With Daniel V Papero, PhD, LCSW of the Bowen Center in Washington, DC
And Michael Sullivan, LMSW, The Family Institute of Northern Michigan, Traverse City, Michigan
Saturday, May 13, 2017
8:45am to 5:00pm
Courtyard by Marriott-Santa Rosa, California
175 Railroad Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Daniel Papero PhD, LCSW
the Bowen Center in Washington, DC
Returning to the Concept of Societal Regression
Bowen essentially laid out a framework for his concept of societal regression (later renamed emotional process in society) but left the details for others to fill in. He hypothesized that intensifying anxiety in broader societies led to an increased togetherness pressure. In the face of that pressure, leaders became uncertain, structures of principles were abandoned, and a focus on individual rights prevailed over a focus on individual responsibility. Further examination of the concept has led me to conclude that the above noted markers of societal regression are symptoms of a more fundamental regression, the erosion of the basic processes by which families and social groups respond and adapt to change effectively and efficiently. In response to repeated challenges over time, greater inefficiency and ineffectiveness creep in the response processes. The processes themselves become strained, and work-around mechanisms appear that provide a way to temporarily address the challenge. These temporary mechanisms incur a growing cost, as the effort to maintain them becomes more difficult and the underlying challenge becomes more pronounced. This theory day will serve as a forum to develop more fully these ideas and their implications for society.
Dr. Papero is Senior Faculty at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family, having been a director of the center and of it’s training program in the past. He is author of Bowen Family Systems Theory, one of the major texts explicating Bowen theory. He has contributed his expertise to our program in Sonoma County for many years and has mentored many clinicians and programs in the national and international network around Bowen theory. He has been a business and organizational consultant to schools, professional organizations and the military.
Michael Sullivan, LMSW
The Family Institute of Northern Michigan, Traverse City, Michigan
When in regression, families lose the ability to effectively respond to the demands of the social environment and are unable to maintain internal stability. Short-term relief comes at the high cost of compromised future functioning. Emotional regression erodes the family’s adaptive capacity. The nuclear family projection process – an anxious focus on a real or imagined problem in a child – is one pattern of regression. This stabilizes the family, but, unintentionally, at the expense of the child’s functioning. Chronically anxious families engage a wide variety of advisors and specialists; family courts, behavioral specialist, educational consultants, therapeutic schools, wilderness training programs with the goal of “fixing the symptom.” Despite these efforts the regression frequently continues unabated. Mr. Sullivan will examine regression as a multigenerational family emotional process across the socioeconomic spectrum, emphasizing the impacts of emotional cutoff and chronic anxiety in the family, as well as the impact of regression in the social networks in which families are embedded.
Michael J Sullivan LMSW, founded the Family Institute of Northern Michigan and has been active in the network around Bowen theory for 40 years. He has presented in the USA and Sweden on the application of Bowen theory in clinical practice, and has consulted with families in a variety of settings including, family court and drug court, and international boarding schools for the artistically gifted and teenagers with learning differences. An accomplished musician, performer and recording artist, he is Impresario Emeritus of the Traverse City Film Festival.
8:45 Welcome – Laura Havstad, PhD, Programs in Bowen Theory
9:00 – 10:15 Daniel V Papero – Reviewing Bowen’s Concept of Emotional Process in Society
10:15 – 10:30 Break
10:30 – 11:45 Michael Sullivan, LMSW – Regression in the Family – Sliding Down the Avalanche
11:45- 12:30 Panel discussion with Mr. Sullivan and Dr. Papero and discussion with the audience
12:30 – 2:00 Lunch
2:00 – 3:00 Mr. Sullivan – Societal Regression – Holes in the Lifeboat
3:00- 4:00 Dr. Papero – Erosion of Competency
4:00- 5:00 Panel with Mr. Sullivan and Dr. Papero and discussion with the audience
Video recording of this conference coming soon.