Bowen Family Systems Theory final.docx - Running head BOWEN FAMILY THEORY 1 Bowen Family Systems Theory Christi Smith Liberty University BOWEN FAMILY

Bowen Family Systems Theory final.docx - Running head BOWEN...

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Running head: BOWEN FAMILY THEORY1 Bowen Family Systems Theory Christi Smith Liberty University
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BOWEN FAMILY THEORY 2 Abstract This paper discusses Dr. Murray Bowens’ family systems theory. How the theory began, and its core concepts and properties are explored. Various methods used by Bowen theory therapists are examined and explained in detail. Family dynamics and the use of genograms are explained to understand how behaviors are passed from one generation to the next and how the therapist can use those findings to help the family and the family dynamic. The role of the therapist is also made clear to provide a better understanding of what the Bowen therapist does and does not do during counseling. Further, the integration of counseling and religion is discussed. Christian counseling can be a difficult type of counseling to master, some basic roles and tasks are outlined. Additional techniques to bring faith and religion into the counseling session are also examined. Christian counseling requires a competent counselor who is willing to work on personal growth and be open to clients with different opinions.
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BOWEN FAMILY THEORY 3 Bowen Family Systems Theory Part One History Dr. Murray Bowen was born in Tennessee in 1913 and is considered the developer of family systems therapy. Bowen developed his theory to help understand human behavior in all aspects of life; he was able to “refine his ideas about how symptoms are related to the functioning of the larger family field” (Bowen Family Systems Theory, n.d.). Bowen felt that human condition warranted more focus than therapeutic change. Bowens’ family therapy is a systems-based approach that views the family as an emotional unit and proposes that an individual’s behavior relates to their family of origin and the levels of differentiation within each family member (Family Systems Therapy, n.d.). Bowen believed that eight concepts explained human behavior; differentiation of self, triangles, nuclear family emotional process, family projection, multigenerational transmission, sibling position, emotional cutoff, and emotional process in society. Seven techniques were used that he believed would reduce the levels of anxiety of his clients and aid in having healthy relationships with family members (Charles, 2001). How it works Therapists who use the Bowen model will bond with the family without becoming overly emotionally involved, which could hinder their ability to stay separate from the family unit. According to Gehart (2014) a differentiated family will create “a clear-headedness that allows individuals and families to reduce the reactivity and anxiety and make conscious choices about how to respond”. The therapist must be able to correctly evaluate the dynamic in the family and then guide them through the healing process (Gehart, 2014). The therapist is not there to fix the
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BOWEN FAMILY THEORY 4 family or their problems, the therapists’ job is to assist the family through the process.
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