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What Was Heard?


The Application of Bowen Family Systems Theory to Family Businesses Consulting
with Kathy Wiseman

Feedback from Participants


“So much of what gets decided in business is based on relationships.”

On November 12, I presented a day of my thinking about how Bowen family systems theory has assisted in my work as a family business consultant. I encouraged the audience to think about how they go about their own work. The goal was to stimulate thinking about the field of family business consulting as seen through the lens of emotional process.

The meeting organizer, Dr. Laura Havstad, director of Programs in Bowen Theory located in Sebastopol, California, later emailed and asked participants if they would be willing to a write a short summary of their thoughts for her blog reflecting on the ideas of the meeting to continue the thinking in another virtual go around. Here are the responses that came back. I found the comments of value and am sharing them with you.

I was trying to think what made me so energized after the conference. I came up with a few thoughts. 1. Kathy led us into her work, as she presented it, with the curiosity and enthusiasm, and the thinking out of the box that had led her into it. 2. Kathy encouraged openness and questioning both in her work and in how she led the audience. 3. "The individual-thinking-in-a-group" ended the session by adding an additional powerful way to be one's self, express self in the process of being one's own self, and hearing others still being one's self and hearing with openness. This was the way I perceived the day. Hope that makes sense, Inge Weinberg


The day was very rich and thought provoking for me. I struggled to write a summary that would reflect why the day was useful to me, and yet also be intelligible to others. As an alternative, I've included some "best hits" from the day for me:
- The importance of relationships in decision-making -- this is an often hidden vector.
- Asking, "where is his functioning?" Not "where is his dysfunction?"
- A different philosophy from togetherness, talking about feelings and how you've hurt me. It's about what each person thinks as an individual. Developing a personal point of view.
- A group isn't a family, but develops an interdependence based on each other as they interact. They come to know each other, notice each other.
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