The following photographs of Dr. Bowen were take by myself from 1987 until he died in 1990. I began the post graduate program in 1976 and took informal photos when Dr. Bowen published his book, Family Therapy in Clinical Practice in 1978. Then Pat Meyer, a faculty member at The Georgetown University Family Center, asked me if I would like to take photos in exchange for free admission to the Family Center’s monthly meetings. In 1980 Dr. Bowen asked me if I wold like to have the job of Audios Visual Coordinator. The job would consist of organizing conferences, and then audio and video taping various meetings .
At the time I realized that the way Dr. Bowen understood the human family had evolved as an emotional system that was regulating or influencing the behavior of the individuals in the system. Clearly most people were still fixed on seeing the individual as the problem and were unable to see the system. I was curious to see how he was trying to communicate his new theory of human behavior and how people would respond.
I believe Dr. Bowen’s and his theory will pass the test of time and prove useful to those who are dealing with symptoms, and those who are seeking ideas to enable people to be more mature, thoughtful people and less influenced by reacting to others.
If you would like to know more please contact Andrea Schara
Please note that there is now a new web site up for The Murray Bowen Archives
I will archive more photos here as time permits.
Murray Bowen devoted his life to the science of human behavior. During his life time there is only one book that he wrote, Family Therapy in Clinical Practice. He wrote chapters for others and the Epilogue in, An Odyssey Towards Science in the book, Family Evaluation.
Bowen’s Family Systems Theory has become an important part of mainstream psychotherapy and influenced thinking in many other fields. No wonder. It has connected human behavior with systems thinking and with evolution and the natural sciences. Understanding these ideas has enabled many people to become more objective and aware, allowing individuals to alter their life course. Bowen’s ideas have spread, making a life-giving difference for thousands and thousands of people.
In a world where emotional contagion and reactivity are accelerating via the social media, where our dwindling natural resources and the compression of millions of humans into massive cities, are accelerating the pressure on families, we need more thoughtful ideas about the nature of the problems we face in our increasingly complex world. We continue to see the increasing fears and spikes of panic occurring throughout the world, but Bowen theory still offers a different way to think and act as we deal with these kinds of profound problems. Although Bowen’s theory provides a much-needed counterweight to these emotional contagions, many of Dr. Bowen’s papers are not easily available.
The world doesn’t have many arrows in its quiver to reverse the increasing polarizations and regression. The dissemination of Bowen’s ideas, including the process of how the theory was derived, is thus a form of global stewardship to future generations.
Now, The National Library of Medicine has requested that Dr. Bowen’s papers and videos – his treasure trove of research—be made available and accessible to researchers. They need money to make this possible. As you know I was responsible for accumulating these years of video and audiotapes, so I want to help raise the funds to make Bowen’s work available.
Funds have to be raised to properly organize the Murray Bowen treasure trove, as with budget cuts and scarce resources the National Library of Medicine simply can’t take on this project as much as they’d like to. The cost of assigning a professional archivist and making this priceless collection readily available is estimated at $300,000.
Those who are involved, are a group of Bowen students, practitioners and just plain admirers of Bowen’s work who have volunteered to raise the money for the National Library of Medicine to not only preserve this work, but to make it readily available. As you know raising money is more than just the “few”. The solution is up to you and me and others we know. And that’s why I’m writing to those closest to me who will best understand the importance of what needs doing.
I have prepared a memo below detailing what we want to accomplish. I trust you will read it carefully. And then, I hope you will help.
Dr. Bowen did so much in giving his life in service of helping others. So please be as generous as you can. Whatever you can give will not only be appreciated it will in turn preserve Dr. Bowen’s body of work and make it accessible to others.