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Bowenian Theory of Family Counseling - Research Paper Example

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This essay talks about Bowenian theory which is one of those theories of human behavior, which sees family as an emotional unit, tied with emotional connections. Bowen believed that the variables of “togetherness” and “individuality” are instrumental in defining the overall structure of the family…
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Bowenian Theory of Family Counseling
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"Bowenian Theory of Family Counseling"

Download file to see previous pages Consciously or subconsciously, members of a family have profound effect on each other (Gehart, 2009; Papero, 1990). Bowen believed that the variables of “togetherness” and “individuality” are instrumental in defining the overall structure of the family. Togetherness refers to the degree of cohesiveness in the family and in the presence of high degree of cohesiveness; it is highly likely that the family will present a picture of a nuclear family (Gladding, 2002). Individuality is the flip side of togetherness and in presence of higher level of individuality, the family structure may break loose and worse, family members may part their own ways (Skyttner, 2005). Bowenian theory is spread over eight interlocking concepts, which formulate the most part of Bowenian arguments and research. First, is “differentiation of self” (Papero, 1990), which refers to the ability of differentiating one’s thoughts, feelings and ideas from that of the family. The more refined concept of “self” a person has, the less likely is that he or she would depend on his or her family for acceptance and approval (Patterson & Edwards, 2009; Papero, 1990). These people are able to differentiate between their feelings and thoughts and when required, they would be able to put their feelings aside and would come up with rational arguments for solving problems (Gehart, 2009). However, people who a poorly differentiated “self” become the victims of “group think” and they are always putting their effort to conform to their family norms, rules and thought patterns. They rely heavily on the acceptance and approval of other family members and quickly adjust to the changing group opinions (Winek, 2009; Gladding, 2002). Second, rather than focusing on the dyad...
This report stresses that Bowen asserted that sibling positions also pay an important role in defining the overall family structure. Elder siblings are viewed as more responsible, disciplined, and mature; however, the youngest in the family would be seen as careless, undisciplined, and irresponsible. This goes on to impact people’s lives and careers because eldest ones make good leaders, in charges and bosses and youngest ones may go on to be good followers.
This paper makes a conclusion that there are some striking differences between Bowenian approach to family theory and other approaches. Quite understandably, these differences also form the basis of the mild criticism that Bowen has received from his critics and other researchers. For example, the cognitive behavioral family therapy focuses too much on the operant conditioning principles and tends to avoid the genetic and communicational issues that arise in the family. Collaborative language systems therapy avoids most of the points and claims of the Bowenian approach, believes that most of the problems can be solved with speaking out about the problems, and issues. This allows the family members to explore their subconscious problems and feel easy about it. The Feminist Family Therapy takes up the principle of differentiation from the Bowenian but focuses most of its efforts on filling up the gaps of cultural, religious and class differences between the spouses to solve their problems. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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