by the extent of research on systemic interventions on the topic from each perspective (children and adolescents, couples, family as a unit) to justify a separate chapter. For example, the topic of violence is covered in all three volumes. Child maltreatment is included in Volume 2, and intimate partner violence is in Volume 3. The family violence chapter in Volume 4 will address issues related to families in the context of cultures of violence across multiple generations in a family, the impact of experiencing violence as a child on current relationships, and the impact of couple violence on children, siblings, and members of the extended family. The whole family focus of Volume 4 also makes the cultural context of interventions highly salient because of different norms and consequences for violent behavior across countries and cultures.

Unique Contributions

  • Commitment to a balanced and open approach to describing current status, challenges, and future directions.
  • Use of a collaborative healthcare framework that addresses where a relational, systemic approach fits in the context of other approaches to treatment, including where it might be contraindicated.
  • Incorporation of a global perspective.
  • Integration throughout of issues of diversity and recognition of the impact and relevance of social and cultural factors.
  • Inclusion of material on assessment and recognition of the use of the common language of diagnosis as necessary to interface with healthcare systems. As appropriate, include discussion of cultural critique of terms.
  • Recognition of and respect for the broad range of knowledge generated through: (a) the range of research methodologies, including both quantitative and qualitative and intervention and prevention research, (b) theory, and (c) clinical practice.
  • Attention to changing social and cultural contexts for families including such factors as impact of technology and historically high rates of family dislocation.

The Handbook of Systemic Family Therapy

Karen S. Wampler, Richard B. Miller, Ryan B. Seedall, Lenore M. McWey, Adrian J. Blow, Mudita Rastogi, and Reenee Singh