Murray Bowen is
credited by some with generating a wholly new way of thinking about
human behavior. That new way: Family Systems Theory, put into
action as Bowenian Famliy Therapy. The web is chock full of simple
descriptions of what it is and how it works, so we'll save typing
time--and your time--and get right to the links.
What it is (via The Bowen
Bowen family systems theory is a theory of human behavior that
views the family as an emotional unit and uses systems thinking to
describe the complex interactions in the unit.
The theory's eight interlocking concepts (via Wikipedia):
- Differentiation of Self (the most important concept)
- Nuclear Family Emotional System
- Family Projection Process
- Multigenerational Transmission Process
- Emotional Cutoff
- Sibling Position
- Societal Emotional Process
As usual, passing the social work exam usually requires just
being able to identify concepts rather than actually being able to
explain them. (That makes some long for the old days of oral
exams--and makes others wildly grateful that the old days of oral
exams has past). You can, for better or worse, often reduce social
work exam knowledge into a cheer. "I say differentiation, you say
Bowen!" "I say triangles, you say Bowen!" "I say multigenerational
transmission process, you say Bowen!" That last one's kind of a
mouthful, but see if you don't remember this post if/when you
encounter a Bowenian Family Therapy question on the exam!
Find plenty more about Bowen's theory and therapy at these
Good luck on the exam!