Roberta M. Gilbert, MD
In our society, it is customary to remove children with severe emotional or social problems from the home of parents who are abusive or neglectful. Medication, psychotherapy for parents and child, and residential treatment are the usual forms of intervention. Contact between parent(s) and child is restricted. Rarely is the functioning of the family emotional system addressed. Rarely are the problems in the child seen as a function of the relationships in the family. The author consulted to a residential facility for disturbed adolescent girls and reports here on dramatic improvements in the girls after she implemented ideas from Bowen theory that encourage contact with family to reduce emotional cutoff and improve functioning.