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    Postgraduate Program in Bowen Family Systems Theory and its Applications

    Application Form

    “When any key member of an emotional system can control his own emotional reactiveness and accurately observe the functioning of the system and his part in it, and he can avoid counterattacking when he is provoked, and when he can maintain an active relationship with the other key members without withdrawing or becoming silent, the entire system will change in predictable ways”— Murray Bowen

    Purpose of the Postgraduate Program in Bowen Family Systems Theory

    The Postgraduate Program is designed for individuals who want to establish a foundation in Bowen theory and learn to apply it in their personal lives and in their professions.

    Individuals use the Postgraduate Program to further goals and projects and to address challenges in their family and their professional work. Alumni make significant contributions, present their work at the Annual Symposium, and participate in research seminars to work on projects.

    Program Dates for 2014-2015 academic year

    September 8-10, 2014
    December 8-10, 2014
    March 2-4, 2015
    June 1-3, 2015

    Program Dates for 2015-2016 academic year

    September 14-16, 2015
    December 7-9, 2015
    March 7-9, 2016
    June 6-9, 2016

    See below for application and tuition information.

    History of the Program

    Murray Bowen, MD, established a theory of human behavior based upon the study of family systems and knowledge from the natural sciences. Bowen family systems theory provides a conceptual framework for understanding the family, organizations, and human society as emotional systems consistent with facts from biology, evolution, and neuroscience. Knowledge and practice of theory are a foundation for understanding one’s own family, and for research and applications that address problems in human society.

    Dr. Bowen established a postgraduate training program in 1969 at Georgetown University Medical Center. The special postgraduate program for individuals living outside the Washington, DC area began in 1976. The Bowen Center for the Study of the Family continues to hold this program with teaching and supervising faculty who studied and worked with Murray Bowen. The faculty bring research and applications of theory in such diverse areas as psychiatry, medicine, nursing, family therapy, biofeedback, neurofeedback, primate studies, business, international relations, work with clergy, education, community services, and public policy.


    The program meets four times a year for three day sessions. It begins in September and ends in June of each year.

    Each session includes:

    • Presentations and discussion with Dr. Anne McKnight, Director of the Center
    • Presentations and discussion with faculty
    • An afternoon of consultation with faculty on clinical practice, work systems, or other applications
    • Presentations by each participant to the entire group
    • Videotaped lectures by Murray Bowen
    • Videotaped presentations by scientists relevant to family systems
    • Recommended reading
    • Monthly contact with faculty for ongoing consultation.

    The curriculum is designed to cover basic concepts in Bowen theory, knowledge from the sciences, and advances in research with examples from applications in family, organizations, and society. Each year is different. Learning occurs through application and practice as well as through knowledge of theory. The study of one’s own family is a training ground for learning and using Bowen family systems theory in one’s field of work.

    Learning is an individual process that occurs through application and practice as well as through knowledge of theory. The study of one's own family is a vital training ground for learning and using Bowen family systems theory in one's field of work. It takes time to integrate the intellectually and emotionally stimulating experiences.

    Each three-day session includes didactic presentations, discussion and small group consultation. Participants have the opportunity to present their own topics of interest to the larger group. Consultation consists of presentations on one’s own family and work system, as well as clinical and professional applications of theory, and theoretical questions. Consultation is conducted between sessions by telephone, e-mail, mail, audiotape, or videotape. In addition, videotapes from an extensive collection are shown before and after each training session.


    Monday: 8:30AM – 6:00PM (with breaks & lunch), 6 – 7PM Videotape
    Tuesday: 7:30 Videotape, 8:30AM – 6:00PM (with breaks & lunch), 6 – 7PM Videotape
    Wednesday: 7:30AM Videotape, 8:30AM – 4PM (with breaks and lunch)

    Each year is different. Learning Bowen theory is an individual process that takes time to integrate intellectually and emotionally. This program provides an opportunity to focus on learning a theory about emotional systems and oneself.


    The application process includes a completed application form, an application fee of $60, and an interview with the program director, Mr. Douglas Murphy. Early acceptance is available for those who want to make their plans early.

    Admission criteria include a combination of educational background and practice in one’s profession, motivation to learn and apply Bowen theory in one’s family and field of work, and specific goals to accomplish in the program.

    For further information, contact: Mr. Douglas Murphy at 410-296-6108 or

    Mail applications to:

    Douglas C. Murphy, MA, LCMFT
    Director of Postgraduate Program
    The Bowen Center for the Study of the Family
    4400 MacArthur Boulevard, NW Suite 103
    Washington, DC 20007


    Applications can be faxed to 202-965-1765.


    The tuition for 2014-2015 is $3,650.00. A deposit of $350.00 is due upon acceptance. The balance is due by July 1st.


    Meetings are held at the Bowen Center, six blocks from the Georgetown University Medical Center campus. For a list of convenient hotels, motels, and “bed and breakfasts” see Accommodations.

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