Making Sense of Human Life: Murray Bowen’s Determined Effort Toward Family Systems Theory

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Author: Catherine M. Rakow

Publisher: Routledge

Published: 29/07/22

ISBN: 9780367461546

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Drawing from rich archival material, this book provides unprecedented access to the professional documents and historical context surrounding the life’s work of Dr. Murray Bowen (1913-1990), medical doctor, psychiatrist, and pioneering researcher of Family Systems Theory.

To understand the origins and evolution of this theory, Catherine Rakow explores Bowen’s early years as a psychiatrist at the Menninger Foundation – at which time he became curious about the possibility of determining a factual basis for psychoanalytic theory – and explains how this research would foreground Bowen’s lifelong study of the family unit at the National Institute of Mental Health. From those seminal years of study and observation, Rakow explains how Bowen developed Family Systems Theory: a theory of human functioning that conceives of family as a naturally occurring, regenerating system. Rakow’s close engagement with Bowen’s practice and influences at this time allows for a fulsome account of the research process that Bowen undertook to develop this innovatory approach.

In this book, Rakow demonstrates the value of Bowen’s work as a model and research methodology for those exploring the role of theory in improving family relationships, making it essential reading for marriage and family therapists, mental health professionals, students, those interested in the history of medicine, and curious individuals ali