Couple and Family Psychology (CFP) uses systems theory to understand human behavior. Systems theory is based in the premise that individual behavior cannot be completely understood apart from the interpersonal context in which that behavior occurs. CFP holds that family dynamics, including intergenerational dynamics, play a primary role in the development and maintenance of psychological and behavioral problems. For this reason, key members of the identified patient’s interpersonal system, including intimate partners, spouses, parents, children, or other family members, are included in treatment. In addition, dynamics present within and between systems beyond the family are also assessed, such as interactions between the family, school, and/or legal system. CFP avoids placing blame on any individual or group of individuals, and instead seeks to understand how individuals who constitute a system interact and mutually influence one another.
The Philadelphia Association for Couple and Family Psychology aims to promote these ideas and to provide a forum for professionals to interact, share ideas, and educate the public about the benefits of CFP. Membership in the PACFP is open to professionals who work with couples and families, or those who are interested in expanding their knowledge and skills in CFP.