Recent developments in research lend credence to Bowen theory’s linking of chronic anxiety and the development of symptoms. This thinking leads to ways to address chronic anxiety by understanding its generation in relationships and changing the behaviors it stimulates rather than just managing anxiety internally
- After many decades of research, the pathways linking mind and body have been demonstrated to the point of overturning Descartes’ notion of mind-body dualism.
- Conceptualizing mind and body as an interacting whole lends credibility to Bowen theory and its two main variables of degree of anxiety and degree of integration of self.
- In theory, anxiety disturbs an individual organism’s homeostasis which triggers the stress response, in an effort to restore optimal balance.
- An anxiety-driven chronic stress response increases the activity of a person’s physiological systems and activates a person’s particular vulnerabilities to clinical problems.
- If a stress response is prolonged, it can result in organ and tissue damage that is associated with disease.
- As the role of disturbances in human relationships gains acceptance as a major contributor to chronic anxiety, Bowen theory’s unique perspective on the specific details of how emotionally significant relationships generate chronic anxiety comes to the fore.
- The theory explains how one family member can disproportionately absorb chronic anxiety generated in a family emotional system.
- This response can restore family equilibrium but at the expense of impairing the emotional functioning of one member.
- It can also drive a family system into an ever-deepening emotional regression with serious symptom consequences.