From the 1990s, the position of family therapy has been challenged by a culture inclined to define psychological problems as individual illnesses connected to specific diagnostic labels. Furthermore, a narrow definition of research, often called the gold standard designs, has influenced the psychotherapy field. To advocate a systemic perspective, we need clinical research with a broader scope. This article argues for systemic research that is designed closer to the clinical situation. Besides information about the context, there are three important sources of information about the process and outcome of clinical practice: Systematic and regular feedback from clients and therapists about the process and outcome, direct observations from therapy sessions, and reports about clients’ long-term development. If used alone, each of these gateways to knowledge may be very misleading. However, if used together they can help us to refine and develop the collaboration with families and couples. Furthermore, this approach can help us to improve our ability to communicate more meaningfully about the ideas for, and the outcome of, systemic interventions.

Keywords: Systemic therapy; clinical research; process and outcome studies