Comparing Bowen's Family Systems Theory And The Structural Family Theory

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Comparing Bowen’s family systems theory and Minuchin’s structural family theory we will outline several fundamental categories for analysis with Goldenberg & Goldenberg (2012) as our guide. We also contrast the history and theoretical orientation of both men to garner a deeper understanding of their theories. Finally we will consider integrating elements of both theories and how this makes us more effective practitioners. Prior to establishing his theory post-World War II, Bowen studied the origins of schizophrenia and postulated that transgenerational maternal enmeshment was its cause. Bowen’s thoughts on this were similar to those on individuation. Though he believed psychoanalysis was too individualized for family therapy, the psychoanalytic notion that one’s interactions are driven by unconscious motivation was the theory’s germ of inspiration. Goldenberg & Goldenberg (2012) write that the most essential piece Bowen’s family systems theory is that the individual needs to resolve anxiety arising from their family of origin to find a sense of individuality. This concept is traceable to Bowen’s psychoanalytic roots as a psychiatrist. Overall, Bowen focused on triadic relationships for therapeutic intervention, predominately the parental subgroup and a child. He looked at how low self-esteemed members of a family became vulnerable to triangulation. They then became enmeshed in their family and forwarded a legacy of chronic anxiety. Classic psychoanalysis agrees that issues

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