Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Multigenerational Transmission Process in Bowen Therapy

  • Alejandra CejaEmail author
  • Molly F. Gasbarrini
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_356

Name of Concept

Multigenerational Transmission Process in Bowen Theory


Intergenerational transmission process


The multigenerational transmission process refers to the central concept that explains how levels of differentiation are transmitted from one generation to another (Bowen 1978). The multigenerational transmission process occurs when family dynamics are transferred from parents to children through conscious processes, like teaching and learning of information, as well as the unconscious family projection process, by which parents project their intense emotions onto their children. These processes become primary determinants of the children’s levels of differentiation (Kim-Appel and Appel 2015), which are often similar to that of their parents. However, small variations in how parents relate to different children in the family may result in certain offspring in the family having a more developed sense of self and higher levels of differentiation than others.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International UniversityLos AngelesUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Douglas C. Breunlin
    • 1
  1. 1.The Family InstituteNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA