The Systems Thinker - Center for Family Consultation's blog

Reflections on the 4th International Conference on Bowen Theory

Authored by John Bell, M. Div.

Bowen theory has certainly come a long way even since the first international conference held in 2015 in Pittsburg, PA at the Western Pennsylvania Family Center.  One of its founding members and long-term executive directors, Jim Smith was a pioneer in making theory available worldwide and in organizing this first ever international conference.  Since then, international conferences have been held in Hong Kong (2018), Sweden (2022) and most recently, Miami, Florida.

The Fourth International Conference was held at Albizu University and sponsored by the Florida Family Research Network (FFRN) on February 22-24th.  The conference title was, “Passing the Baton, the Next Generation.”  Over the course of three days, participants from over 14 countries (both online and in-person) were treated to dual-language presentations from speakers from five continents.

The conference was divided into five sections over the three days.  The first section was on science and was facilitated by our own Dr. Bob Noone.  The second section on the natural world and societal process was led by Victoria Harrison of the Center for the Study of Natural Systems and the Family.  The third section on family research was led by the Bowen Center’s new executive director, Rev. Randy Frost.  The fourth section, on clinical and organizational application, was led by the former director of the Bowen Center, Dr. Carrie Collier.  The fifth and final section featured the next generation of thinkers and researchers from the host organization, FFRN and was led by Jeff Miller who got his start at CFC and the Post Graduate Training Program.

Dr. Noone and Rev. Bell each gave a presentation at the conference and faculty members Lisa Friedstein, Lisa Moss and Kelly Matthews Pluta traveled to Miami to attend.  One particular highlight from the conference was the host sponsored dinner cruise on the Biscayne Bay.

I find these international conferences to be stimulating in terms of my own thinking about research, science and the application of Bowen theory to my clinical practice and organizational leadership.  I also find them renewing as one sees how the theory is being taught and applied across the world.  To learn more about the conference, you can visit the conference website:

The next international conference will be held in Vancouver BC Canada sometime in 2027.  It will be hosted by Living Systems .  I plan to attend and hope to see you there!

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