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A Case Study in Observational Blindness
 
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Code: DJ 7.2 (3) Comella
Price: $9.50
 
 
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Patricia A. Comella, JD

This paper presents a multi-year effort to describe the phenomenon of observational blindness using a frame of reference based on Bowen family systems theory. The paper first lays out the theoretical basis for correlating observational blindness and "undifferentiation" (the fusion of intellectual and emotional functioning) described in Bowen theory. The paper also describes the research methodology Murray Bowen employed in developing Bowen family systems theory in which a well-articulated frame of reference is central to making and interpreting the naturalistic observations of human behavior and functioning on which the concepts of Bowen theory are based. The paper then presents a detailed case study that describes a multi-year process to apply the research methodology to study the phenomenon of observational blindness in me. The case study applies my understanding of Bowen theory as articulated in a series of evolving frames of reference to unraveling the significance of information my father revealed to me in the early 1980s. The case study examines the interplay between the evolution of the frames of reference and the augmentation of the data, which ultimately covered three generations of family history, to understand the phenomenon of observational blindness as it affected my capacity for accurate observation of human behavior and functioning.


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