Articles and Presentation

Essays from the Editor

by Michael Kerr, M.D. Dr. Kerr

The Bowen Theory Academy is pleased to announce the first printing of Essays from the Editor: Volumes 1.1 – 10.1 by Michael Kerr, M.D. Dr. Kerr, current director of the Bowen Theory Academy, succeeded Dr. Murray Bowen as director of the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family and served for more than two decades as the founding editor of the Center’s journal.

From 1994 through 2013, Dr. Kerr introduced each issue of Family Systems with a short essay that provides background, commentary, and new insights on Bowen theory. Dr. Kerr’s collected essays are now available in one volume, offering an opportunity to better understand the many applications of Bowen theory and some common themes connecting diverse topics.

Bowen Theory Academy and the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family shared the cost of the first printing of Essays from the Editor. Proceeds from sales will be used to support the ongoing costs of publishing Family Systems: A Journal of Natural Systems Thinking in Psychiatry and the Sciences.

For information on purchasing Essays from the Editor, contact the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family, click here

Interview With Michael Kerr

Has Bowen Family Systems Theory and Therapy Evolved and How?

The same eight concepts comprise Bowen theory today that comprised it at the time of Bowen’s death in 1990. However, I am in the process of proposing a new concept: the unidisease concept. It is an extension of an idea already in the theory, namely, that psychiatric, medical, and behavioral symptoms all reflect the same underlying family emotional processes. My family research along with the work of others convinces me that not only is this idea in the theory accurate, but medical research is also showing that many of the same physiological processes underlie all clinical problems; for example, chronic inflammation plays a key role in most diseases. This existence of common family relationship as well as common physiological processes makes it important to elevate the idea into a distinct concept. Most importantly, the intensity of the emotional process appears to better predict clinical outcome than the particular diagnosis itself. 

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Beyond the Medical Model

Unpublished Op-ed Submission

A debate currently unfolding within psychiatry is extremely relevant to how society thinks about human behavior and the nature of disease. This debate has been generated by an upcoming revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a publication of the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM describes the diagnostic criteria for a wide range of mental illnesses. Critics of the DSM argue that the causes of mental illness remain poorly understood and that insufficient scientific support exists for the hundreds of different diagnoses in the manual. But a more fundamental problem with the DSM is that it is based on the medical model. Studies of family relationships and studies of the impact of social stress on health are exposing the limits of the medical model.

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Newtown Killer Explained by Bowen Theory

Unpublished Op-ed Submission

We all remember the day in which a twenty-year-old man methodically shot and killed his mother, twenty elementary school students and six adults, wounded two other adults, and then killed himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School. With heavy hearts we stared at the television and asked the daunting one word question, “Why?”

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PowerPoint with Michael Kerr

The Differentiation-Togetherness Concept of Counterbalancing Life Forces

This is a PowerPoint presentation for a talk given by Michael Kerr on April 17, 2015 in Washington, D.C. The conference was sponsored by the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family and was on the subject of differentiation of self. If you have questions about any of the slides, e-mail me and I will attempt to respond. I say attempt in case there are more questions than I have time to answer.

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