Coming to grips with Bowen Family Systems Theory in a collaborative learning environment.

Intro to Bowen theory: your questions answered

In Intro to Bowen Theory: Your Questions Answered FSI faculty members Lily Mailler and Jenny Brown engage with questions posed at a live seminar overviewing Bowen’s theory. Many engaging questions were asked by the audience after listening to a lecture from Dr. Bowen where he discussed his 8 concepts: triangles, differentiation of self, nuclear family emotional process, family projection process, multigenerational transmission process, emotional cutoff, sibling position, and societal emotional process.  The lecture is available to purchase from The Bowen Center.

In these podcasts, questions are raised and responded to in a conversational mode. Answers are spontaneous rather than prepared.

Available episodes:

Episode 1: Questions about the Theory. Questions covered include: How would you define emotional process?’; Bowen talked about people having different levels of choice in their own lives? Say more?

Episode 2: Questions about generational transmission and cut-off form family of origin. Questions covered include: If your family of origin is toxic and emotionally destructive to a poorly differentiated person, why try to reconnect?; Re repairing cutoff with FOO, what if the FOO is abusive (DV, sexual abuse, emotional abuse etc)?

Episode 3: Questions about the Family projection Process – focussing on children. How are symptoms transmitted from the parent’s generation to some children?  (The Family Projection Process.) It tackles the tricky issue of mothers passing on intensity in their care of one or more of their children.  What is the influence of the father in this? While a mother may play a key part through an anxious investment in caretaking, this always sits within and is fuelled by, the whole family emotional unit.

Episode 4: Questions about work on self and the therapy process. Questions include: How does one move to a higher level of differentiation of self?; If the extended family is all involved in the therapy together (3 generations) that allow each member to acknowledge the impact on each other and have an opportunity to reconcile the relationship, will this be effective to resolve current issues?; Is this also relevant to introduce to teenagers in therapy to support them to start to differentiating themselves from their troubled parents?

Episode 5: Research, evidence, and Bowen theory. In this podcast Lily and Jenny discuss Bowen theory and research. Is the theory backed up by research? The challenges of researching a broad systems theory with so many interconnecting variables, Bowen theory’s engagement with the natural sciences, and what does it look like to do personal research into one’s own family?

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