Family Systems: A Journal of Natural Systems Thinking in Psychiatry and the Sciences, is an interdisciplinary journal, published since 1994, by the Georgetown Family Center. The aim of the journal is to advance the understanding of human emotional functioning and behavior based on Bowen theory. Reflecting the assumption of Bowen theory that the human family is governed by the same natural forces that govern all life, the journal publishes articles that contribute to a better understanding of any living system.

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Robert J. Noone, PhD


Journal articles reflect natural systems thinking or are relevant to it. These may include concept papers as well as research studies.

Study of Weight Loss as a Model for Clinical Research: Shifts in the Family System and the Course of Clinical Symptoms
Laura Havstad, PhD and Kathleen J. Sheffield, MS, MA, RD

This article reports on a sequentially validated research study which uses Bowen theory to examine the correlation between the shift in family anxiety and the ability of a group of married women to diet to goal weight to resolve the symptom of overweight or obesity.

Developing a Systems Model for Family Assessment
Daniel V. Papero, PhD, MSSW

This article reports on an effort to develop a family diagnostic system using the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) developed at NIMH. This framework is designed to study the full range of human behavior based on biology, behavior, and context.


A special feature of Family Systems is a previously unpublished manuscript by Murray Bowen and other researchers in the family field.

Family Psychotherapy in Office Practice
Murray Bowen, MD with an Introduction by Ruth Riley Sagar, MA

Dr. Bowen made this presentation at Temple University in Philadelphia in March 1961, a year and half after he was appointed to the Georgetown University faculty as a clinical associate professor of psychiatry and had a clinical practice in Chevy Chase, MD.


Presentation of a faculty clinical case and discussion with faculty of the Bowen Center.

The Difference Bowen Theory Makes in Clinical Practice: Challenges and Choices
Victoria Harrison, MA

This case illustrates ways that family history and a family diagram interrupt the process of “blaming the other.” Defining therapy as “a focus on self” offers a new perspective that facilitates a shift towards understanding patterns of reacting that each brings to the marriage.


Reviews on books relevant to Bowen theory and its many applications.

The Island of Knowledge
by Marcelo Gleiser
Reviewed by: Anne S. McKnight, EdD, MSW