Bowen Family Systems Therapy Case Study

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Bowen family systems therapy is based on Murray Bowen's family systems theory which conceptualizes the family as "an emotional unit, a network of interlocking relationships, best understood when analyzed within a multigenerational or historical framework" (Goldenberg, Stanton & Goldenberg, 2017, p. 191). Bowen believed that individuals are inseparable from their network of family relations. He also believed that generations of family functioning impact and explain current family functions. The genogram is used to assess the generational impact. According to Platt & Skowron, (2013) genograms "provide a useful tool for therapist and family members alike to examine the nuclear and extended family structure and emotional processes and patterns …show more content…
Individuals with high levels of differentiation can maintain their individuality while also maintaining emotional contact with the family. An individual with a low level of differentiation is unable to separate thoughts and feelings from others. Triangulation refers to a third person being brought into a two person dyad that is unstable and has "emotional tension". A two-person dyad that becomes unstable with anxiety for example, will triangulate, creating a three-person system, This happens in an attempt to reduce the tension or anxiety. Nuclear emotional system refers to emotional patterns that are taught and passed down from generations. The family projection process refers to the transmission of a parent’s emotions or relationship difficulties to their child. Low level of differentiation is passed to a child and creates fusion. Emotional cutoff refers to a person within the family system, emotionally distancing themselves from other family members in an attempt to reduce tension and stress in the family dynamic. Multigenerational transmission process refers to how emotional processes are transferred within families and maintained over generations. Sibling position refers to a child's place in the family and indicates that "personality characteristics are based on birth order" (p. 204). Societal …show more content…
As stated by Goldenberg, Stanton & Goldenberg (2017) "the solutions people use in attempting to alleviate a problem often contribute to the problem's maintenance or even to its worsening" (p. 288). Strategic therapy also believes that dysfunctional hierarchy leads to familial problems. The therapist will look at family processes regarding communication and problem-solving. The goal of this therapy is to help the family first define goals that are realistic and reachable. The therapist uses techniques such as reframing or redefining a problem and using paradoxical interventions. The family should be identifying individual goals and then bring all of them together and find one agreed upon goal to work on. (Goldenberg, Stanton & Goldenberg,

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