SOCW6121: Discussion Question 2 Response to 2 students

Respond to two colleagues who chose a different Bowenian concept in analyzing the events, and offer an alternative viewpoint.(Please use 2 peer reviewed reference and answer in detail and ask a question to the student in post in order to continue the conversation)

Response to Lorna

Family Theory

Alec moved in with Magda, his grandmother, after Helen and the social worker intern arrived at a mutual agreement for help (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014). The plan did not go as expected because Alec began abusing Magda financially, emotionally, and medically (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014). He took his grandmother’s money and heirloom jewelry, left her unattended, and took her prescription medications. Although Helen was aware of Alec’s behavior and elder abuse, she did not file a police report for fear he would go back to prison, since he was on probation for a previous matter (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014). As is normal in cases like these, Helen blamed the social worker intern for going along with the plan to have Alec move in with Magda (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014). The intern was uninformed of Alec’s previous conviction, or his drug addiction, that would have caused for a more appropriate treatment plan for Magda. After missing an appointment with the social worker intern, Helen said it was due to an emergency room visit for tightness in her chest (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014). She also told the intern she experienced shortness of breath in the mornings, has trouble sleeping, and is tired throughout the day (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014).

Family systems theory is the most helpful because it views the family as an emotive entity and applies systems rational to explain the multifaceted relations in the entity (The Bowen Center, 2017). It is the nature of a family that its members are emotionally connected. People often experience distance or disconnection from their families nonetheless; this is more emotions than facts (The Bowen Center, 2017). Families deeply influence their members’ opinions, emotional state, and behaviors, that often appears like people are living under the same “emotional skin” (The Bowen Center, 2017). People seek attention, appreciation, and support from each other and respond to the needs, expectations, and upsets of each other (The Bowen Center, 2017). Family members are interdependent due to the connected and reactive functions of the family. A change in one person’s performance predicts an equal change in the performance of others (The Bowen Center, 2017).

Satir model is the more strength-based because the core belief is that all people are essentially good at their core, and have positive life energy (Banmen, 2002). The four main goals speak to fostering self-esteem, becoming decision-makers, accountable, particularly for internal experiences, and becoming consistent (Banmen, 2002). The Satir model seeks to improve relations and communications within the family constitute by addressing an individual’s behaviors, feelings, and insights in relation to that individual’s crescendos inside the family entity (Banmen, 2002). Therapists utilize training to help clients work through their traumatic pasts to foster a greater sense of accord, unity, and inner peace (Banmen, 2002).


Banmen, J. (2002). The Satir model: Yesterday and today. Contemporary Family Therapy, 24(1),

7–22. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2014b). Sessions: Case histories:

Concentration year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader]. “The Petrakis Family” (pp. 20-22).

The Bowen Center. (2017, July 11). Family Systems Theory. Retrieved from The Bowen Center:


Response to Betty

Bowen’s family theory posits a system of emotional thinking that originates from the interdependency of each family member. He explains that the individuals in the family unit reacts to situations based on the “closeness or too great a distance in a relationship” (Brown, 1999). The interdependency and the emotional connectively can affect the each members thoughts, feelings or actions because they a family unit. A change in one family member can be reciprocated in another member based on the closeness of that family unit (Bowen Center, 2000). Bowen states that the reaction from a situation can cause chronic anxiety and presented eight concepts that coins up the family theory, namely; emotional fusion and differentiation of self, triangles, nuclear family emotional system, couple conflict, symptoms in a spouse, symptoms in a child, family projection process, emotional cutoff, multi-generational transmission process, sibling positions, and evolution of society (Brown, 1999).

The case with the Petrakis Family consists of 52-year old Helen Petrakis who lives with her husband, 60-year old John, three children, Alec 27, Dmitra 23, and Athina 18. Helen has the responsibility of caring for her children, her 81-year old mother-in-law Magda, and cleans, cooks, and shops for the family. Magda fell and broke her hip and was recently diagnosed with dementia, thereby increasing her dependency on her extended family (Plummer, 2013). Helen had help coming in for Magda, but she did the shopping, cleans her home and pay her bills. It has affected her ability to find time for herself and her family. Helen has become anxious and angry with the situation. The responses from her husband and her son Alec, led Helen to consider asking Alec to move in with his grandmother to relief some of the stress and anxiety level. After Alec moved in with Magda, the situation worsened with the theft and family shame. Helen knew her son stole the checks and the family jewelry, but could not report to the police because of Alec’s probation.

After reflecting on the Petrakis Family’s case, the theory that best fits their situation is the concept of Triangles, and the emotional fusion/differentiation of self. Bowen states that triangling occurs “when the inevitable anxiety is a dyad is relieved by involving the vulnerable third party who either takes sides or provided a detour for the anxiety” (Brown, 1999). Triangling in the case of the Petrakis family occurred when Helen tried to relieve her anxiety by involving Alec in the care of Magda. It is did not help resolve the issue at hand but made it worse. Emotional fusion/differentiation of self is another concept that was depicted in the family case. Because differentiation occurs when the individual tries to function on their own based on the choices they make whilst their emotions is suffering. Helen’s choice of assisting Magda was not in consideration of the whole family unit, but just herself and the means to relieve her stress level.

Based on the two concepts discussed, Satir and Munichin presents family theories that can help with family conflicts or problems. Satir Model deals with three major areas for therapeutic intervention, that is through the intrapsychic, interactive and the family origin of the individual to target the entire family. Munichin Model is a structural family theory that address characteristics of the family subsystems, and the rules that influences the interpersonal choices and behaviors in the family. Since this model target the whole family at a given point in time, it best fits the Petrakis family in addressing the interpersonal choices that leads to the increase in anxiety. The structural family system assess and explores the family structure to identify areas of strengths or weakness and build on these areas. I believe the structural family theory is strengths based for the Petrakis family because it accommodates techniques for each member to adjust or support the family system.


Banmen, J. (2002). The Satir model: Yesterday and today. Contemporary Family Therapy, 24(1),


Brown, J. (1999). Bowen family systems theory and practice: Illustration and critique. Australian

and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 20(2), 94 – 103. Retrieved from:

Plummer, S. B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. (2013). Sessions case histories. Baltimore, MD:

Laureate International Universities Publishing.

“The Petrakis Family” (pp. 20 -22).

Vetere, A. (2001). Structural family therapy. Child & Adolescent Mental Health, 6(3), 133–139.

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