BOWEN FAMILY SYSTEMS THEORY
Therapists who operate under this theory believe the family unit is interconnected, that family members are interdependent, and one person's functioning is dependent upon another's, inclusive of thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Some of the techniques used in Bowenian therapy include:
1. Genogram: this involves drawing a complete genogram (sometimes called the family map), which looks like a family tree, but is comprised of additional information, such as emotional dynamics (marriages, divorces, significant events, over-involved relationships, distance, conflict, and cutoffs). It is a snapshot representation of the family for the client, enabling hypotheses and insights, and the purpose and principles of the model are not withheld from the client.
2. Detriangling: the triangle is the smallest, stable relationship system, but paradoxically is the most difficult for an individual to tolerate because there is always one person who is "on the outside". Bowen talked about "putting the other with the other", meaning linking individuals directly with one another rather than having the third present to absorb the tension. It is imperative the therapist do the same, specifically not taking sides.
3. I-Positions: the therapist continuously uses "I" messages to differentiate himself/or herself from the individual, couple, or family. The purpose is to demonstrate the responsible vs. irresponsible use of "I", the first of which differentiates by defining one's own beliefs and values, and the second of which makes demands (i.e. "I deserve" or "My right").