The ‘systems’ view of life is one that has been growing over the last 30 years in a variety of disciplines. It has had major implications for ecology, politics, sociology, sciences, geography, communication and health sciences. Family therapies were developed out of systems theory over the course of the 21st century. By viewing the context in which the problem or question presents itself, systems theory shows how approaches by which to address such problems might come from a variety of sources. Parsons' discussions took place within the context of systems theory and cybernetics. ‘Patients’ come to the ‘experts’ for treatment, and expect to remain relatively passive, until they are better. In systemic therapy the concept of the genogram is considered to be key to working with individuals as well as families. A key practice in narrative therapy of linking the new story to the past and extending into the future was useful in working with Alice and James.