Bowen And Whitaker Case Study

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Register to read the introduction… Though he acknowledges the importance of ‘structure’ in that behavior is often based on one’s place in the family, his approach is much more individual in nature as he believes dysfunction occurs when family members lack the emotional capacity to appropriately differentiate themselves from others. Nichols (2013) notes that differentiation of self is described as the ability to think instead of responding automatically to emotional pressures. These problems are notably exacerbated as Bowen theorizes that generations of families pass on lower levels of differentiation which leads to a trickledown effect. In a similar way, just as Bowen sees differentiation in the context of the emotional capacity of the individual, Whitaker also takes an emotional approach when he posits that problems arise when individuals learn to suppress their emotions. As Bowen describes the individual’s struggle to define themselves and stand firmly amidst emotional pressures from others, Whitaker suggests that children can become estranged from themselves by learning to blunt their emotions to avoid criticism from their parents, who end up trying to curb bad behavior by inadvertently controlling or discouraging the child’s emotions (Nichols, 2013). Indeed, perhaps what both theorists are really describing is the struggle to be in touch …show more content…
In other words, Haley believed behavior was the place to focus because behavior would ultimately alter perception. Though Minuchin agreed on the importance of behavioral change, he believed that both insight and behavior were necessary for change, so people could not only work toward changing their behaviors but understand why they were doing it. In contrast, Bowen and Whitaker are loosely related as they both focus on the role and strength of the individual’s ability to express and be themselves within the family unit, and one could argue that they both take an “inside out” approach to change in that they believe that changes at the individual level, such as getting in touch with, and sharing feelings or distinguishing themselves, will lead to healthy changes within the family unit as a whole with more healthy, balanced intimate interactions. Despite this, their specific approaches to family therapy sessions in trying to accomplish this look very different. In Bowen’s therapeutic approach, Nichols (2013) describes increasing self-focus and one’s ability to see their role in interpersonal processes with others as the primary mechanism of change in Bowenian theory. Further, counter to both Minuchin and Haley, Bowen suggests that understanding is the only necessary component for change, not action. In addition, the therapist’s goal in this orientation is to help their clients

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