- Psychiatrist- Among the pioneers of family therapy and founders of systemic therapy
2 types of differentiation
1) Intrapsychic2) Interpersonal
One diverts a conflict between two people by involving a third
- A complete or almost-complete separation from the family- The natural mechanisms people use to counter high anxiety or high emotional fusion, from unresolved issues with family- Can look like physical or emotional withdrawal, avoidance of sensitive topics, physically moving away from family members, and rarely going home
Differentiation of self
- The ability to separate feelings and thoughts- The process of freeing yourself from your family's processes to define yourself- Healthy balance of 2 forces: individuality and togetherness
Bowen's 8 interlocking concepts
- Differentiation of Self (the most important concept)- Nuclear Family Emotional System- Triangles- Family Projection Process- Multigenerational Transmission Process- Emotional Cutoff- Sibling Position- Societal Emotional Process
Multigenerational Transmission Process
- Whereby levels of differentiation among family members can become progressively lower from one generation to the next- The way family emotional processes are transferred and maintained over the generations
Undifferentiated ego mass
A family unit whose members possess low differentiation and therefore are emotionally fused
The opposite of an emotional cut-off is...
An open relationship
- The basic units of systems- Two on the inside, one on the outside
Nuclear Family Emotional System
The emotional patterns in a family that continue over the generations
Family Projection Process
- An extension of The Nuclear Family Emotional Process- The family member who "has" the "problem" is triangulated and serves to stabilize a dyad in the family- The family member who serves as the "screen" upon which the family "projects" this story will have great trouble differentiating
- Each child has a place in the family hierarchy, and thus is more or less likely to fit some projections- i.e. the oldest sibling is more likely to be seen as overly responsible and mature, and the youngest as overly irresponsible and immature- i.e. Think of the oldest sibling who grows up and partners with a person who was also an oldest sibling. They may be drawn to each other because both believe the other is mature and responsible.
People who cut off their family are more or less likely to repeat the emotional and behavioral patterns they were taught?
Societal Emotional Processes
- Social expectations about racial and class groups, the behaviors for each gender, the nature of sexual orientation... and their effect on the family- Families that deal with prejudice, discrimination, and persecution must pass on to their children the ways they learned to survive these factors
The identified patient/the family member with "the symptom" is...
- The least differentiated member of the family- The member "absorbs" the anxiety and worries of the whole family and becomes the most debilitated by these feelings
2 types of family problems
1) Vertical problems2) Horizontal problems
Problems that are "passed down" from parent to child
Are problems caused by environmental stressors or transition points in the family development
Bowen Family Systems Theory
A theory of human behavior that views the family as an emotional unit and uses systems thinking to describe the complex interactions in the unit
Bowen Family Systems Theory early stage rapport-building interventions
- Building personal connection with each person- Establishing eye contact- Speaking to each person individually- Acknowledging client's difficulties- Active listening- Showing interest
Bowen Family Systems Theory early stage goals
- Rapport building- Lower anxiety in the room- Personal connection
Bowenian therapists' techniques
- Questioning the family - Constructing a family genogram - Prohibiting open conflict and interrupting arguments - Modeling differentiation and skills - Working with the pursuer to create a safe place in the relationship to invite the distancer back - Helping members see the dynamic occurring - Encouraging cut-off members to return to the family - Using “I” statements to model differentiation - Remaining neutral and detriangled but building good relationship with each family member
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