Empowerment Resurrection Center presents Bowen’s Family System Theory as a way to combat risk factors

Communities that Care Network members convened on August 10th for a presentation on The Family System Theory by Jamar Daniels and Bill Clinton of the Empowerment Resurrection Center, specifically in relation to the risk factors identified by the Risk Assessment Committee of Delaware County CTC Network. The five priority risk factors were identified to be Low Neighborhood Attachment, Family History of Antisocial Behavior, Interaction with Antisocial Peers, and Depressive Symptoms, and Perceived Risk of Drug Use. Analysis was done using data collected from this year’s PAYS (Pennsylvania Youth Survey), which contained questions in the categories of school, family, individual/peer, community; a full presentation is to be given at next month’s meeting.

The Empowerment Resurrection Center of Chester, PA is a drug and alcohol outpatient facility that provides mental health services, group therapy, educational services, and family sessions. The center uses Murray Bowen’s theory of family dynamics to help patients develop an understanding of complex family patterns, ultimately giving them voice to disrupt negative patterns identified by Bowen in his eight key concepts. In Daniel’s presentation of Bowen’s theory, he explains that the family unit is the first system in which one is involved and thus defines many characteristics of our lives and our relationships. These interrelated dynamics are often multi-generational processes, passed down between parent and child, necessitating the family diagram called the “genogram” that maps the eight behaviors including triangulation, emotional cutoff, sibling position, etc., through a series of symbols. Daniels notes the development of self-awareness and the recognition of alternative pathways of action as the key goals of their education program, and believes that the theory of Murray Bowen “introduces people to describing complex relationships in a language that is accessible.” According to PAYS data, 53% of children suffer from history of antisocial behavior, making them more likely to engage in at-risk behavior. Daniels claims that an understanding of Bowen’s Family System Theory will allow children to interfere in these systems in a non-reactive way.

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Learn more about the Empowerment Resurrection Center at www.erc-chester.org/