CFC New s
Volume 3  Number 4                                                                 Summer 2019

Annual Summer Conference Just Around the Corner... 

Friday, July 19, 2019

Family of Origin Work:
Taking a New Look at Your Family through the Lens of Bowen Theory

Stephanie Ferrera, MSW, Robert Noone, PhD, and Cecilia Guzman, MS, are the featured speakers and discussants at this year's annual Summer Conference to be held in Oak Park, Illinois, at the Carleton Hotel. It will also include a special presentation of a videotape of Murray Bowen, MD, and Michael Kerr, MD, discussing "Differentiation of Self." Family of origin work is an essential component of therapy grounded in Bowen theory. Faculty will present their perspectives and experience with this important concept.

Stephanie Ferrera, Robert Noone, and Cecilia Guzman

The study of one's family of origin and ancestry can be fascinating by itself. Family research generally leads to a wider and more objective view of the family, which in turn can lead to better understanding and appreciation of one's family.

Bowen theory takes the study of families to a deeper level. Viewing the family as an emotional system, with its triangles, reciprocal functioning, relationship patterns that repeat over generations, and its shifting levels of anxiety, reveals what Michael Kerr calls "The Hidden Life of Families."

Seeing the family in this different way leads to a new way of thinking about the its best and at its worst. Most importantly, it leads, gradually, to seeing oneself as part of the system. It opens up ideas and options for changing one's own part. Kerr states:

"The effort boils down to using the lens of theory to think differently about family problems and acting based on the new way of thinking."

This is the process of differentiation of self, of gaining personal maturity and greater responsibility for self. The gains in maturity that one achieves in one's family of origin carry over into all other relationships.

The article, Do We Ever Resolve "Unresolved Emotional Attachment"? by Jennifer Howe, LCSW, and posted in March of 2019 on The Systems Thinker, the CFC Blog, is an excellent example of the impact that family of origin work can have on individuals motivated to learn more about their families and to look at their own part in the emotional system of the family.

For more on how Dr. Bowen came to value family of origin work and introduced it as a way of teaching the 8 concepts in the theory, read Stephanie Ferrera's new blog post Family of Origin Work: The Road to Maturity.

Summer Conference Program Schedule

8:30 a.m.
Onsite Registration
9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
"Family of Origin Work: History, Purpose, Process"
(Stephanie Ferrera, MSW)
10:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
10:45 a.m. to Noon
"Autonomy and Connectedness across the Generations"
(Robert Noone, PhD)
Noon to 1:30 p.m.
Lunch Break
1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
"Differentiation of Self"
Videotape presentation by Murray Bowen, MD, and Michael E. Kerr, MD
Discussion: Faculty presenters and program participants
3:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
"What Does It Mean: 'Being in Contact With, but Outside Of, an Emotional System'?" A Brief Review of My Efforts in Family of Origin Work and My 'Aha' Moment"
(Cecilia Guzman, MS)
4:30 p.m. - Adjourn

For further information and to register, see 2019 Summer Conference on the CFC Website, or contact the program coordinator, Stephanie Ferrera.

Deadline fast approaching for applications to the CFC Post-Graduate Training Program...Deadline August 1, 2019!

Applications are being accepted for the next session of the training program beginning September, 2019. The post-graduate training program grounds clinical practitioners, clergy, and organizational consultants and leaders in Bowen theory and its application in therapy, consultation and leadership. This training program is designed for professionals seeking to enhance professional growth, work on level of differentiation of self, interested in the latest scientific research in the neurosciences, leadership development, child development, and the natural sciences. The CFC Post-Graduate Training Program is taught by Bowen theory practitioners.

Read about the impact of the CFC training program on three graduates who have written articles that were posted on The Systems Thinker, the CFC Blog, in November of 2018.

The Post-Graduate Training Program of the Center for Family Consultation is a two-year training program with 54 hours of training scheduled each year, one day a month, from September to June. Eight of the training sessions are held on the first Friday of the month from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. These training days are divided into four sections:
  • Clinical Theory
  • Clinical Consultation
  • Natural Systems Theory
  • Family of Origin Consultation

For further information, contact Sydney Reed, MSW .

