Bowen Family Systems Theory Summary

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Bowen’s Family Systems Theory Bowen’s Family Systems Theory Overview This adaptation of systems theory was coined by Dr. Murray Bowen and is referred to as Bowen’s Family Systems Theory. According to Murdock (2013), this particular adaptation of systems theory is considered one of the most reputable and well constructed compared to that of its counterparts. The author states that family systems theories can be utilized with individuals as well as with specific relationships within the family unit, however the majority of therapy is done with individual clients utilizing the context of the family unit. According to Murdock (2013), it is the family system therapist’s belief that the client can best be understood through the…show more content…
K. Guerin and P.J. Guerin claimed that, an individual with a strong sense of self is “clear about where they end and where the others begin. They are able to distinguish thought from feeling, and their behavior is guided by their own principles and cognitions rather than emotional factors (as cited in Murdock, 2013, p. 442). An individual who is highly differentiated is emotionally autonomous and is able to engage in a healthy, intimate relationship while preserving the secure sense of self. Alternatively, a person who is exhibiting signs such as reactivity, rigidity and responses based on emotion rather than cognition, are thought to be low on the spectrum of differentiation and are likely to endure acute anxiety (Murdock, 2013, p. 443). According to Murdock (2013), when an individuals emotions and thoughts are enmeshed and this lack of differentiation causes mal adaptive behaviors, the individual is considered to have a fused sense of self. A fused individual can also be identified as a low-differentiated individual. According to Murdock (2013), Bowen believes that sibling position and birth order within a family system’s present and past three generations is imperative to analyze in order to recognize patterns of differentiation and fusion within a family’s system. Additionally, the author states that Bowen believes that triangulation is, “the basic
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