Psychological Symbiosis, Fusion and the Family Unit, with Dan Papero, PhD, LCSW

Saturday, May 10, 2014
9AM to 4:45PM
Courtyard by Marriott Santa Rosa

dvpMurray Bowen began his research at NIMH in the 1950s. The original hypothesis was that the foundation of severe emotional illness is in the intensity of the attachment between mother and child that impedes the child’s development toward maturity. It was replaced in the first year when it was observed that relationship processes between mother and patient were inseparably linked to other relationships in the family, and that the family created a “oneness”, a system, or an organism. The family system is there to be seen now, as it was then.

In the research, psychological dimensions of family oneness were conceptualized as “psychological symbiosis” and “undifferentiated family ego mass.” The term “fusion” came into play later as Bowen developed his theory to describe the intense attachments among parents, children and other family members. Differentiation of self describes differences in the degree of fusion between family members and family units, and family psychotherapy, the term used by Bowen, emerged to break up the family oneness and free the patient and all family members via the process of differentiation.

In this meeting, Dr. Papero will review the original research observations of the family as an emotional unit which led to development of family systems theory and family psychotherapy concluding with a clinical video illustrating the phenomenon of the family oneness, or fusion, and the clinical approach to it.

Dr. Daniel Papero is author of Bowen Family Systems Theory and lectures internationally in family systems theory & psychotherapy, and organizational emotional systems. He is  faculty and a director of the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family in Washington, DC.

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