Bowen Family Therapy Essay

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Introduction Murray Bowen was born in 1913 in Tennessee and died in 1990. He was the oldest child in a large cohesive family. He trained as a psychiatrist and originally practiced within the psychoanalytic model. In his practice he involved mothers in the investigation of schizophrenic patients. He thought that the cause of schizophrenia begun in mother-child symbiosis which created an anxious and unhealthy attachment. His devotion to his own psychoanalytic training was set aside after his move to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in 1954 as he begun to shift from an individual focus to an appreciation of the dimensions of families as systems. He began to include more family members in his research and psychotherapy…show more content…
Differentiation of Self Rabstejnek (2010) explains that differentiation and its antithesis fusion are Bowen’s terms to describe the extent to which people are able to separate their emotional and intellectual spheres. Highly fused people function automatically and respond emotionally to the life situations. Highly differentiated people on the other hand are people who have an autonomous intellectual system that can keep control over their emotional system (Nichols & Schwartz, 2004. p.123). Nichols and Schwartz (2004) explain that when thoughts and feelings are not distinguished, fusion occurs. Undifferentiated people tend to react emotionally and when interacting with other people, can be submissive or defiant. They also find it difficult to maintain their own autonomy especially around anxious issues. Instead of saying what they think, they say what they feel and instead of saying what they believe, they echo what they have heard. Bowen as (cited in Nichols and Schwartz, 2004) describes a differentiated self as solid self, and fused self he calls the pseudo self. The less developed a person's "self," the more impact others have on his functioning and the more he tries to control, actively or passively, the functioning of others. The basic building blocks of a "self" are inborn, but an individual's family
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