1st Edition

Death and Chronic Illness in the Family Bowen Family Systems Theory Perspectives

Edited By Peter Titelman, Sydney K. Reed Copyright 2019
    418 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    418 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    What does it mean to be ‘present and accounted for’ when a family member is facing chronic illness or death? How does one define a self in relation to the ill or dying member and the family? Rooted in Murray Bowen’s family systems theory, this edited volume provides conceptual ideas and applications useful to clinicians who work with families facing chronic illness or the death of a member.

    The text is divided into four parts: Part I provides a detailed overview of Bowen’s theory perspectives on chronic illness and death and includes Murray Bowen’s seminal essay "Family Reaction to Death." In Parts II and III, chapter authors draw upon Bowen theory to intimately explore their families' reactions to and experiences with death and chronic illness. The final part uses case studies from contributors’ clinical practices to aid therapists in using Bowen systems perspectives in their work with clients.

    The chapters in this volume provide a rich and broad range of clinical application and personal experience by professionals who have substantial knowledge of and training in Bowen theory. Death and Chronic Illness in the Family is an essential resource for those interested in understanding the impact of death and loss in their professional work and in their personal lives.

    Foreword Rober J. Noone Preface Acknowledgements About the Editors Contributors PART I: BOWEN THEORY PERSPECTIVES ON DEATH IN THE FAMILY 1. Family Reaction to Death Murray Bowen 2. Death and Differentiation in the Family Peter Titelman 3. A Historical Background for Bowen’s Perspective on Death in the Family System Anne S. McKnight 4. Toward an Objective View of Mortality: Biology, History, and the Emotional System Stephanie J. Ferrera PART II: DEATH IN THE THERAPIST’S OWN FAMILY 5. Emotional Shock Wave and Differentiation of Self Sydney K. Reed 6. A Father’s Early Death: A Family’s Response Kent E. Webb 7. Mom’s Committed Suicide: Now What? Anthony J. Wilgus 8. Death as a Catalyst for Reconstructing the Family Emotional System Catherine M. Rakow 9. Territorial Behavior: Inheritance, and Death in the Family Anonymous PART III: CHRONIC ILLNESS IN THE THERAPIST’S OWN FAMILY 10. A Systems View of Chronic Illness in a Spouse and Family Eileen B. Gottlieb 11. Unresolved Emotional Attachments in a Family with Chronic Illness and Death Selden Dunbar Illick 12. Alzheimer’s Disease in the Family Peter Titelman 13. No Sympathy: A Response to a Physical Disability Susan W. Graefe PART IV: DEATH IN CLINICAL PRACTICE 14. Family Reaction to Death in Clinical Practice: An Approach Based on Bowen Theory Laura Havstad 15. Family Reaction to Death: Variation in Differentiation of Self Michael J. Sullivan 16. Emotional Process and the Management of Chronic Illness and Death David S. Hargrove and Elizabeth Grady 17. Death and AIDS: Families and Society Andrea Maloney Schara 18. A River of Silence: A Son Defines Himself in Relation to his Dying Father Kendall Baker Appendix I Appendix II


    Peter Titelman, PhD, maintains a private practice in Northampton, Massachusetts, specializing in Bowen family systems therapy. He is the founder of the Northampton Seminar on Bowen Theory and its Applications.

    Sydney K. Reed, MSW, is in private practice specializing in Bowen family systems therapy. She is the co-founder and senior faculty of the Center for Family Consultation in Evanston, Illinois.

    "Titelman and Reed use Bowen's chapter on death as the cornerstone of this thought-provoking and clinically enriching tribute to Bowen's work. They have drawn together a group of talented clinicians who present their application of Bowen's theory on death and chronic illness to their own families and numerous clinical endeavors. This book will serve as a valuable tool for students and seasoned clinicians alike."

    -Philip J. Guerin, MD, Director, Center for Family Learning, Rye Brook, New York

    "The inevibility of 'death and taxes' is well accepted, but chronic illness is rightfully added to this list. I commend Peter Titelman and Sydney Reed for the courage and skill to assemble a team to tackle two out of three. This is not an ivory tower exercise, but an inevitably personal one. The authors of the chapters have effectively interfaced the personal with the essential theoretical perspective. It is the proverbial good read."

    -Michael Kerr, MD, Director, Bowen Theory Academy, Emeritus Director, Bowen Center for the Study of the Family, Washington, DC