Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Undifferentiated Family Ego Mass in Bowen Therapy

  • Laurie LassiterEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_357

The undifferentiated family ego mass was an early term that Murray Bowen used to describe his observations of the human family. It would later form the basis of Bowen Family Systems Theory, or Bowen theory. The main discovery of Bowen’s research project at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 1954 to 1959 was the emotional oneness in families, the undifferentiated family ego mass. In the study, entire families lived in a psychiatric hospital ward and data about them was recorded 24 h a day. The families included a young adult child with schizophrenia and the mother, and later the father and other siblings, as Bowen’s initial view of a symbiotic relationship between mother and child enlarged to seeing the whole family actively participating in an emotional oneness. While his observations contributed to understanding schizophrenia in the context of family projection processes, the major contribution of the research was the recognition that the family functions as an emotional,...

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  1. Bowen, M. (1978). Family therapy in clinical practice. New York: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LeverettUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Molly F. Gasbarrini
    • 1
  1. 1.Alliant International UniversityLos AngelesUSA