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Bowen Family Systems Theory Essay

1716 words - 7 pages

Bowen Family Systems Theory
I have quite a large family. My nuclear family consists of my mom, dad, brother and myself. My mom’s side of the family equates for that majority of our family. My mother is the youngest of nine! As one could guess, I have many aunts and many cousins. Because there are so many people of all different ages there are many patterns of interaction and diversity issues that affect the family dynamics.
The nature of my parent’s relationship is extremely loving, affectionate and kind. My parents were strict in many aspects but lenient in other aspects. Luckily my nuclear family and extended family have not had to face issues with substance abuse, violence or ...view middle of the document...

A real life example of this in my family recently triangulation was utilized. My two cousins were having an on going argument and one reached out to my mother for help. Sometime “transferring” the anxiety to another relives the pressure in a way.
Another concept is, Differentiation of self. This refers to two specific processes that are very closely related. The first process refers to an individual’s ability of awareness of the difference between his or her own intellectual determined functioning and their emotional determined functioning. As for the second process, this refers to the way in which the individual operates in a relationship system. To improve the differentiation of self in one’s family, it is important to be aware and a knowledgeable of one’s own multigenerational family system as well as being informed of the theory concepts. By educating one’s self on multigenerational knowledge, this helps to form an understanding where one can begin to make mindful decisions, reacting subjectively and making use of their emotional determined functioning towards the emotional influences in everyday life. (Kerr,2000).
My mother is a great example of some with a well -differentiated self. She always remains calm in face of conflict, doesn’t take rejection too personally, and is able to understand the views of others. This makes her a great mediator in the family. She doesn’t out right takes sides, she is able to genuinely understand everyone’s point of view.
The next concept is the Nuclear Family Emotional System. This concept illustrates four main relationship patterns, which cause problems within a family. These processes/patterns consist of: marriage conflict, spousal dysfunction, dysfunction of children through family projection, and emotional distance. As tension increases the more these patterns will come forth. “The higher the tension, the more chance that symptoms will be severe and that several people will be symptomatic” (Kerr, 2000). All of these processes exist in response to varying levels of anxiety in an effort to achieve equilibrium or a sense of balance (Kerr, 2000).
An example of the Family System in my family is when my aunt and uncle were having marital problems and projected their problems onto my cousin, Sonya, by being extremely overbearing. This caused my cousin at the time to react in an intense way.
Another one of Bowen’s concepts is Family Projection Process. This refers to the main way parents project their emotional problems onto their children. This projection can hinder the functioning of the child/children making them more vulnerable to clinical symptoms (Kerr, 2000). Through the relationship with their parents children inherit many strengths and problems. The problems that they inherit that affect their lives are things such as increased need for attention, problem dealing with inspections of others, blame, feeling responsible for how others feel, and acting impulsively in...

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