Essay The Bowenian Approach to Family Therapy

2991 Words Mar 23rd, 2015 12 Pages
The Bowenian Approach to Family Therapy
Summer D. Parrott
Liberty University
March 1, 2015

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. Strengths and limitations will be exposed, followed by a summary of the importance of integration between psychology and family systems theory.

Keywords: Bowen, integration, family systems theory

Part I
Bowen family systems theory is based on the view that the family is an emotional unit. The theory uses systems thinking to describe the interactions and relationships within the family. Given families are deeply
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Excessive emotional reactivity and fusion is known as Nuclear family emotional processes. This can be triggered by a lack of differentiation and can lead to an emotional cutoff. When met with conflict, family members may argue, fight, criticize and blame each other. One person assumes a dominant role and another assumes a subordinate role, leaving the dominant person to assume all of the responsibility and the other person to become lost (Rabstejnek, 2012). This can lead to spousal dysfunction or the focus on a child.
When a family passes on their differentiation to their children, it is known as the Family projection process. The parents of a nuclear family might both be undifferentiated, and they focus their anxiety on their child. As a result, the child develops a problem which they seek the help of a professional therapist to solve (Rabstejnek, 2012). In the Bowen family system theory, the parents would receive the therapy to improve their differentiation, and once their anxiety is removed, the child improves.
Emotional cutoff happens when family members stop emotionally interacting with one another. Thinking back to triangles, if the third party is healthy, the family anxiety can be absorbed as it is spread out. With a situation of an emotional cutoff, future generations are in jeopardy because there is no extended family to absorb the anxiety. As anxiety increases, families look for new

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