CFC faculty author/editor Sydney Reed, MSW, speaks to trainees in local Bowen theory post graduate training program via video conference

Sydney Reed, MSW
Sydney Reed, MSW, consulted via on May 19, 2019, with the trainees of the South Florida Post Graduate training program about her chapter, "The Emotional Shock Wave and Differentiation of Self," found in the recently published book, Death and Chronic Illness: Bowen Family Systems Perspectives, which she co-edited with Peter Titelman, PhD. Trainees had the rich experience of reading the book and then discussing it with the author/editor. A great example of one of the innovative ways of teaching Bowen theory being used in a local post graduate training program! For those interested in the training program in South Florida, email Jeff Miller at Bowen Theory South Florida.

TOFT (Tissue Organization Field Theory): Relevance to Cancer and to Bowen Theory, a keynote presentation by Michael Kerr, MD, offered compelling scientific evidence for a unidisease concept at CFC's 2019 Midwest Symposium  
Michael Kerr, MD

"If physical and emotional illnesses are accurately conceptionalized as driven by biological and physiological processes that occur time and again in most clinical conditions, then it suggests that most illnesses are driven by common processes that can be conceptualized as a "unidisease."  Michael E. Kerr, MD 

Attendees at this year's Midwest Symposium were captivated by Dr. Michael Kerr's most recent report of scientific evidence that supports his "unidisease" concept. This concept is consistent with a Bowen theory perspective on cancer, as well as other complex acute and chronic diseases that challenge individuals, families, clinical researchers and the healthcare community. For a summary of this important presentation, see the post by Leslie Ann Fox on CFC's The Systems Thinker dated May 25, 2019.

CFC faculty member Robert Noone joins with other Bowen theory experts to submit recommendations to NIMH's Research Domain Criteria (RDoC)

Bob Noone, PhD, CFC faculty member and editor of the journal  Family Systems  published by the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family
In recent years the NIMH has found that DSM V lacks a sufficient basis in science to be utilized in research. It has therefore been developing a framework for research suitable for the study of mental disorders. The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) represents an effort by NIMH to entail a number of dimensions which can be used to explore the full range of human functioning.

In response to a request for input in adding additional dimensions to the six which have been developed, Daniel Papero, Randy Frost, and Robert Noone this month submitted a brief paper proposing the inclusion of the family as a vital dimension in accounting for the adaptive functioning of individuals. The proposal, titled "Broadening the Scope of Research," suggested that Bowen Family Systems Theory represented a theory of the family sufficiently broad to integrate knowledge from the biological sciences. 

Bowen theory at home and around the world...

The Third International Conference, "Managing Relations in a Changing World - Bowen Theory in Organizations, Families and Communities," Sweden, June 15-17, 2020. Mark your calendars now!

At the 3rd International Conference on Bowen Family Systems Theory in Swedish Lapland next June you can exchange ideas about Bowen theory with professionals from around the world. Experience the dynamics of learning through lectures and workgroups in the exotic environment of the Far North. The sun shines all day and all night in Lapland in June. Keynote speakers include Bowen theory experts Dr. Anne S. McKnight, Director of the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family, Washington, DC; Dr. Daniel V. Papero, faculty at the Bowen Center, Washington, DC; Dr. Michael E. Kerr, President of the Bowen Theory Academy, Islesboro, Maine; Ms. Kathleen Wiseman, faculty at the Bowen Center, Washington, DC, and founder and president of Working Systems, Inc.; and Ms. Victoria Harrison, Director of the Center for the Study of Natural Systems and the Family, Houston, TX, and faculty at the Bowen Center, Washington, DC. Papers will also be presented and discussed by Bowen theory experts from around the world.

CFC Faculty Coaching in Local Programs for Clergy

Many members of the clergy of different faiths have long embraced the concepts of Bowen theory in their responsibilities as leaders of their congregations, and in working with members and families. CFC faculty members frequently collaborate with two organizations in the Chicago area that are training clergy and church leaders in Bowen Family Systems Theory. Family of origin work is an essential component of learning Bowen theory for use in professional systems and with congregants.

