Family psychiatrist and researcher Murray Bowen’s effort to contribute to a science of human behavior, led to the famous Family Study Project at NIMH and the later development of a formal theory of the family and its clinical application. Later known as Bowen theory, it represented a radical departure from the individualistic paradigm predominant in psychiatry. Following Bowen’s mode, this book examines the interplay between the individual and the family in shaping the differential capacity to effectively adapt to life’s many challenges.
Robert J. Noone is faculty at the Center for Family Consultation and the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family.
Chapter 1: Family and Adaptive Capacity
Chapter 2: Toward Emotional Objectivity
Chapter 3: The Brain and Self-Regulation
Chapter 4: The Family as an Adaptive System
Chapter 5: An Evolutionary Perspective on the Family and the Brain
Chapter 6: The Impact of Stress on the Family and Adaptive Capacity
Chapter 7: Family and the Multigenerational Process
Chapter 8: Emotional Cutoff and the Establishment of a Self in Each Generation
Chapter 9: A Systems Theory of the Family
Chapter 10: Family as a Pathway toward Enhanced Adaptive Capacity
This book is for the helping professionals and family members who have ever questioned the efficacy of using an individualistic paradigm to solve life’s problems. Robert J. Noone tackles important myths about Bowen Theory and situates the human family as a self-regulating system. He pulls the reader out of cause-and-effect thinking and into a Bowen Family Systems Theory (BFST) world that is grounded in natural systems, evolutionary theory, and includes the biological basis of development. This book is a light at the end of the tunnel for new and seasoned helping professionals.
Through decades-long clinical work and engagement with science, Noone has developed an understanding of the human family that is second to none. In this volume he combines clinical experience, knowledge of science, and his own journey in a way that both engages and informs the reader. He presents clear theoretical points, describes the relevant science, and illustrates with anecdotes from his clinical and research experience. Family and Self is an important and very much anticipated contribution to the growing literature on applying, validating, and extending Murray Bowen’s observations and theoretical work. It will be a valuable contribution to anyone interested in the human family, in the science of the human, and in family psychotherapy!
I see Family and Self as an important milestone in Noone’s long effort to follow this principle in the service of building a science of human behavior. He has integrated thinking from diverse sources while maintaining the distinctions and has provided extensive references to research from many areas of science. The book will serve as a catalyst and inspiration for further research. For this reviewer, the book leaves no doubt that a solid theory of the family will be the keystone in building the broad conceptual framework needed to understand human behavior.