The Postgraduate Training Program is now full. Please see our other training programs.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Postgraduate Training Program for 2020-2021 will be held online. The Postgraduate Training Program will no longer be held quarterly for three-day sessions. Instead, meetings will be held for one day in September and October of 2020 and January, February, March, April, May and June of 2021. In November and December 2020, participants will attend the Clinical Conferences (11/2/2020 & 12/4/2020 ) and the Annual Symposium (11/6-11/7/2020). The November and December Clinical Conferences and the Annual Symposium 2020 will be held online. The fees for these three events will be included in the Postgraduate Training Program’s tuition fee.

“When any key member of an emotional system can control his own emotional reactiveness and accurately observe the functioning of the system and his part in it, and he can avoid counterattacking when he is provoked, and when he can maintain an active relationship with the other key members without withdrawing or becoming silent, the entire system will change in predictable ways” — Murray Bowen

Purpose of the Postgraduate Program in Bowen Family Systems Theory

The Postgraduate Program is designed for individuals with previous training/coaching utilizing Bowen theory who want to establish a firm foundation in Bowen theory and learn to apply it in their personal lives and in their professions.

Individuals use the Postgraduate Program to further goals and projects and to address challenges in their family and their professional work. Alumni make significant contributions, present their work at the Annual Symposium and participate in research seminars to work on projects.

Program Schedule for 2020-2021

Monday, September 14, 2020
Monday, October 19, 2020
Clinical Conference: Monday, November 2, 2020
Annual Symposium: Friday & Saturday, November 6 – 7, 2020
Clinical Conference: Friday, December 4, 2020
Monday January 11, 2021
Monday February 8, 2021
Monday March 15, 2021
Monday, April 12, 2021
Monday, May 17, 2021
Monday, June 21, 2021

History of the Program

Murray Bowen, MD, established a theory of human behavior based upon the study of family systems and knowledge from the natural sciences. Bowen family systems theory provides a conceptual framework for understanding the family, organizations, and human society as emotional systems consistent with facts from biology, evolution, and neuroscience. Knowledge and practice of theory are a foundation for understanding one’s own family, and for research and applications that address problems in human society.

Dr. Bowen established a postgraduate training program in 1969 at Georgetown University Medical Center. The special postgraduate program for individuals living outside the Washington, DC area began in 1976. The Bowen Center for the Study of the Family continues to hold this program with teaching and supervising faculty who studied and worked with Murray Bowen. The faculty bring research and applications of theory in such diverse areas as psychiatry, medicine, nursing, family therapy, biofeedback, neurofeedback, primate studies, business, international relations, work with clergy, education, community services, and public policy.


The program will meet eight times during the year, as well as attend the November and December 2020 Clinical Conferences and the 2020 Annual Symposium.

Sessions will include:

  • Presentations and discussions with the Director of the Center
  • Presentations and discussions with faculty
  • Afternoon consultation with faculty on clinical practice, work systems, or other applications
  • Presentations by each participant to the entire group
  • Videotaped lectures by Murray Bowen and other faculty members
  • Videotaped presentations by scientist relevant to family systems
  • Recommended readings, video tape viewings and discussions regarding these recommendations.
  • Monthly contact with faculty for ongoing consultation.

The curriculum is designed to cover basic concepts in Bowen theory, knowledge from the sciences, and advances in research with examples from applications in family, organizations, and society. Each year is different. Learning occurs through application and practice as well as through knowledge of theory. The study of one’s own family is a training ground for learning and using Bowen family systems theory in one’s field of work.

Learning is an individual process that occurs through application and practice as well as through knowledge of theory. The study of one’s own family is a vital training ground for learning and using Bowen family systems theory in one’s field of work. It takes time to integrate the intellectually and emotionally stimulating experiences.

Each monthly session includes didactic presentations, discussion and small group consultation. Participants have the opportunity to present their own topics of interest to the larger group. Consultation consist of presentations on one’s own family and work system, as well as clinical and professional applications of the theory, and theoretical questions. Consultation is conducted between sessions by webcast or telephone.

Meeting Schedule

Each year is different. Learning Bowen theory is an individual process that takes time to integrate intellectually and emotionally. This program provides an opportunity to focus on learning a theory about emotional systems and oneself.

Application Process

The application process includes a completed application form online or by paper, an application fee of $60, and an interview with one of the program heads, Douglas Murphy or Stanley Proffitt. Early acceptance is available for those who want to make their plans early.

Admission criteria include a combination of educational background and practice in one’s own profession, at least one year of training/coaching in Bowen Family Systems Theory, motivation to learn and apply Bowen theory in one’s own family and field of work, and specific goals to accomplish in the program.

For further information, email Douglas Murphy or call 410-258-2104. You can also email Stanley Proffitt or call 315-521-6249.

Mail paper applications to:

Douglas C. Murphy, MA, LCMFT/Stanley Proffitt
Program Heads of Postgraduate Program
The Bowen Center for the Study of the Family
4400 MacArthur Boulevard, NW Suite 103
Washington, DC 20007


Paper applications can be faxed to 202-965-1765.


The tuition for 2020-2021 is $3,650.00. A deposit of $350.00 is due upon acceptance. The balance is due by December 1st.

Payment Plan:

The Bowen Center offers two payment plan options: two times a year or four times a year.

Billing Due Dates:

  • Two times a year plan: The $350 deposit is due by July 1st. The first payment of $1,700 is due the 1st of August. The second payment of $1,700 is due no later than the 1st of December.
  • Four times a year plan: The $350 deposit is due by July 1st. Payments of $850 are due by the 1st of August, October, November, and December.