Bob Williamson, John Bell, Stephanie Ferrera, and Lisa Moss are currently coaching family of origin groups for the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center's Clergy Clinic. (Cecilia Guzman and Kelly Matthews-Pluta have coached there in the past.)

Stephanie Ferrera and John Bell are also teaching and coaching family of origin groups for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Systems Academy.

CFC online video programs help busy practitioners overcome obstacles of time and distance...

Clinical Supervison: ONLINE STUDY GROUP:
Next session starts September 10, 2019

Kelly Matthews-Pluta, MSW
Kelly Matthews-Pluta, MSW, CFC faculty member, provides online clinical supervision to family therapists in small groups ( no more than 4 participants). The group meets online via video conferencing available at . This is a nine-month program. Class meeting dates to be finalized this summer.

Each small group will be conducted as a study group where Family Systems Theory is discussed and applied, using Growing Yourself Up by Jenny Brown. The first 30 minutes of each session will be spent discussing the assigned book chapter, followed by two 45-minute clinical case presentations by participants. Each participant in the study group is expected to present cases at 3 meetings.

For more information, contact Kelly Matthews-Pluta .

Bowen Family Systems Theory 101: Next session starting September 19, 2019  
Cecilia Guzman, MS

Cecilia Guzman, MS, CFC faculty member and private practioner, conducts this monthly online series of eight one-hour lectures and discussions, designed to provide the participant with a general overview of each concept of Bowen Family Systems Theory:
  • Differentiation of Self
  • Triangles
  • Nuclear Family Emotional System
  • Family Projection Process
  • Multigenerational Transmission Process
  • Emotional Cutoff
  • Sibling Position
  • Societal Emotional Process

A basic understanding of the eight concepts offers participants the opportunity to begin conceptualizing clinical cases through the lens of BFST. Gaining a new, broader perspective on behavior patterns in families can significantly improve outcomes of the therapeutic process.

Earn 8 CEUs with full-series attendance. Approved for social worker, psychologist, marriage and family therapist, and professional counselor education credits.

For further information, contact  Cecilia Guzman.

Save-the-Dates for Ethics and Culture & Ethnicity Seminars on September 27, 2019!

Ethics in Clinical Practice

The concept of differentiation of self in Bowen theory is a trustworthy guide for defining principles and making decisions entailed in the ethical practice of psychotherapy. Ethical issues -- confidentiality, responsible sharing of information, appropriate use of hospitalization and medication, and others -- are understood in the context of the family emotional system.

Date: Friday, September 27, 2019
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Place: 820 Davis Street, Suite 504, Evanston, IL 60201

Continuing Education Credits (CEUs)

3 CEUs will be awarded. Approved for clergy, social worker, psychologist, marriage and family therapist, and professional counselor education credits.

Culture and Ethnicity

What do you need to know to be a culturally competent clinician? Bowen theory understands the variation in human cultures as the diverse ways that basic biologically-rooted patterns are expressed in human families and societies.

Date: Friday, September 27, 2019
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Place: 820 Davis Street, Suite 504, Evanston, IL 60201

Continuing Education Credits (CEUs)

3 CEUs will be awarded. Approved for clergy, social worker, psychologist, marriage and family therapist, and professional counselor education credits.

Save the Date: October 25, 2019

CFC's Fall Conference... featuring Daniel Papero, PhD

This year's Fall Conference will be held on October 25th, 2019, starting at 9:00 a.m. and finishing at 4:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church at 1427 Chicago Avenue in Evanston, Illinois. Please note that this is a change of venue for this annual conference.

Dr. Papero will lecture on a topic central to Bowen theory and its clinical application. In addition to this lecture, he will present a videotaped clinical session that illustrates important challenges individuals and their families seek to resolve. The session will illustrate both the clinical application of the theory as well as the effort of individuals to define self in the broader context of family.

Dr. Papero lectures internationally on Bowen theory, and is on the faculty of the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family in Washington, DC. He is the author of the book Bowen Family Systems Theory; and he is co-editor of The Family Emotional System: An Integrative  Approach for Theory, Science and Practice published in 2015. He maintains a private practice in Washington, DC.