Board Members

Michael E. Kerr, M.D.


Michael E. Kerr, M.D. is a family psychiatrist. He trained under and worked with Murray Bowen for more than twenty years, and then succeeded Dr. Bowen as Director of the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family (originally the Georgetown University Family Center) upon his death in 1990. He has been Emeritus Director of the Bowen Center since January 2011 and is now living in Maine. He continues a clinical practice, presents at conferences around the country, and writes about Bowen theory and its applications.

He is co-author with Murray Bowen of, Family Evaluation, which was published in 1988 (excerpted in The Atlantic Monthly in September 1988), and is writing a second book, Bowen Theory’s Secrets. His research interests include cancer and family emotional process, the development of a unidisease concept, the relationship between human emotional process and emotional process in other species, and the process of differentiation of self.

Carolyn Jacobs, Psy.D.


Carolyn Jacobs, Psy.D. is a licensed Psychologist and licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Dr. Jacobs has a private clinical psychology practice and specializes in working with individuals, couples, families, and organizations through the lens of Bowen family systems theory. Dr. Jacobs participated in the Special Post-Graduate Training Program at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family (Georgetown Family Center) from 1995 to 2000.

She was the co-founder of the Network Program for the Advancement of Bowen Theory at the Bowen Center in Washington, D.C. Dr. Jacobs is Director of Southern California Education and Training in Bowen Family Systems Theory; established in 1999 to provide education, training and clinical research opportunities to individuals interested in the principles and concepts developed by Murray Bowen, M.D.

Lona Hardy, MSEd, MSW


Lona Hardy, MSEd, MSW has been a family psychotherapist for over 20 years. In 1987, she began as a practitioner and faculty member at the Family Institute of Maine. She attended the Special Post-graduate Program in Bowen family systems theory at the Georgetown Family Center in Washington DC. in the 1990s. Since then, Bowen theory has guided her work with families.

She now practices in Napa, California and continues to research and present her thinking about family systems. She presented family research at the Bowen Center Annual Symposium in 2005 and 2010.

Margaret Otto, LSCW


Margaret Otto, LSCSW is the Director and Co-Founder of the KC Center of Family Systems since its inception in 1996. She has been learning and applying Bowen family systems theory for over twenty years, which includes studying under Murray Bowen, MD and Michael Kerr, MD through the programs offered at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family. She earned a Masters in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis and then obtained clinical licensure in Kansas and Missouri.

She began her study of Bowen family systems theory at the Menninger office in Kansas City. She has a full time private clinical practice as a family therapist in addition to carrying local and national responsibility for leadership of the KC Center in representing Bowen family systems theory. This has included presenting at the regional and national levels. 

Kathleen B. Kerr, MSN, MA, CNS


Kathleen B. Kerr, MSN, MA, CNS is a nurse clinical-specialist, and has had a private practice since 1975. She was on the faculty of the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family from 1978 to 2012. She is a founding Board member of the Bowen Theory Academy where she coordinates the Family History Database Project, which collects multiple multi-generational family histories to study basic concepts in Bowen theory.

Her research interests have included: aging and the family, applying Bowen theory to organizations, the different kinds of systems thinking, mother-offspring relationships, healthcare and applying Bowen theory in the emergency room. She has been given access to the data from the longitudinal research on chimpanzees begun by Jane Goodall, Ph.D. to research the effect of mother-offspring relationships on adult behavior.

Joan Jurkowski, M.S., LCPC


Joan Jurkowski, M.S., LCPC, is a licensed clinical professional counselor in Maryland and Washington, DC and a certified substance abuse counselor in Maryland. She was on the faculty for Bowen Center for the Study of the Family from 2009-2020. While on the faculty, she supervised trainees in the Postgraduate Program and the Online Introduction to Bowen Theory Program. She established a private clinical practice in 2011 after more than 20 years working for non-profit behavioral health agencies in Maryland.

Currently, she works with individuals, couples and families, and is guided in her work by Bowen theory. She has presented papers locally and nationally on efforts to define a self in one’s family, bridging emotional cutoff, substance abuse, triangles, and therapy from the perspective of family systems theory.