What is Bowen therapy?

Melanie Coleman
Marriage & Family Therapy
This question actually has two different answers. Bowen therapy, in the field of Marriage & Family Therapy, is a family systems model of therapy developed by Dr. Murray Bowen, MD. Dr. Bowen was a psychiatrist who theorized that current problems or concerns experienced by an individual could be addressed by investigating emotional connections, patterns, and dynamics “transmitted” over multiple generations of one’s family members. The individual could then gain insight into any dysfunctional “transmissions”, thus eventually being able to improve his/her level of “differentiation of self.” 
The other Bowen therapy was developed in the 1950’s by an Australian man named Tom Bowen. “Bowenwork “ was described as a gentle bodywork technique that resets dysfunctional tension patterns in muscles and nerves that are causing discomfort and pain. Pain reduction and relaxation are achieved when the gentle movements send neurological impulses to the brain creating energy surges. Practitioners of Bowenwork differentiate the technique from massage, acupressure or chiropractic in that there is no manipulation, adjustment or force used. The practitioner uses thumbs and fingers to gently move muscles and tissues. Both therapies have international followings.

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