The family circle method for integrating family systems concepts in family medicine

J Fam Pract. 1982 Sep;15(3):451-7.


The family circle method is a process that allows individuals to draw a schematic diagram of their family system. It is closely allied with family systems theory and family medicine philosophy. The method is readily understandable with brief instructions. Individuals can create a family circle drawing in as little as two or three minutes. Once instructions are given, the presence of the physician is not required during the drawing. Family circle drawings will often illustrate, in graphic form, patterns of closeness and distance, of power and decision making, of family alliances and boundaries. The drawings provide at a glance an overview of the family system as seen by the person who does the drawing. The drawings are a rich source of information concerning family dynamics and are useful for setting goals for changes in the family system.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Family Practice
  • Family Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology