Bowen Systems Theory Research Paper

  • Length: 5 pages
  • Sources: 5
  • Subject: Psychology
  • Type: Research Paper
  • Paper: #79174736

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Bowen Systems Theory

It is essential to understand the behavior of a person before engaging in assisting them to overcome their challenges in counseling. However, in the course of understanding this individual, there would be barriers, as the person may not have the free will to disclose their actions. Therefore, this necessitates the help of the family to the nurse conducting the assessments to gather useful information that on application will help the patient in need. Therefore, to establish such information, through the association of the patient to the family or close friends helps in understanding the person and factors that led to the situation they face. Thus, in this aspect, this constitutes the Bowen Systems Theory, which has the sole purpose of assisting the psychiatric examination and assessment of patients (Bowen, Rawlins, & Martin, 2010). To understand the theory, the discussion further leads to the diagnostics and treatments available through this theory. Additionally, there are various journals written on the subject that provide a critical analysis of the Bowen theory. Thus, there is an illustration of the journal presented.

Understanding the Topic

Murray Bowen was an American Psychiatrist who studied and taught psychiatry as a professor in the Georgetown University. He was a bright fellow who designed and developed the initial prototype of the current Bowen system theory. However, he worked in conjunction with other professors and psychiatrist who assisted him in pioneering the theory. He began his interest while at the Menniger Clinic in Topeka, Kansa, where he was studying psychiatry in the period 1946 to 1954 (Murray, 2010). It was while at the place that he read various biology topics and aspects of evolution. Through this extensive study, the effect was a cause in the change of his perception of human functioning. Therefore, he established his research project on human functioning at the National Institute of Mental Health, where he largely interacted with members with schizophrenia and their families (Bowen, Rawlins, & Martin, 2010). To establish this feature, he set the thesis that there is a correlation of the psychiatric behavior of patients to the family and those with close relations to the patient.

To develop this study, he conducted a studying interaction with the family that had a schizophrenic patient. He did this study for over five years, studying the immediate and extended family members and their behaviors. It was through this study that he established the role of the family to the condition of the patient. Dr. Bowen, at this stage understood and defined the concepts about the family institution as a system. He established various findings, the most significant included in the theory being the family as an emotional system that establishes the limits of the biology and behavior of individuals. The initial establishments of the Family therapy in Clinical Practice, as he called the theory initially before it became Bowen systems theory (Bowen, Rawlins, & Martin, 2010). Therefore, by the time Bowen then found his way to Georgian University to combine efforts with other pioneers of the family theory in 1959. At this time, he had the basic concepts of the theory established, with eight interconnected variables in place. Thus, the theory had the following variables; the emotional system, which inter-balances between individuality and togetherness, the levels of self-differentiation, the mechanisms of reactivity within the nuclear family; triangles of relations, multigenerational transition processes, sibling positions, anxiety, emotional cut off, and chronic and acute reactions. Dr. Bowen established that these concepts are inseparable; thus, the overall theory study was within the framework of the family.

The Bowen theory is not a pathology theory, but a theory that explains the interactions of variables that constitute the variations in human functioning (Bowen, Rawlins, & Martin, 2010). Thus, it is not a curative measure parse, but an outline to understand the variables of predicting the individual health variations and consequences. Therefore, it was evident that the theoretical differences studied facilitated new avenues for approaching psychotherapy, medicine and healthcare.

What are the diagnostic criteria?

The study in this family theory focuses on the essential aspects that interconnect leading to the condition of the person. The diagnostic criteria include the concepts and variables that constitute the family and individual behavior. They assist in understanding the cause and effect of the natural behavior of the patient. Thus, the symptoms of understanding this concept entail the studying of the family variables that Bowen notes in the beginning of the theory. Such include the factors of anxiety, acute and critical rations, and emotional relations and cut off, sibling relations, intergenerational transmission processes, the triangles of relations and the balance between the emotional systems within the family settings (Richardson, 2010). These are the symptoms to look for while establishing the condition and measures to engage in addressing the needs of the patient. Through these factors, the symptoms of the physical, psychiatric, behavioral, social and societal factors causing the patient the condition become evident. Thus, this system by Bowen assists in establishing the causative agent and effect on the patient. It is a diagnostic criterion that includes studying the family as a whole interconnected unit to establish the procedures of assisting the patient.

What are the treatment options?

From the establishment of the theory, it emerged that the differences in the family relations and other factors afforded avenues and approaches that on employing in the treatment procedure, they would assist the patient. However, the Bowen Systems Theory is not a treatment procedure itself, but rather an avenue of establishing the causative agent and effects on the patient. Therefore, the theory is useful to the patient, as well as, the psychiatrist conducting the examination as it gives them the starting point for the treatment procedure (Richardson, 2010). Thus, as a theoretical foundation in psychotherapy, the theory facilitates the directions for the therapy of the condition of the individual; rather than, the diagnostic categories and techniques of the therapist. The theory is not dependent on the family members in the assessment, but thinking of the therapist (Bregman & White, 2011). The decisions to undertake as the therapist in treating the patient base upon the assessment of the levels of differentiation, and bonds within the family. The therapist meets the individual and addresses the concerns the patient holistically while ministering to the family, as well. Therefore, from the studying of this theory, the psychiatrist gets approaches to meet the treatment requirements of the patient.

Case study: Skinner, C.M. (1992). The Bowen theory: Pastoral care in the hospital setting

This journal by Skinner evaluates the Bowen theory and its relation in providing the healthcare requirements within the hospital setting. In this article, the author features various factors, with the key developing factors being to understand the concepts of Bowen Theory and the implications it has, as well as, its application in the ministry of hospital chaplain (Skinner, 1992). It notes the facts leading to the establishment of the theory, where the author notes that it is from establishing the emotional ties and family relations of the patient that the treatment can focus on the overall emotional balance. According to these article findings, it also notes that the family is essential in focusing on the mechanism of treatment for the patient. The theory covers several other adult related relationship systems as learned from the family setting and origin. It notes that, in such adult systems, the individual may exert pressures to create the same emotional balance as existed in the nuclear family. This is as depicted via the Bowen Triangulation, which shows that the persons handle anxiety as they learn from their original family.

The journal further links the theory and its concepts to the chaplain ministry in the hospital, in assisting the recovery process of the patients. Skinner, in the journal article notes that, as the therapist offering…

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