Bowen's Intergenerational Family Therapy Case Study

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The therapist has decided to use Bowen’s Intergenerational Family Therapy model to assist this family. This system concentrates on the intrafamilial and multigenerational relationships within family systems (Hurst, Sawatzky, & Pare, 1996).
According to the Bowenian perspective, “family members so profoundly affect each other’s thoughts, feelings, and actions, that it often seems as if the people are living under the same “emotional skin”.” (Kerr, 2000), it is necessary for the entire family to attend the sessions. Families are seen as being mutually dependent on one another and are connected and react accordingly (Kerr, 2000). The basis of this theory is the concept of differentiation of self.
According Bowen, the ”differentiation of family
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696), is the termed used to describe when a family exhibits a low differentiation. This means that the family members are emotional dependent on one another and the boundaries between members are blurred. They “are less flexible, less adaptable, and more emotionally dependent on others, they get stressed into dysfunction more easily and recover with greater difficulty” (Sahin, Nalbone, Wetchler, & Bercik, 2010, p. 250). The inability to differentiate and the ability to do so and is a trait that can be passed along to subsequent generations. Parents can transfer their problems to their children resulting in what Bowen called the “family projection process” (Hurst, et al., 1999) and so on. By this rationale, families are products of the many generations of families that came before. Bowen viewed differentiation as a key element in family dynamics and that “as differentiation from family members increases, so does differentiation of self, resulting in a degree of separateness that, paradoxically, enables individuals to form close, nurturing bonds with others” (Hurst, et al., 1996, p. 696).
The Bowenian intergenerational family therapy model is also a deficit–based model of therapy. It focuses on what’s wrong intergenerationally versus what’s right. This is contrary to strength-based models of therapy, which focus on asset building rather than the etiology of an issue. This form of “therapy aims at reversing a hypothesized
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Bowen “described the problem families as an emotional field having the potential to involve the therapist in its emotionality” (Becvar & Becvar, 2013, p.144). After a profound amount of research, Bowen discovered that the families where the therapist stayed neutral did better than the families where the therapist directly assisted the clients. In Bowenian family therapy, the therapist is “an observer or researcher who thinks in terms of systems and not in terms of emotionality of the family unit or the content of this emotional process”(Becvar & Becvar, 2013, p.149. It is necessary for therapist to remain rational and disconnected and not become triangulated. They must also be social, calm, friendly, and interested, while also remaining

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