Tuesday 1 January 2013

Existential Pioneers. 12. ‘Anonymous’. Inner Circle Seminar 186 (13 January 2013)


Existential Pioneers
12. ‘Anonymous’

Murray Bowen

A 100th-Birthday Revaluation of
‘Toward the Differentiation of a Self in One’s Own Family’

Anthony Stadlen
Inner Circle Seminar No. 186
Sunday 27 January 2013
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Anonymous’ was Murray Bowen, 31 January 1913 – 9 October 1990, whose centenary falls on the Thursday after this seminar. He was one of the seminal figures in 20th-century family research and so-called ‘family therapy’. His approach was existential in all but name. He startled his colleagues at a 1967 conference on family interaction by departing from his prepared text, blandly titled ‘A Method of Categorizing Some Meaningful Clinical Variables’, to give a lengthy autobiographical account of his return to his small home town, in a quest to ‘differentiate’ his ‘self’ in relation to his extended family over several generations. The psychoanalyst and family therapist Fred Sander, who has conducted one of the Inner Circle Seminars and was present at Bowen’s 1967 presentation, says that when Bowen suddenly announced that he would now start talking about his own family the atmosphere was electrical. Bowen later said his account was, simultaneously, his attempt to differentiate himself from other family therapists. His courageous quest led many other family therapists to initiate exploratory discussions with their own extended families in order better to understand families who consulted them.

In the conference proceedings Bowen’s account was entitled ‘Toward the Differentiation of a Self in One’s Own Family’ (1972), but on legal advice its author was credited as ‘Anonymous’. Today, we explore this remarkable document; its unrecognised parallels with the philosophy of KierkegaardScheler and Heidegger; and its implications for psychotherapy.

Venue: ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra Avenue, London N22 7XE
Cost: Students £116, others £145, some bursaries; coffee, tea, biscuits, mineral water included; payable in advance; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra Avenue, London N22 7XE
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8888 6857 E-mail: stadlen@aol.com
For further information on seminars, visit: http://anthonystadlen.blogspot.com/

The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools and colleges.

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