Functional dialectic system (FDS) treatment: Integrating family system theory with dialectic thinking

Moshe Almagor, Denise D. Ben-Porath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Functional Dialectic System (FDS) Treatment is a short-term, relationship-based, problem-focused, system-based approach that uses Hegelian dialectic thinking and method to identify, reconceptualize, and change cognition, affect, and behavior and refocus intervention goals. It is predicated on the understanding that behavior is functional and goal-directed and carried out in a social-relational context (e.g., familial, work) to ensure that the person's basic needs for order, security, belongingness, and identity are met. A dialectic view of behavior allows exploration into its functionality and offers the client alternative, unique, interpretations for behavior. These interpretations can lead to a changed perspective and a reconceptualization of the problem. FDS allows for an effective and efficient transition from a state of hopelessness and helplessness to hopefulness and empowerment. FDS provides a solid theoretical base enabling its use with individual, couples, and families. FDS can be used as a standalone treatment or it can be used as a way to redefine the client's referral problem. In doing so, FDS provides the platform needed for the therapist to choose from any other fitting theoretical approach or techniques to treat the newly defined difficulty. Two case examples are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-405
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychotherapy Integration
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Dialectics
  • Family systems
  • Psychotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Functional dialectic system (FDS) treatment: Integrating family system theory with dialectic thinking'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this