The Family Diagram app seminar is an opportunity for advanced students of Bowen theory to engage the app in the application of theory. Participants learn by presenting their own efforts to the author of the app and to other participants.
Each meeting consists of a conceptual presentation by Dr. Patrick Stinson, the author of Family Diagram, followed by participant presentations. The goal of Dr. Stinson’s presentations is to stimulate thinking about basic theoretical principles in the context of the app. Each participant then presents their own effort followed by a brief facilitated discussion.
The seminar follows from the belief that there is predictability amidst the complexity of family emotional process, and that this predictability is only waiting to be seen through the systematic organization of old information in new ways. The app itself is only one effort to innovate in the way that information about family emotional process is managed. Thus, participants are encouraged to bring their own thinking and innovations about ways to get more systematic about understanding family with or without the app.
Meetings last 120 minutes and occur every 8 weeks. 120 minutes is the minimum amount of time that allows for presentations by 5 participants and Dr. Stinson. The longer, 8 week interval is intended to provide for the kind of individual work and reflection required for efforts with the app.
Each meeting will begin with a brief presentation by Dr. Stinson, and will proceed with 10 minute participant presentations followed by a facilitated discussion with the other participants.
Dr. Stinson’s presentations will pertain to app features and/or theoretical dilemmas posed or exposed by the app. New developments may be discussed from time to time. Regardless of topic, emphasis will always be on the academic. In other words, the focus will be primarily on the human as a natural phenomenon and secondarily on the Family Diagram app itself as merely a tool to study the human phenomenon.
Participant presentations comprise the main part of each meeting and are described below.
NOTE: There is not enough time to provide tech support in the meeting. Participants are therefore responsible for their own tech support. This includes ensuring that the app is functioning, that they can access the appropriate diagrams prior to the meeting, and that they are able to show the app over Zoom screen share without assistance.
Participants optionally present their effort at a project of their choosing for 10 minutes. Presentations are not required but are an important tool for clarifying one’s own thinking and gaining access to the thinking of others. Presentations will occur two-by-two, with Dr. Stinson facilitating each other member contributing their own thinking about the challenges covered in the presentations.
This process will likely raise questions and thinking about how to better organize a systematic approach to the problem at hand as well as how to use the app itself.
Example presentation topics include but are not limited to:
- Improving clinical assessments
- Improving case presentations
- Using the app with clients in real time
- Pursuing a research question with a single family or multiple families
- Tracking emotional process for systems research
Required Reading Materials
Though much can be learned in the seminar about how to use the app, the seminar itself does not involve classroom-style tutorials. Participants are instead expected to make an effort to learn how to use the app outside the seminar. Comprehensive tutorial-style learning is freely available through the following “required reading” materials:
- Family Diagram User Manual, also accessible from the “Help” menu of the app.
- The Official Family Diagram Video Tutorial, also accessible throughout the User Manual.
- The individual technical support channel for the app.
Optional Reading Materials
Optional reading materials include the usual Bowen Theory literature and resources:
- Family Therapy in Clinical Practice, Murray Bowen, 1978
- Family Evaluation, Michael Kerr, 1988
- The Family Systems Journal
- Alaska Family Systems news and articles. It is recommended you subscribe to updates for the website to stay current on new conceptual developments and app features.
Prerequisites for Application
A meeting of 120 minutes provides for five participants plus Dr. Stinson to present. Additional groups will be created if the number of applicants requires it.
The following are the basic requirements for application:
- At least 2 years of formal training in Bowen theory
- Access to the Family Diagram app on Windows or Mac
- A particular skill level using the app is not necessarily required
- A professional subscription is suggested but not required
- An active, defined professional or research project through which to engage the app. Applicants may certainly change or redefine their project, but some project is required. It is suggested to define the project in the form of a research question.
Exceptions can be made for equivalent experience with Bowen Theory and its applications, or involvement in some substantial research project where the app may be utilized.
New Students of Bowen theory
New students of Bowen Theory may refer to The Annotated Bibliography for New Students of Bowen Theory as a guide to choosing a starting point for reading about Bowen Theory.
Information about formal training in Bowen Theory can be found on the Training page at the Bowen Center’s website.
Information about other programs in the International Bowen Network can be found on the Bowen Programs Elsewhere page of the Bowen Center website.
Cost of Attendance
The fee for the year is $125. This fee is intended to be quite low while still serving the following functions:
- To be cause for personal investment in each participant
- To cover a portion of the time required to organize and facilitate the seminar
- To support the considerable cost of ongoing app maintenance and development
A spot is secured in the seminar upon full payment of the fee. Scholarships are available upon the negotiation of a substantial contribution to testing the app and/or development of its concepts.
Those interested in participating in the seminar will fill out the following application. You will be contacted directly via email regarding your submission and information for payment of the participation fee.