Dr. Murray Bowen stated: “The degree of unresolved emotional attachment to the parents is equivalent to the degree of undifferentiation that must somehow be handled in a person’s own life and in future generations” (Bowen, 1978, p. 382). He observed that all people have some degree of unresolved emotional attachment from their parents. These emotional attachments in the parental triangle formed at birth are initially necessary for survival. In the process of growing up and moving toward increasing independence, individuals come up against degrees of unresolved emotional attachment, or as Bowen sometimes described it, emotional dependencies. This presentation describes one person’s effort over time to apply Bowen Family Systems Theory to resolve degrees of unresolved emotional attachment in the parental triangle.

Selden Dunbar Illick, LCSW is a Bowen family systems consultant. This lecture was recorded live in Washington, DC on June 7, 2018.