Family Evaluation 1st Edition
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About the Author
Murray Bowen, M.D., and Michael Kerr, M.D., worked together for twenty years. When Bowen passed away in 1990, Kerr took over his position as the Director of the Georgetown Family Center.
Michael E. Kerr, MD, succeeded Murray Bowen as director of the Georgetown Family Center. He is coauthor with Bowen of Family Evaluation (Norton) and lives in Islesboro, Maine.
- Item Weight : 1.64 pounds
- Hardcover : 416 pages
- Product Dimensions : 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
- ISBN-13 : 978-0393700565
- ISBN-10 : 0393700569
- Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (October 17, 1988)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #379,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Especially like the chapter on Differentiation and how couple can take on various roles and anxiety symptoms .
Top reviews from other countries
I am a mature intelligent person of good character from a modest stable nuclear family, and yet, despite my good intentions, outcomes for my children have been mixed to the unfortunate extent of neurosis in some cases. “There is a reason for everything” has long been a mantra for me, with the practical and effective corollary that understanding a problem can usually leads to its resolution.
Reading Family Evaluation: The role of the family as an emotional unit that governs individual behaviour and development (Michael Kerr, MD Murray Bowen MD (1988) I have finally seen the light. Naturally, I had previously blamed myself and other key players to some degree. However, I now see that none of use should be blaming anybody, however much we may be so inclined, because, without a thorough understanding of the systemic cause and effect of unconscious family dynamics though past and current generations, we do not appreciate how very little we act as individuals, and how very much our circumstances and personal characteristics are a product of our family, especially of our parents and their own inherited family dynamics.
The Bowen family systems theory was first developed by Dr Murray Bowen in the 1950's and 1960's. Unlike earlier theories, the Bowen theory is based on scientific methods rather than the earlier (still popular) Psychology of imaginative philosophies, analogies and fashionable thought based upon subjective interpretation of case studies devoid of scientific method. Orthodox psychology has been very much cantered on the individuals, and therapies are generally based on a 'blame' culture.
Kerr and Bowen (1988) is not light reading. Indeed, far from it. I have been making slow progress because it is a text for close study and re-reading in order to begin to understand the concepts and the specialized terminology. It also pre-supposes some familiarly of the reader with conventional psychology/psychiatry wisdom (Bowen conducted the bulk of his research with families who had members receiving psychiatric treatment) However, I have found the effort to have been immensely worthwhile thus far.
I believe that my other family members would each be capable of reading and understanding the concepts outlined in this book, and, with the help of examples given, could relate this all to their own personal situation and benefit in terms of personal peace and happiness. I believe that this is something that only each person can do for themselves, so I have ordered copies of this book for each family member.
The book is remarkable in several ways. Firstly there is not a single mention of any other theorist of family therapy. When the authors refer to 'systems theory' or family therapy they are talking about their own ideas. Secondly Bowen appears to have worked out a complete system of thought based on ideas about evolution and the way living beings function in groups. In particular how we have learned to cling together for safety and 'togetherness' in a way as well as being a solution is the cause of many of our problems.
Bowen's main concept however is differentiation. He argues that people mostly deal with problems by identifying with each other and forming alliances. However these alliances are then restrictive and we forget who we are so mental and other illnesses can arise. The more people are differentiated the less they depend on alliances and can be 'emotionally objective' which is a favourite phrase.
Another concept is that of triangles, that if a couple of people in your unit/family are having an issue and they try and draw you into it. There is thus created a triangle which can perpetuate and complicate tensions and anxiety. However if you hear what they're saying and continue to do so but don't invest emotionally in either side, you may 'detriangle' the complex and help create greater differentiation in the family.
Personally i found reading this book touched a lot of nerves for me in a way that was very surprising because its not full of lengthy case histories. Its approach is theoretical rather than saying a lot about technique, and it doesn't engage in any discussion about the rival merits of alternative theories. The book is also quite slow going and in places repetitive.
However, by looking at the nature of family dynamics and multigenerational development it puts flesh on the bones of theories about systems.
Es bietet echte Hilfe, sich selbst und seine Handlungsmuster im Kontext der Familie zu verstehen.