The conceptual framework is not cause-and-effect, rather it shifts to exploring an environment etiology of behavior in which the individual is one element in the milieu of his/or her life context. There are dynamic interactions between and among the individual, systems and various environments, and the level of functionality is considered at the individual level as well as the system level. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Some of the techniques used in general systems therapy are:

1. Reframing: the issue or problem is removed from the identified client and assigned as a family issue and becomes the focal point of the intervention.

2. Ecomap: the therapist will draw an ecomap with the client to discover the social environment (conditions, circumstances, and interactions) surrounding the client, which will enable the therapist to see the interactions with multiple systems (friends, politics, religious, educational, vocational) that the client engages inputs and outputs. Draw the family household membership in the center circle, then engage the connecting systems with appropriate lines, which will indicate strength and direction of the relationship (i.e. strong, tenuous, conflicted, one way).

3. Advocacy: the therapist will engage necessary supports or assist the client when stuck points cannot be overcome and present as a hindrance to the central work, including advocacy regarding unfair or outdated policies.

4. Tap into All Systems: this technique considers informal or naturally occurring systems (i.e. family, friends), formal systems (i.e. governmental agencies), and societal systems (i.e. schools, churches). Do they currently (or did they historically) exist within the system? Is the client engaging them appropriately? The therapist is temporary, but the client system is permanent.