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Boweian Family Therapy - Presentation Slides - Weekend 1

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Family Systems Weekend 1

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Boweian Family Therapy - Presentation Slides - Weekend 1

  1. 1. Christine Moran, M.A. ICPPD 1
  2. 2. BOWENIAN FAMILY SYSTEMS THERAPY (1)  Murray Bowen (1913 - 1990)  He based his theory on two opposing life-forces: Togetherness & Individuality  He served in the U.S. army during World War II and trained as a Psychiatrist in1946, in Topeka, Kansas 2
  3. 3. BOWENIAN FAMILY SYSTEMS THERAPY (2)  Biology was the chief influence on his thinking and on his systemic approach to Family therapy(which is one of the earliest and most comprehensive of all approaches)  As one of the founders of Family Therapy, he had practiced extensively as a psychotherapist with schizophrenic clients 3
  4. 4. Basic Tenets of His Approach  Evolution theory reappears in his speculations as to how people arrive at their level of "DIFFERENTIATION".  This concept echoes Freud's hypothesis concerning ego development "where the id was, there the ego shall be"  Bowen studied this concept over three generations of the family and referred to this as the  "MULTIGENERATIONAL TRANSMlSSlON PROCESS" 4
  5. 5. 8 MAJOR CONCEPTS 1. Differentiation of self 2. Triangles (triangulation) 3. Emotional cut-off 4. Nuclear family emotional system 5. Family projection process 6. Multigenerational process( as above) 7. Sibling position 8. Societal emotional process 5
  6. 6. Basic Tenets cont’d  His theory is often viewed as belonging to a historical frame-work.  This process showed most of all in the communication between family members.  Bowen believed that most children emerge from their parents – with only a few developing ‘higher’ or ‘lower’ levels of differentiation than their parents. 6
  7. 7. DIFFERENTIATION of Self  Bowen was less interested in communication than the other theorists, viewing it as a by product of "differentiation".  He believed that 90% of people were not well differentiated.  Differentiation of Self forms the cornerstone of his theory and is both intra-psychic and interpersonal. 7
  8. 8. DIFFERENTIATION of Self cont’d.  The most involved child in a family system is thought to have a lower level of differentiation than that of the parents, whereas less involved children are thought to develop slightly higher levels than their parents.  Bowen’s theory presumes that people tend to marry people with similar levels of differentiation (“like attracts like”) 8
  9. 9. First Level Differentiation  This level is intra-psychic, and describes the ability of the person to separate thoughts from feelings.  The goal of therapy is to bring this about to a functional level - so that no one ends up being “swallowed up”  Where a higher level of differentiation exists; people feel more freedom around the choices they make in their lives. e.g. if someone moves to California to live they feel comfortable about it, so that it is not a distancing reaction.  The attainment of this level of differentiation involves reason, detachment and objectivity while retaining spontaneity. 9
  10. 10. Second Level Differentiation  Most people's intellects are so flooded with feeling that they are incapable of thinking or of separating thinking from feeling, and as a result, autonomous behaviour  This level of differentiation is inter-personal and refers to the degree to which an individual manages across a lifetime to maintain emotional autonomy with others.  It refers to the ability to retain the ‘l’ position in relationships and to remain clear about the differences between thinking, feelings, needs and wants. 10
  11. 11. Second Level Cont’d  It also refers to the ability to obtain “objectivity” instead of reactivity, and to be able to state what is not tolerable in the presence of someone who wants you to change for them.  This involves autonomously acting on our own beliefs rather than reacting;  Interdependence as opposed to co-dependence and intimacy as opposed to reflexivity.  To achieve this, most of us have to pull ourselves out of the emotional chaos of F.O. and avoid FUSION, CUTOFFS, and TRIANGUIATION. 11
  12. 12. FUSION  In particular Bowen was struck by the fusion between schizophrenic patients and their mothers.  He coined the phrase “un-differentiated ego mass” to describe this kind of reactivity. 12
  13. 13. TRIANGULATION  Bowen says that we are always attracted to triangulation as a concept in almost all relationships (just as cats are attracted to birds!)  Since dyads are the least stable communication system and prone to tension, couples and families tend to bring in a third party, interest or influence when the going gets too hot  This happens at many different levels, since all relationships go through cycles of distance and closeness  The partner who is feeling the most discomfort is usually the one who pulls in a third party as a way of gaining an ally. 13
  14. 14. EMOTIONAL CUT-OFFS  Emotional cut-offs may be real or intra-psychic and are attempts at maintaining autonomy. While this may insulate from the discomfort of attachment (often from a parent) - it leaves the person vulnerable to loss of autonomy.  This occurs when a situation becomes so emotionally intense, that family members can’t separate their own thoughts and behaviours from others.  It also leaves them vulnerable to recreating the same dynamic in other close relationships. 14
  15. 15. Nuclear Family Emotional System  Bowen focused on the impact of un-differentiation on the emotional functioning of a single generation family. He asserts that fusion can cause symptoms which may manifest in one of the following: ○ Marital conflict ○ Dysfunction in one spouse ○ lmpairment of one or more children ○ Emotional distance 15
