Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Bowen Family Systems Therapy with Families

  • Heather KatafiaszEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_1147


Bowen couple theory; Bowen theory


Bowen Family Systems Theory fits into the category of Intergenerational Family Theories, with its emphasis on how family of origin experiences impact current individual and relationship functioning. It is a theory that emphasizes personal autonomy, as well as balance. Bowen found inspirations for his theory, not only in the mental health work but also in natural systems. He believed that his theory would be applicable to all human systems and, to a much more limited extent, to all living systems as we are all connected.

Prominent Associated Figures

Murray Bowen, the founder of Bowen Family Systems Theory, trained initially as a psychiatrist. While working at the Menninger Institute providing therapeutic services to patients diagnosed with Schizophrenia, he began to involve the mothers of the patients in the treatment (Kerr and Bowen 1988). He began to observe how the relationship between mother and adult child impacted the...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of AkronAkronUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Douglas C. Breunlin
    • 1
  1. 1.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA