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Bowenian Family Therapy Essay

1133 words - 5 pages

Bowenian family therapy is the first therapy that I have encountered that completely separates the therapist and the family. The therapist’s role in this style of therapy is to act as a coach. S/he remains on the outside of all emotion entanglement’s present in the family and remains non-reactive to situations and statements that may occur during therapy sessions. As the coach, the therapist helps to bring the family awareness of the patterns that are present in the family through deeper insight or bringing forth opportunities of changes and/or choices in the family. Therapy then becomes a time to correct emotional experiences rather than immediately fixing problems. Thinking critically about this type of therapy, it is one that I envision could work with many families. The therapist is the guide to help the family reach their goals by becoming aware of their strengths and weaknesses. With the therapist remaining on the outside of all that issues involved in the family, I envision the therapist having an almost structural approach, but less intense about seeing them do something while in the session. Almost like life coaches on teams or in organizations, the therapist is there to hear what the family members have to say and then assisting them in finding a technique that works for them to solve those problems. (Nichols, 2014)
In Bowenian family therapy, human relationships are driven by individuality and togetherness and Murray Bowen believed in discovering the balance between the two forces. Healthy people are able to differentiate, manage the emotional fusion. Differentiation of self is defined as “the capacity to think and reflect, to not respond automatically to emotions [and] the ability to be flexible and act wisely, even in the face of anxiety” (Nichols, 2014, p. 71). Bowen believed that a major goal is for the person to be autonomous and not have emotional cut off between others, as well as not forming triangles amongst those they are in a relationship with. This therapy focuses on developing persons who are able to be separate from their families, but still feel connected with them. These are difficult concepts to grasp; therefore, they are explained below. (Nichols, 2014)
A key concept in Bowenian family therapy is the emphasis on triangles. Triangles are driven by anxiety and they are when two people involve a third person or thing into their relationship to attempt to lessen the anxiety levels. An example of triangulation in my family would be my father using the church as his focus when he does not want to interact with our family. Often when my father is upset, he uses his work in the church as his crutch and escape. In regards to triangulation, it “lets off steam but freezes conflict in place” (Nichols, 2014, p. 72). With this information, it is evident that although going to work at the church may ease the levels of anxiety within our family and my dad, the problem is still there. It is evident that the conflict within our...

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