  16. 16. Family Projection Process  Is described as the way in which parents transmit their emotional problems to a child and how in turn their negative projections can damage the child.  Often the most vulnerable or sensitive child is effected most. 16
  17. 17. Sibling Position  Describes how people who grow up in the same sibling position often demonstrate the same significant common characteristics.  Parents can identify with the child in the same sibling position as themselves (and may triangle them in to the marital relationship)  A child can be aligned with a grandparent against a parent and this gets repeated 17
  18. 18. Societal Emotional Process  Describes how the emotional system controls behaviour not just in families but also at a societal level, promoting both regressive and progressive periods in a society.  Family systems and social systems are linked and often reflect each other  Social expectations about race, class, sexual orientation etc. effect the family. 18
  19. 19. GOALS OF THERAPY  To achieve differentiation and avoid family members feeling swallowed -up.  To decrease anxiety and bring about relief from distressing symptoms. 19
  20. 20. TECHNIQUES  The therapist demonstrates differentiation by maintaining the “I” position, which requires taking responsibility for one’s own behaviour.  Other techniques include: ○ Circular questioning ○ Tracking ○ Coaching ○ The three generational genogram (family tree). 20
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  22. 22. Understanding Your Family Structure Make a list of the siblings from oldest to youngest in your family?  Give a brief description of each (including yourself)  What most stands out for each sibling?  Which sibling(s) is/are most different from you, and how?  Which is most like you, and how? 22
  23. 23. A Balance of Being Separate and of Belonging to a Family  In what significant ways, if any, do you see yourself as having a distinct identity and being psychologically separate from your family of origin?  At what age did you leave home physically?  At what age did you leave home psychologically?  And in what ways, if any, are you still psychologically fused with your family of origin?  Are there any aspects of this that you want to change? 23
  24. 24. Understanding the Rules of Your Family Rules or messages that were delivered by our parents and parent substitutes are often couched in terms of ○ “Do this or that” Consider the following “do” messages; ○ “Be obedient.” ○ “Be practical at all times.” ○ “Be the very best you can be.” ○ “Be appropriate.” ○ “Be perfect.” ○ “Be a credit to your family.” 24
  25. 25. Understanding the Rules of Your Family At this point, reflect on the rules that seemed apparent in your family  What were some of the major rules that governed your family?  What were some unspoken rules between the adults?  What rules did you learn about appropriate sex-role behaviour?  What did you learn about femininity?  About masculinity?  To what degree did you abide by all these rules?  Were there any that you challenged?  How did unspoken rules affect you?  Were there rules surrounding what could not be mentioned?  If there were secrets in your family, how did this affect the family atmosphere? 25
  26. 26. Understanding the Rules of Your Family Consider some of the major “do's” and “don'ts” that you heard growing up in your family and your reactions to them.  What are a few messages or rules that you did accept?  What were some rules that you fought against?  Which of your early decisions do you deem to be most significant in your life today?  What was the family context in which you made these decisions?  If you grew up in your family thinking “I am never enough”, how has this conclusion about yourself played out in your current relationships in various aspects of your life? 26
  27. 27. Significant Developments in Your Family You might find it useful to describe your family of origin's life cycle. Chart significant turning points that characterise its development. One way is to look at family albums and see what the photos are revealing. Let these pictures stimulate your memories, and see what you can learn. As you view photos of your parents‘, grandparents, siblings, and other relatives' look for patterns that can offer clues to family dynamics. 27
  28. 28. Significant Developments in Your Family In charting transitions in the development of your family, reflect on these questions:  What were any crisis points for your family?  Can you recall any unexpected events that affected your family?  Were there any periods of separation due to employment, military service, or imprisonment?  Who tended to have problems within the family? How were these problems manifested? How did others in the family react to the person with problems?  In what ways did births affect the family?  Were there any serious illnesses, accidents, divorces, or deaths in your family of origin? If so, how did they affect individual members in the family and the family as a whole? 28
  29. 29. Stages of Family Therapy (Carr) Stage 1 Planning 1.1. Planning who to invite 1.2. Planning an agenda Stage 2 Assessment 2.1. Contracting for assessment 2.2. Managing engagement challenges 2.3. Completing the assessment and formulation 2.4. Alliance building 2.5. Formulation and feedback Stage 3 Treatment 3.1. Setting goals and contracting for treatment 3.2. Participating in treatment 3.3. Managing resistance Stage 4 Disengagement or Reconstructing 4.1. Fading out session 4.2. Discussing permanence and the change process 4.3. Relapse management 4.4. Framing disengagement as an episode in a relationship 4.5. Recontracting 29