Triangles: Bowen Family Systems Theory Perspectives

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Move through emotional triangles toward a natural systems view of the individual in the context of the family and society

Triangles: Bowen Family Systems Theory Perspectives presents clear applications of Murray Bowen’s concept of the emotional triangle in the family, the organization, and society. This comprehensive book discusses in detail the theory, the theory’s application to the therapist’s own family, clinical applications, organizational applications, and societal applications. This unique resource examines the value of the triangle concept for understanding the emotional process of the family, the organization, and society.

Triangles: Bowen Family Systems Theory Perspectives provides a theoretical context for understanding the triangle concept and its application, then progresses to exploring and applying the concept of the triangle and interlocking triangles to self, family, and other contexts. This book is devoted to explicating Bowen’s seminal concept of the triangle, and providing a clear description of the process of detriangling in clinical practice. The text includes several case studies and vignettes to illustrate concepts. Topics in Triangles: Bowen Family Systems Theory Perspectives include:

  • a historical and conceptual overview
  • the triangle’s function in the effort to increase differentiation of self
  • the presence of triangles in non-human primates
  • Bowen’s differentiation of self effort in his own family and business
  • the functioning of triangles at the time of chronic illness and death
  • emotional triangles involving pets and humans
  • the application of the concept of triangles and interlocking triangles to clinical issues in marriage
  • the presence of triangles in the child-focused family
  • triangles in stepfamilies
  • the triangle’s presence and function in families with substance abusing teens
  • triangles involving extramarital relationships
  • triangles in organizations and businesses
  • the triangle’s function in the context in societal emotional process
  • and much more!

Triangles: Bowen Family Systems Theory Perspectives is a stimulating, enlightening resource for family therapists, social workers, psychologists, pastoral counselors, and counselors.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book presents the theory and clinical application of Murray Bowen's concept of emotional triangles. This systems theory is applied in Bowen's own family of origin, clinical practice, organizations, and society.
Purpose: This is a compilation of essays by a variety of contributors on the theoretical explication of Murray Bowen's concept of the emotional triangle and its applications.
Audience: Family therapists and trainees appear to be the targeted audience. The editor has been the editor of three books on Bowen family theory and his research interests include triangles, emotional cutoff, and obesity. All but one of the contributors have had direct contact with Murray Bowen.
Features: This is a comprehensive look at the concept of triangles that will be useful for individuals with a solid background in family systems theory and who understand genograms. There are numerous figures, such as family diagrams, which add clarity to the content. Part II is fascinating because not only is Murray Bowen's family analyzed in terms of triangles but so are the families of the contributors to that section as well. The book is full of wonderful case material, including that of Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin, the leadership triangle involved in the Bolshevik revolution. Even the 9-11 terrorists are analyzed in terms of emotional triangles.
Assessment: This book is excellent for students of family systems theory, especially for those who are passionate about Murray Bowen's theory. It is not easy reading but well worth the effort. It is practical and the authors show how to identify and analyze emotional triangles in different contexts, no easy task.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789027757
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 9/28/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 576
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

About the Editor. Contributors. Foreword. Preface. Acknowledgments. Part I: Triangles in Bowen Theory and Natural Systems. Part II: Triangles and Detriangling in the Therapist's Own Family. Part III: Triangles in Clinical Practice. Part IV: Triangles in Organizations. Part V: Triangles and Emotional Process in Society.

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