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Bowenian family therapy

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on 1 November 2014

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Transcript of Bowenian family therapy

Differentiation of self
Concepts cont.
Sibling position
Murray Bowen
worked in a psychiatric setting studying schizophrenic patients => SYMBIOSIS between patients and their mothers
NIMH studies in the 50's => anxious attachment and lack of autonomy
2 counterbalancing life forces: individuality and togetherness
another important concept: differentiation of self
his theory is the most comprehensive in family therapy but has not been as widely studied as other more behavioral models

Goals of Therapy and Techniques
Life Cycles
Phillip Guerin
Process question
goal - decrease anxiety and to get people to think

Relationship experiment
show clients they can act in a different, less emotional, way
Displacement story
help clients to distant themselves to see their roles in the family

The main focus is on the
thought process
rather than emotional process
Conditions for behavior change
Understanding is more important than action
The atmosphere in the session is meant to decrease emotionality
The members of the family speak to the therapist rather than each other
Detriangulation of the therapist is the key
The triangulation concept makes it possible to use Bowenian family therapy with couples and individuals
Differentiation of Self Inventory (DSI-R)
1. I-Positions (IP)
2. Emotional Reactivity (ER)
3. Cutoff (EC)
4. Fusion with Others (FO)
R-FO needs further research with racially diverse clients
Bowenian family therapy

differentiation of self; triangulation; multigenerational emotional processes; sibling position; emotional cutoff; societal emotional processes
ability to distinguish between emotional and intellectual processes
Pseudo- self
including a third party in a dyad in order to reduce anxiety
Multigenerational emotional processes
the way anxiety is transmitted from generation to generation
personality is related to birth order (firstborns vs. laterbonrs); sibling rivalry can be a function of mother's anxieties
Emotional cutoff
a way to manage anxiety in a relationship, the more fusion, the more the emotional cutoff
Societal emotional process
influence of culture and society
McGoldrick and Betty Carter added gender and ethnicity to the theory: men vs. women, differences among ethnic groups
Leaving home
Joining of families through marriage
Families with young children
Families with adolescence
Launching of children and moving on
Families in later life
Divorce and remarriage

Developed techniques for specific situations
Marital conflict and Stages of marital conflict
The function of marital conflict - to deal with anxiety
active relationship conflict
severe conflict
engagement in divorce process

"Normal" family
Nuclear family as a goal

Presenting problem(s)
History of the nuclear family
History of both spouses (births, sibling position, childhood, past and current functioning as a parent)

- attention to structure (network of triangles) and process (patterns of emotional reactivity)
*triangulation of the therapist

Chabot's Emotional Differentiation Scale (CED)
Measures capacity to think rationally in emotional situations
1. Guerin, Ph. I. (1976). Family therapy : theory and practice, New York, Gardner Press
(Theoretical Aspects and Clinical Relevance of the Multigenerational Model of Family Therapy Ch.4)
2. Hoyle, C. (2013). A critique of the life cycle model used within family therapy: A social work perspective. Cumbria Partnership Journal of Research Practice and Learning, 3(1), 5-9.
3. Jankowski, P.J. Hooper, L.M. (2012). Differentiation of Self: A Validation Study of the Bowen Theory Construct. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice , Vol. 1, No. 3, 226–243
4. Skowron, E.A. (2000) The Role of Differentiation of Self in Marital Adjustment. Journal of Counseling Psychology, Vol. 47, No. 2,229-237
5. Nichols, M. P. (2012). Family therapy: Concepts and methods, 10th Edition, Pearson, New Jersey.

Do you think this model is useful even if it hasn't been studied as much as other models?
Particular for Murray Bowen
: it is not essential to have the whole family present in order to produce change

Important to have
awareness of the extended family
=> having a personal relationship with as many members as possible improves mental well-being.
Mariia Bondarenko and Corina Buruiana
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