Bowen Theory Case Study

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one can use thinking to make better decisions is important in Bowen theory. Those who cannot calm the emotions may find it difficult to make good decisions and to separate their own feelings from those of others. They often allow their family to define them and blame themselves for their parents’ problems, their conflicts with siblings, or other family situations (Gilbert, 2008). As Bowen writes, “So much life energy goes into seeking love and approval, or attacking the other for not providing it, that there is little energy left for self-determined, goal-directed activity” (Gilbert, 2006, p. 187).
Bowen offered a differentiation scale from one to 100, with one being completely fused and 100 being completely differentiated; no one, however,
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Triangles. Bowen believed that when two people experience relational tension, they tend to pull in a third party to dissipate that tension (called triangulation). For example, a married couple might focus on a child to avoid their marital conflict, or two people meeting for the first time might talk about the weather. Triangles are neither good nor bad but simply exist in human relationships. However, when two individuals create a triangle to lessen the tension, the underlying conflict still exists and more anxiety is then focused on the third party (if it is an individual). Bowen believed that particular triangles become fixed over time in families and act predictably to alleviate stress and anxiety. He believed that the triangle between one’s parents and one’s self is the most important triangle in one’s life and that this triangle determines the interactional patterns for a person’s future relationships. One can detriangulate from a dysfunctional triangle by being as differentiated as possible when engaged with the triangle. This happens by being as calm as possible, by not taking sides, and by not becoming emotionally reactive (Kerr, …show more content…
By remaining calm and non-defensive with them, he detriangulated from his parents, each of whom confided in him about the other. He also established emotional connectedness by having one-on-one contact with each family member. Bowen gained insight into how the family system operated and found that this process increased his overall differentiation level, and he was able to be less reactive with everyone in his life. He also found that he was a better therapist as a result, so he encouraged his trainees to follow the same pattern and work on self-differentiation from their own families of origin (Bowen,

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