2022 Clinical Application of Bowen Theory

Register Now

Deadline is February 24th, 2022


Friday, February 25th, 2022
24th Annual Day of Workshops

Clinical Application of Bowen Family Systems Theory

Dr. Murray Bowen developed a comprehensive new theory of the family. Based on his view of the human as part of nature and the family as a natural system, Dr. Bowen described the emotional process and the automatic patterns of behavior among family members.  He is best known for his concept of differentiation of self and the scale of differentiation that described the broad range of variation in human emotional functioning.


Family and Self: The Context of Differentiation

Robert J. Noone, Ph.D.

The clinical application of the formal theory of the family developed by Murray Bowen largely involves an understanding of the emotional system and differentiation of self. The maturation or differentiation of a self occurs over the several decades of our development and remains relatively stable upon reaching adulthood.

Individuals, however, have the capacity to enhance their level of maturity which translates into the enhancement of their physical, psychological, and relationship functioning. And just as maturity develops in the context of the family, enhancing it also optimally occurs in the context of one’s family. This is the principal objective in the application of Bowen theory. Dr. Noone will discuss factors involved in this process and recent knowledge contributing to this effort.

Robert J. Noone, Ph.D. is on the faculty of the Center for Family Consultation and the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family. He is the editor of the journal Family Systems and author of the recently published book, Family and Self: Bowen Theory and the Shaping of Adaptive Capacity.

10:10 A.M. Break

10:30 A.M. Video & Discussion, “Nuclear Family Emotional System and Family Projection Process”

In this 1980 lecture Dr. Murray Bowen presents two of the core concepts of Bowen theory which relate to the basic functioning of the nuclear family emotional system. In addition to being a basic pattern in the nuclear family, the concept of the family projection process describes the transmission of parental immaturity to one or more of the children and captures a central process leading to variation in the basic functioning among siblings and from one generation to the next.

12:00 P.M. Lunch

1:00 P.M.

“We See the World Through the Eyes of Our Mother” – Murray Bowen, M.D.

Sydney Reed, M.S.W.

Bowen theory describes the impact of relationships on how we see the world and what we believe.  “Observational Blindness” was the term Murray Bowen coined for the very common inability to see what is right before our eyes.  Daniel Kahneman’s book, Thinking Fast and Slow, describes similar phenomena.   The research of both men reports the power of the emotional system to override “rational thought”.

Advanced Technology, Social Media and Its Effects on Mental Health

Cecilia Guzman, L.C.P.C.

How does the accelerated pace of advanced technology and the addictive and pervasive use of social media platforms affect our mental health and well-being?  How can we understand these factors as they relate to the rapid pace of societal regression and Bowen theory?  This presentation will provide the participants with some current literature/research on these topics and review Bowen’s concept of Societal Regression as it applies to both research and current events.

Theory as a Guide to Therapy

Stephanie Ferrera, M.S.W.

In his book, Family Therapy in Clinical Practice, Dr. Bowen traces the development of family systems theory in the context of the clinical experience from which it emerged.  The theory is based on observation of family interaction in both inpatient and outpatient settings, and the therapy is based on the theory.  The book is Bowen’s presentation of the basic premises and formal concepts that make up the theory, but it is also an incomparable guide to the practice of family psychotherapy.  This workshop will focus on the relationship between theory and therapy and will identify specific principles and practices that guide therapy based on Bowen theory.  

2:10 P.M. Break

2:30 P.M. 

Exploring the Possible Evolutionary Functions of Murray Bowen’s Concept of the Triangle

Jennifer Howe, M.S.W.

Bowen’s concept of the “triangle’ is one of the more difficult human dynamics to apprehend. At first glance it may seem a relatively straightforward structure; a human dyad experiences discomfort and brings in a third person to help manage. But when one undertakes the study of this process, an infinitely more complex structure appears. How has the triangle supported the survival of the species and the family and how is this structure maintained over generations? This workshop will explore the evolutionary substrates of this complicated biological mechanism.

The Seesaw Effect: Over/Underfunctioning

Kelly Matthews-Pluta, M.S.W.

Bowen theory posits there are four approaches humans utilize to manage anxiety in their relationships.  Of the four, over/underfunctioning is of particular interest.  This reciprocal behavior is automatic and often outside one’s awareness.  If a clinician can better understand over/underfunctioning, what might the implications be for the self of the therapist and clients?  This workshop will define and outline the factors involved in over/underfunctioning, its multigenerational context and possible management within the therapeutic setting.

Differentiation of Self and Organizational Leadership: Everyone Plays a Part!

Leslie Ann Fox, M.A.

This workshop explores Bowen theory’s concept of differentiation of self in leaders, as it manifests in one’s adult non-family systems, such as the workplace.  The success of adult human social groups is impacted by the formal and informal leaders responsible for the group’s survival and capacity to thrive in the best and worst of times.  How does one apply systems thinking and principles of systems-based leadership to become a “leader from any seat”? How does understanding and working on improving one’s own level of differentiation become the life’s work of successful leaders, coaches, and consultants?   



    Date:            Friday, February 25, 2022

    Time:           9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    Location:     ZOOM

    Continuing Education Credits: 5.5 credit hours for full-day attendees approved for:

        Social Workers

        Professional Counselors/Clinical Counselors

        Marriage and Family Therapists

        Clinical Psychologists




Deadline to register February 24, 2022

Fees:   $120.00 ($75.00 for students with current I.D.)


Registration:  On the website: www.thecenterforfamilyconsultation.com. (Eventbrite is the online registration system for Center for Family Consultation (CFC). Click on the purchase registration button and it will take you to Eventbrite.com, a secure online system for registering for a program. Your credit card is processed by Eventbrite on CFC’s behalf, and you will receive a confirmation with their logo as well as CFC’s.  If you have ever purchased a ticket for another event from Eventbrite, your email address and credit card information may already be in their system. You need to make sure you use the same card that is associated with your email address, and it must not be expired.  Finally, make sure you add Eventbrite to your email contacts, so that email messages from CFC regarding the program you registered for will not go to your spam or junk mail folders.)

For additional information, call the Center for Family Consultation 847-868-2654