The Family Life Cycle Theory

All families go through a variety of circumstances. Recently, second year MPS Art Therapy students discussed and created visual representations of The Family Life Cycle Theory. This theory outlines the stages of development that a family may be going through. The stages are defined in the following manner:

Beginning couple: Navigating relationship and family development,
career and financial status/goals, cultural expectations

Family with an infant: Role of parents, parental relationship shifts,
parenting styles, and involvement of extended family and strangers
(e.g. babysitters) in a child’s life.

Family with school-aged children: Social integration of children and
parents with other social circles, children becoming more autonomous,
and cultural expectations

Family with teenagers : Shift in limits and boundaries,
independence/separation from the family unit, responsibility shifts

Launching children from home: Shift of identity, loss

Post Parental – Becoming grandparents, relationship shifts between
parents and children, potentially shift of caring for aging parents

Each of these stages consists of a variety of tasks that the family faces, with just some of the many listed above. Using this theory to try to frame a family’s development can be helpful in approaching therapy with the family. While each family has different components and does not necessarily go through these stages in this order, it is a framework that can act as a starting point in thinking about the family’s treatment.

This entry was posted in 2020, Art, In Class, Students. Bookmark the permalink.