Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Bowen Family Systems Therapy with Couples

  • Susan RegasEmail author
  • Ronda Doonan
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_360

Bowen Couple Therapy is more about the nature of being human than about couples or couple therapy. Murray Bowen conceptualized the couple and the family as an emotional unit and the family members were part of that unit and not just autonomous psychological individuals. Furthermore, there is the assumption that each family member is a product of evolution and that their behavior is regulated by the same processes that regulate behavior in all living systems. He based his theory on observable facts rather than on subjective experiences and feelings.

Bowen proposed that any change in the emotional functioning of each family member affects everyone in the system. The emotional functioning of every person impacts the occurrence of health problems or psychological issues in every other member. Feelings move from individual to individual by means of predictable and patterned emotional reactions such as distance, conflict, over functioning, underfunctioning, or triangling.

Bowen did not limit...

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Recommended Reading

  1. Brown, J. (2012). Growing yourself up: How to bring your best to all of life’s relationships. Wollombi: Exisle Publishing Pty Ltd.Google Scholar
  2. Gilbert, R. M. (1992). Extraordinary relationships: A new way of thinking about human interactions. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  3. Kerr, M. E., & Bowen, M. (1988). Family evaluation: An approach based on Bowen theory. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.California School of Professional PsychologyLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Community Memorial Health SystemsVenturaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

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