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Ideas about Murray Bowen and his Theory on what would have been Dr. Bowen's 99th Birthday

On this anniversary of his birthday, I wanted to acknowledge my gratitude for being able to have a relationship with Dr. Bowen for the last fourteen years of his life. I had both the opportunity to study Bowen theory and to watch and interact with Dr. Bowen. Towards the end of his life Dr. Bowen gave his theory to the world to do with as we might. The theory is a gift to us and people are free to interpret it as they choose. The theory contains as impersonal as possible observations about how Bowen saw human behavior. (I have added a time line of the development of the theory at the end of this piece.

People read his book, watch his videos and find there is a different way to think about the human condition. Bowen enabled us to see how it is we are so very sensitive to one another. How we are often being hurt by or hurting the ones we love the most. Bowen pointed to the difficult ways of becoming more of a self. He would joke about having to give up love and approval. As you will see below I consider my relationship with Dr. Bowen a challenging gift, enabling me to observe and question just how relationships function.

One of Bowen’s fundamental contributions was his understanding of the complexities of relationships that are imbedded in an ancient emotional system. A gift from our primordial ancestors,  the emotional system, among other functions, promotes the shifting of anxiety from one member to another.  Read more...

Filed under Bowen family systems theory

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