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47th Symposium on Family Theory and Family Psychotherapy
November 5-6th, 2010

Recordings of the Symposium are available as a complete DVD set and as an audio MP3 set.

Distinguished Guest Lecturer: Peter Stearns, PhD
Provost and professor of history at George Mason University and founder and editor of the Journal of Social History.

In 2003, Dr. Stearns published Anxious Parents: A History of Modern Childrearing in America (NYU Press) which traces significant changes in adult-child relationships, particularly in the last several decades. Beginning in the 1920s, many American parents, and those who advised them, began to believe that children were physically and emotionally vulnerable which led not only to how matters were handled within the family but how parents responded in relationship to larger social institutions. Anxious Parents places Bowen theory’s concept of societal emotional process in an invaluable historical context and provides a basis for thinking about appropriate reactions to pervasive worries in contemporary society.

MEETING SECTIONS

SECTION ONE: THEORY

Welcome and Introduction —  Michael E. Kerr, MD

NIMH Research and the Origin of Family Psychotherapy — John F. Butler, PhD
Conceptualizing the family as an emotional unit and attempting to keep tensions within the research families were key factors in the development of family psychotherapy.

Bowen Theory: A Comprehensive Natural Systems Theory —  LeAnn Howard, MSW
Studies of harvester ants may provide evidence for the fundamental life forces of individuality and togetherness in the functioning and evolution of insect colonies.

Panel Discussion

SECTION TWO: CLINICAL RESEARCH

Understanding Male Homosexuality —  Kent E. Webb, MSW
Investigation of 100 psychotherapy cases and an extensive literature review suggest that a natural systems perspective could provide a new understanding of male homosexuality.

Bereavement Research as It Relates to Bowen Theory —  Deloras Pemberton, PhD
Anxiety is the primary variable explaining the challenges bereaved individuals face. Supportive relationships are more useful for adapting to loss than an emphasis on emotional expression.

Panel Discussion


SECTION THREE: DISTINGUISHED GUEST LECTURER - PART I

Has Parenting Become Too Difficult? — Peter N. Stearns, PhD
Recent decades have shown a shift in the ways childhood and parenting have been experienced and perceived. Parents have lost confidence in the capability of their children and in their own parenting skills. The modern social context in the US and its impact on parenting will be highlighted.


The Fear Factor —  Peter N. Stearns, PhD
The 20th century pattern of parental anxiety is driven by the concept that children are fragile and parents are obliged to manage their children's lives and assure their happiness. A historical survey of popular media, "expert" childrearing manuals, and newspapers and journals shows how schooling, physical and emotional vulnerability, and the rise of commercialism has fueled the fear factor.

Panel Discussion


SECTION FOUR: ANXIETY AND REACTIVITY

Using the Cognitive to Control the "Twitch"  —  Daniel V. Papero, PhD, MSW
Bowen theory’s idea that the intellectual system can exert some control over emotional reactivity is being increasingly explicated by neuroscience.

Parenting Processes and Children’s Cardiac Physiology —  Elizabeth A. Skowron, PhD
Findings from a study suggests a relationship between maternal differentiation of self and children’s cardiac physiology, and their ability to self-regulate.

Chronic Anxiety, Stress Reactivity, and Epigenetics — Robert J. Noone, PhD
Parent-offspring interactions can influence the offspring’s gene expression in ways that affect his stress response systems. This epigenetic effect can persist into adulthood.

Panel Discussion


SECTION FIVE: DIFFERENTIATION

Observing and Evaluating the Family Projection Process — Lona Hardy, MSW
Report of a three generational study of two clinical families assesses the relationship between the intensity of a family’s emotional focus on a child and the child’s functioning.

Varieties of Functional Differentiation —  James E. Jones, PhD
Besides relationship factors, many non-relationship factors such as beliefs and all other anxiety-binding behaviors can influence functional level of differentiation.

Panel Discussion


SECTION SIX: ARE INDIVIDUALITY AND DIFFERENTIATION SYNONYMOUS?

Michael E. Kerr, MD
Human relationship systems function as if they are governed by two counterbalancing and opposing life forces: differentiation (individuality) and togetherness.

Randall T. Frost, MDiv
The relationship of differentiation to the life forces of individuality and togetherness points to how both forces can be more or less integrated with higher brain centers.

Panel Discussion


SECTION SEVEN: SYMPTOM DEVELOPMENT

Metastatic Breast Cancer and the Family — Joan Jurkowski, MS
Emotional isolation, anxiety, and the need for closer relationships were present in the family member diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. The cancer was a wake-up call.

Anatomy of a Symptom —  Kathleen B. Kerr, MSN, MA
The occurrence of thyroid cancer is examined by reviewing important family, work, and social systems for how elevated chronic anxiety contributed to the symptom intensifying.

Panel Discussion



Code Name Image Price Availability  
DVD-AS-47-Set 47th Annual Symposium DVD Set   $300.00  
AS-47-10-MP3 47th Annual Symposium MP3   $125.00  

For more information, please contact The Bowen Center at 202-965-4400 or info@thebowencenter.org