Contextual Family Therapy & Bowenian Comparison Essay by write123

Contextual Family Therapy & Bowenian
A comparison of two theories - contextual family therapy & Bowenian.
# 105494 | 2,837 words | 7 sources | APA | 2008 | US
Published on Jul 08, 2008 in Psychology (Physiological) , Psychology (Therapies)

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The paper presents the theoretical foundation of Murray Bowen and Ivan Nagy therapeutic approaches, comparing and contrasting the specificity of concepts, pathology and treatment. The paper emphasizes that the main common point which unites the two theories is their focus on family-of-origin experiences when conceptualizing cases. The paper presents concepts and therapy techniques in order to emphasize the common points and differentiating points. Also noted is the need for more empirical studies to validate the effectiveness of the two theories and concepts.

From the Paper:

"Contextual Family Therapy was founded by Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy in the 1950's, by turning from psychoanalysis to family therapy, and emphasizes that family life may be described in terms of four main dimensions: facts (such as ethnicity or family size); psychology (such as thoughts and emotions); transactions (such as interaction patterns); and relational ethics (the balance of fairness among people) (Carr 2006). The core issue of contextual family therapy is relational ethics - establishing fairness - as the central way of helping families to resolve problems. Contextual therapists consider that the problems develop as a result of an imbalance of justice within the family across generations. The lack of balance manifests itself in the family relationships as a ledger of entitlements and debts that also suggests what has been given and what is owed. Significant imbalance in such ledgers even across generations leads to problems. One way of imbalancing relational ledgers are invisible loyalties. They lead to developing problems. As Alan Carr noted, invisible loyalties are "the unconscious commitments that children make to meet debts to parents or entitlements arising from their interactions with them" (Carr, p. 163). For instance, an adult that has been neglected as a child feels entitled to neglect his children at his turn. Split loyalties usually are the result of parental conflict and happens when a child is faced to side with one parent, this generating a sense of entitlement at having lost a parent."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Carr, A. (2006) Family Therapy, Concepts, process and Practice, 2nd Edition, John Wiley & Sons Ltd
  • Banti, J., (unavailable year). Contextual Family Therapy, Retrieved from site:
  • Nichols, M. P. & Schwartz, R. C. (2001). Bowen family systems therapy. In M. P. Nichols & R. C. Schwartz, Family therapy: Concepts and methods, 5th ed., pp. 137-171, Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
  • Osborn, J. (2007) Boszormenyi-Nagy. Contextual Family Therapy, Retrieved from
  • Miller R,B., Anderson, S., Keala, D.K. (2004) Is Bowen theory valid? A Review Of Basic Research, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Oct, Retrieved from

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

Contextual Family Therapy & Bowenian (2008, July 08) Retrieved December 06, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Contextual Family Therapy & Bowenian" 08 July 2008. Web. 06 December. 2022. <>