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The Eight Concepts of Bowen Theory

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  160 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
"The Eight Concepts" is a clear and concise description of the basic concepts of Bowen family system theory. Beginning with the fundamental concept of the nuclear family as the emotional unit, the other concepts -- differentiation of self scale, triangles, cutoff, family projection process, multigenerational transmission process, sibling position, and emotional processes o ...more
Paperback, 127 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Leading Systems Press (first published December 28th 2004)
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Stephen Hiemstra
Mar 05, 2015 Stephen Hiemstra rated it it was amazing
Families matter. How much they matter to our health and well-being is sometimes shocking. Frequently in patient visits in an emergency room, physical and psychiatric problems could be linked to problems elsewhere in the family, such as a death or special trauma. This might be obvious when a young mother comes in complaining of chronic headaches, but it might also be a significant factor explaining backache, heart attacks, stroke, ineffective medication, and drug addictions. Of course, as a chapl ...more
Joe Haack
Sep 13, 2014 Joe Haack rated it really liked it
I picked this up from the seminary bookstore at Trinity School for Ministry. I picked up some of the concepts of Bowen Theory in Marriage and Family Counseling from my graduate studies. If you have read The Emotionally Healthy Church, you also encountered some of the major concepts of Bowen Theory applied to church-life and Christian discipleship.

I am a sucker for primers and "guides-to-everything" and this book fits the bill. It is an overview of the most important concepts in family systems t
Sep 09, 2014 Isaac rated it liked it
While I did not like the style the book was written in and did not get much out of most of the principles in this book, there was one exception. The chapter about differentiation was worth the price of this book and is invaluable in helping me understand more clearly how people confuse feelings with facts. "They do not distinguish between “truth” and “fact,” and the inner feeling state is the most accurate possible expression of truth."

Athiban Vasanth
Aug 15, 2016 Athiban Vasanth rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology, therapy
I found Bowen theory to be fascinating for a long time. Never had the chance to understand its concepts intuitively. When I subscribed to Kindle unlimited, this was one of the books that I got for free and read the book in a single day.

Its a short book with all the eight concepts explained well with real-life examples. How the emotional climate of the family is shared among its members and manifested as either mature or weak/undifferentiated offspring is the gist of the book. Good one.
Aug 26, 2011 Hilary rated it really liked it
"If you know the theory, you can use it. If you don't, you can't."

Those are the words that generally sum up my response to this book. The Bowen Theory is a theory of familial interactions, or more, just relationship interactions in general. If one person is affected by anxiety, the rest of the group reacts to it. The book is concise, succinct, and in general quite easy for the layperson to understand. I found it remarkable how many of the points I was able to relate to my own experiences in life
Amos Smith
Sep 23, 2015 Amos Smith rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent introduction to the eight primary principles of Family Systems Theory. Gilbert gets into a little homophobia at the end of the book, yet given her age and her generation, I won't let that hinder my appreciation for her treatment of the eight core concepts and the clarity she offers. -Amos Smith (author of Healing The Divide)
Steve McCondichie
Mar 01, 2016 Steve McCondichie rated it really liked it
If you ever wanted to understand why when your mother-in-law isn't happy the whole family suffers, I'd highly recommend this book. This is a condensed and practical version of Bowen's work, but it's not a beach read. However, it'll raise the emotional intelligence of all those who take the time to give it read.
Feb 09, 2015 Christine rated it it was ok
I'd heard about Bowen Theory & was very interested, but this book was a disappointment. First of all, I don't think it was that well written. The author wrote as if you knew exactly what she was talking about. It also was not as in depth as I would have liked. Second, although there are certain pieces of the theory that do make sense, I thought that overall, it was very simplistic. Bottom line: I wish I didn't spend the money on it.
Noel Anderson
Jun 05, 2016 Noel Anderson rated it liked it
Gilbert is much more accessible than others on Bowen Theory. This is a great, readable introduction.
Brandee Shafer
May 29, 2015 Brandee Shafer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Concise. Fascinating.
Scott Hopkins
Dec 22, 2011 Scott Hopkins rated it really liked it
HAVE THE BOOK, READ THE BOOK, KNOW THE BOOK AND KNOW THE WRITER WELL... these Concepts will keep me married, in a family, in the Church and in the world with more clarity and understanding than anything else I have found save God and the 12 Step Recovery Community of AA/NA.... it is a must for anyone seeking a deeper way to live in relationship to others...Bowen Family Systems Theory gives a way to envision the future Church in the Western world. I wish governments could get this !!
Morgan Blackledge
Mar 02, 2013 Morgan Blackledge rated it really liked it
I found this book to be pretty concise and useful. WARNING: the author is Christian, and the book gets kind of goofy towards the end (BTW some progressive Christians are really getting into family systems theory, great news). Don't let that scare you away though. I'm a fairly stalwart atheist and it didn't ruin the book for me, so, unless you're Chris Hitchens (and you're not) you aught to be fine. It's still a pretty great primer for family systems theory, well worth it.
Oct 09, 2007 K rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Clients who want to understand Bowen theory; therapists who want to explain it to clients
Shelves: professionallit
Another reading assignment from Fran, my supervisor. This was a much simpler, very concise book on Bowen theory written at a much lower reading level. I have the impression that the intended audience is more laypeople than professionals. However, I think it's good for professionals to read it as an easy review, and more importantly perhaps, to provide simple language for explaining some of these concepts to their clients.
Short read. Decent run down of the core ideas of Bowen's family systems theory, but there are certainly more thorough texts out there. Some of the descriptions seem outdated and questionable in light of having read more recent family therapy textbooks on Bowen - who knows. Good as a reference book where depth and integration aren't needed.
Jun 08, 2012 Corey rated it liked it
A good, concise survey of the primary concepts of Bowen's Family Systems Theory, although realistic, down to earth examples that the average reader can relate to are probably lacking. My main critique is that the last chapter takes a strange turn from the style of the previous ones (solid theory and good examples) to an agenda-ridden rant.
May 14, 2014 Gretchen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is an eye opening way of viewing our life within families and others groups of people with whom we spend our time. It brings me relief and hope for my own relationships. I read it over and over as I work to grow as a person as a disciple and as a member of my families. Everyone needs this book!
Apr 08, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommendations, mft
Good, brief overview that can be easily referenced in maintaining familiarity with Bowen family theory. "If I know theory I can use it, if I don't, I can't" (p. 113). This book is somewhat dated though - wish more updated work (and even research) was available!
Mar 20, 2008 Caroline rated it really liked it
A quick read that offers some interesting insight into the family patterns. The coolest part is personality types based upon sibling order. Highly recommend it to everyone who is interested in learning something about themselves and family communication patterns.
Jan 08, 2014 Melanie rated it liked it
Good quick overview
Daniel Seifert
a concise, descriptive text on the eight concepts of Bowen theory in a logical progression that builds on the family as the emotional unit in a manner that helps develop connections.
Jan 26, 2015 Jonathan rated it really liked it
Nice introductory book about Bowen's theory.
Nov 04, 2010 Brad rated it really liked it
If you ever wanted to understand family dynamics
Jun 26, 2012 Danielle marked it as to-read
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