The bowenian approach to family therapy

Based in part on Nichols and Schwartz book on Family Therapy Introduction The pioneers of family therapy recognized that current social and cultural forces shape our values about ourselves and our families, our thoughts about what is "normal" and "healthy," and our expectations about how the world works. However, Bowen was the first to realize that the history of our family creates a template which shapes the values, thoughts, and experiences of each generation, as well as how that generation passes down these things to the next generation. Bowen was a medical doctor and the oldest child in a large cohesive family from Tennessee. He studied schizophrenia, thinking the cause for it began in mother-child symbiosis, which created an anxious and unhealthy attachment.

The bowenian approach to family therapy

The idea is not to be emotionally detached or to become overly objective with little or no feelings, but rather for the individual to strive for balance by achieving their self-definition but not at the expense of losing their ability for spontaneous emotional expression; hence, there is a need for a balance of feelings and cognition.

Differentiation is a process or a direction in life, not a goal to be achieved. The opposite of differentiation is fusion. A person who is fused within the family system is unable to differentiate their thoughts and their feelings and they are unable to differentiate themselves from others.

When an individual has difficulty differentiating themselves from others they fuse very easily with whatever emotions are sweeping through the family and the more highly they are fused the more difficult it is for them to operate from reasoned principles.

The poorer differentiated the two spouses are the more they become fused and the functioning of this new nuclear family will be dysfunctional in proportion to their fusion.

The bowenian approach to family therapy

Ideally, the individuals are inner-directed, establish their own goals, and they assume responsibility for their own lives. These people tend to relate well to others out of their strength versus a need. Such individuals can be characterized by rationality, objectivity, and they are their own person.

They separate their thinking from their feelings and they are able to remain independent, but not out of contact, with their nuclear and extended family.

Introduction

Under stress, a dyadic emotional system in a family will recruit a third person into the system to lessen the intensity and anxiety and to gain stability and, thus, a triangle is formed.

Usually the triangle will dilute the anxiety as the triangle is more stable and flexible than the dyad and the triangle has a higher tolerance for dealing with stress.

When the stress is dissipated, the third person in the triangle is able to exit and again become a loner and the original dyad becomes a peaceful twosome. However, sometimes the anxiety only increases with the new triangle, and thus another person is brought into the system until there are a number of people involved and there are several triangles existing simultaneously.

This is known as interlocking triangles. Usually this creates even more stress and a further heightening of the problem. Families seek to create triangles not only to reduce anxiety but also to help maintain a level of closeness and distance between family members in hopes of creating an atmosphere of freedom from anxiety.

According to Bowen, the triangulation has at least four possible outcomes which are as follows: The poorer the differentiation of the family members, the probability of triangulation within a family is heightened; conversely, a family who relies on triangulation to solve problems in essence helps maintain the poor differentiation of the family members.

Even though they may enter the triangle, they must remain neutral. In this way, the spouses hopefully will learn to view themselves as differentiated selves as well as marriage partners. If a therapist cannot remain absolutely neutral, they should never triangulate with the couple and remain detached from the emotional climate.

Based in part on Nichols and Schwartz book on Family Therapy

The person of the therapist is the primary therapeutic tool. In the nuclear family emotional system, Bowen contends that people marry individuals with the same level of differentiation as their own.

A family living with a high level of chronic anxiety will find these mechanisms at work almost constantly. Bowen suggests three patterns that are likely to occur or can occur within a family when the anxiety reaches a sufficient level.

Not all patterns will necessarily be experienced, but any one of them is capable of occurring. They are as follows:Bowen Family Systems Theory and Practice: Illustration and Critique the therapeutic focus of Bowen’s approach.

This is the author’s version of the work. evolutionary process distinguishes Bowen from other family therapy pioneers. Bowen viewed himself as a.

The bowenian approach to family therapy

The Bowenian Approach to Family Therapy Summer D. Parrott Liberty University March 1, Abstract This paper will summarize the theory . Free Essay: The Bowenian Approach to Family Therapy Summer D. Parrott Liberty University March 1, Abstract This paper will summarize the theory of.

Murray Bowen designed this approach to family therapy, using it in treatment for individuals and couples as well as families. The Bowenian Approach to Family Therapy Summer D. Parrott Liberty University March 1, Abstract This paper will summarize the theory of family systems developed by Murray Bowen.

It will describe the eight key components to Bowenian therapy and the techniques used during practice.

The Bowenian Approach to Family Therapy Summer D. Parrott Liberty University March 1, Abstract This paper will summarize the theory . Abstract. This paper will summarize the theory of family systems developed by Murray Bowen. It will describe the eight key components to Bowenian therapy and the techniques used during practice. Bowen Family Systems Theory and Practice: Illustration and Critique the therapeutic focus of Bowen’s approach. This is the author’s version of the work. evolutionary process distinguishes Bowen from other family therapy pioneers. Bowen viewed himself as a.

Bowenian Family Therapy The pioneers of family therapy recognized that current social and cultural forces shape our values about ourselves and our families, our thoughts about what is "normal" and "healthy," and our expectations about how the world works. Questioning the family and constructing a family genogram are the closest things.

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