An Introduction to Bowen Systems Theory

Systems Coaching LLC will be offering five one and one-half hour sessions introducing and exploring Bowen Family Systems Theory (see below) for leaders.  The sessions will be offered beginning in late February 2012 on Mondays and/or Wednesdays at a time convenient for those who express interest.  The venue will be near downtown Spokane. Cost is $150 for the five sessions.

The sessions will consist both of video and verbal presentations, including assistance in the construction of one’s own family genogram in order to facilitate the study of how one functions in his or her family of origin and its relationship to the other family, friend, and work relationships in his or her life.

Interested persons or those with questions may reply [below] to this message.


Bowen Family Systems Theory

Bowen family systems theory (BFST) is a theory of human behavior that views the family—and any other formal or informal human organizations—as an emotional unit and uses “systems thinking” to describe the complex interactions in the unit. BFST focuses on family units, and proposes that one’s interaction in any other system is related to one’s interaction in the family emotional unit.

It is the nature of a family that its members are intensely connected emotionally—any sense of distance or disconnect from families is more feeling than fact.  Family members profoundly affect each other’s thoughts, feelings, and actions even at an emotional or geographic distance; they are interdependent.  The relationship process between individual members ultimately guides individual functioning.  A change in one person’s functioning is regularly followed by reciprocal changes in the functioning of others. Families may differ in their degree of interdependence, but it is always present.

The complicated system of exchanges between family members leads to the family being a resource for personal health or to the development of symptoms and illness. BFST provides a way of recognizing and taking into account these differences in individuals and families. An understanding and application of BFST principles and concepts can lead to more effective options for managing one’s presence and interactions in the family and the workplace.


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