Post-Graduate Training Program in Bowen Family Systems Theory

The Post-graduate Training Program of Center for Family Consultation is a two-year training program with 54 hours of training scheduled each year, one day a month, from September to June. Eight of the training sessions are held on the first Friday of the month from 9am to 4pm. These training days are divided into four sections:

  • Clinical Theory
  • Clinical Consultation
  • Natural Systems Theory
  • Family of Origin Consultation

Trainees also attend three CFC conferences during the year. The fall conference features Dan Papero, Ph.D. of The Bowen Center as the guest presenter. The winter conference, “Clinical Applications of Bowen Theory,” includes a keynote address by a CFC faculty member; a video of Murray Bowen talking about his theory, followed by discussion; and an afternoon of theory application workshops led by CFC faculty and CFC training program alumni. The two day “Midwest Symposium” in the spring includes presentations by Michael Kerr MD, former Director of The Bowen Center, and by a noted scientist in the natural sciences whose work illuminates systems thinking; additionally, experienced researchers and clinicians from around the country present their thinking in brief papers and on discussion panels.


Thanks to my post-graduate program studies at the Center for Family Consultation, I increasingly take the long-range, “big picture” approach to understanding myself as a participant in family emotional process. Trained as a clinical psychologist, I had focused my clinical and research endeavors on how unique identity emerges in the family, based on the “content” of one’s self-definition, i.e., discerning the “who” and “what” of someone’s identity, as opposed to understanding the self in a relational, systems context.

I appreciate that faculty teach and demonstrate how differentiation of self is not about how one defines oneself per se, but about how one operates in a network of family relationships and is able to still be a self, act according to one’s principles, and maintain emotional objectivity. It’s not that easy, and not always possible, but it does provide a margin of “freedom” from the ebbs and flows of family emotional process.

—Trainee, CFC Post-Graduate Training Program in Bowen Family Systems Theory


Over the two years, trainees will:

  • Study the basic concepts of Bowen theory
  • Learn the basic clinical strategy of Bowen theory
  • Examine links currently being made between family system theory and the natural sciences
  • Apply theory to a broad range of systems dilemmas
  • Define and present their own thinking on natural systems theory and practice
  • Report on their own family of origin research

The training program is open to professionals in mental health, social services, pastoral care, organizational management and leadership training. The training is virtually via Zoom seesions.

Continuing Education Credits

78 CEUs per year will be awarded—156 total CEUs for completion of the two-year program. Approved for social worker, psychologist, marriage and family therapist, and professional counselor education credits.

Faculty Coordinator

For more information, please contact John Bell.