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Managing Relations in a changing world - Bowen Theory in Organizations, Families and Communities

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The third International Conference will be held in Sörbyn, Swedish Lapland, Sweden June 13-15 2022

Keynote speakers for the Conference are

Anne McKnight, PhD, EdD, LCSW, Director of the Bowen Center.

Michael E. Kerr, Professor. His research interests include cancer and family emotional process, the development of a unidisease concept, the relationship between human emotional process and emotional process in other species, and the process of differentiation of self.

Victoria Harrison, MA, LMFT. The focus for Ms. Harrison’s clinical research is the impact of relationships in the family on physiology responsible for health and reproduction.

Daniel Papero, PhD, LCSW. In recent years he has consulted increasingly with organizations in both the private and public sectors about the impact of relationships on functioning and about the emotional process of organizations.

Kathleen K. Wiseman, BA, MBA. Her 30-year professional experience includes consulting to family firms, family foundations and family offices, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and multi-site manufacturing facilities. She is working with families of wealth, lawyers and financial professionals as they plan for the next generation’s role in decision-making with regard to family assets.

Conference program

  Monday June 14, 2021 Tuesday June 15, 2021 Wednesday June 16, 2021
Opening Ceremony 

Keynote Speech
Michael E Kerr, Professor
"Bowen Theory: A View from the 21st Century"

Keynote Speech
Kathy Wiseman, BA, MBA
"Workplace challenges with Bowen Theory in mind"


Keynote Speech
Anne McKnight, PhD
"The Challenges families face in an anxious and polarized world"

Keynote Speech
Victoria Harrison, MA,LMFT,LCSW
"Recognizing and Managing Anxiety Reactions to Climate Crises"

Peggy Chan, MEd, RSW
"Teaching and Learning Bowen theory in the local cultural context - Resources and challenges"

11.00-11:15 Break Break Break
11.15 -11.35

Keynote Speech
Dan Papero, PhD
"The Challenge of Complex Human Systems: Bowen’s Contribution To Understanding Human Behavior"


Robert J. Noone, PhD
"Family and differentiation of self: An evolutionary perspective"

Margret Otto, LSCSW
"Chronic anxiety viewed through basic and constructionist theories of emotion"

Amie Post, MA, LCMFT
"Violence in families"

Kathleen B. Kerr, MSN, MA, CNS. 
"Bowen theory -Challenging the International Paradigm of Attachment Theory"

11.45 -12.15 ...continuation

Keynote Speech
Dan Papero, PhD
"The Challenge of Complex Human Systems: Bowen’s Contribution To Understanding Human Behavior"

Renee Chiu, PhD
"Parental emotional attachment and fear of intimacy of emerging adults in Hong Kong: the efftcts of differentiation of self"

Kathleen Cotter Cauley, M.Ed, LMFT.
"Distance ang Triangles in the Family and the Clinical Setting:  What Does the Coach See?"

Alicia Cruzat, Professor
"Bonding Human Design: Understanding of Togetherness from a Naturalistic Integrative Approach"

Leslie Ann Fox, MA.
"Bowen Theory in Organizations: 30 years of Consulting, Leading and Managing Self"


12.15 -13.30 Lunch Lunch Lunch

Michael E Kerr, Professor
"Importance of Theory to the Process of Differentiation of Self"

Randall Frost, MDiv.
"Bowen Theory as a different paradigm for family research"

Dan Papero, PhD
"Developing a systems model to assess family system functioning"

Laura Brooks, MSW, LCSwC-C
"Multigenerational Family emotional process: Is it predictable?"

Kent Webb, LCSW, PCC
"The Building Blocks of a Gay Man’s Identity:  Biology, Family, and Society--A Bowen Theory Perspective"

Ann V. Nicholson, RN, MS, CS.
"The Human Response to Threat: Climate Change and Bowen Theory"


Victoria Harrison,
"Differentiation of Self:  The Magic of Managing Relationships"

Marie Simonsson, MSc
"Anxious organizations and their lack of sustainability"
Anne McKnight, PhD
"The Complexity of Cutoff"

Pat Comella. Retired J.D. 
"Managing Complexity in Large Natural Systems and Societies in Regression

Teresa Edmondson, M.Ed, LPC 
"Relationships undone- One family’s chornicle of how DNA testing, a mother’s dementia, and Bowen Theory intersected in unanticipated ways"

John Bell, MDiv
"The emotional interplay between families and communities"



14.40-15.10 Break Break Break

Phillip Klever. LCSW, LMFT
"Emotional cutoff and Family Functioning"

Andrea Schara, LCSWA.
"What are the costs and benefits of becoming a leader?"

Joan Jurkowski, MS, LCPC.
"The value of research and clinical practice"

Jean Tai Yuk Ching MBA 
"Leading the Organization in an Unstable time"

Patrik Stinson PsyD
"Advancing the Family Diagram Concept: A New View of Structure of Function"

15.40-16.00 Kathy Wiseman, BA,MBA
"The Value of One: consulting to family enterprise"
Amanda B Kuenstler, MSc.
"Could Bowen Systems Theroy Improve Healthcare Incident Reporting Among Nurses?"

Alejandro Astorga, Professor
"Teenagers who abuse of other children: A perspective from Bowen Family Systems Theory"

Julie Swanberg-Hjelm MA, LMFT, LMHC
"The Moderating Effect of Adverse Childhood Experiences on the Development of Differentiation of Self"

Summation of the conference
from lecturers and participants.
Closing Ceremony



Ann-Christine Haupt, Senior Librarian
Kerstin Sofia

"My Grandmother and I" about a Family system from Muonio Sámi village in Sweden

Patty Sheridan, MBA, RHIA, FAHIMA
"Using Bowen Theory Helps Leaders, Managers and Employees Manage Relations and Thrive during and after Mergers and Acquisitions"


Linda MacKay PhD,
"Thinking Systems about a 21st Century Anxiety Binder: The relationship between young people, social media, differentiation of self and parenting"

Katherine Kott, PhD, Bertrand Masquefa, PhD, Martino Rodriguez-Gonzalez, PhD
"Using Bowen Theory to improve organizational change outcomes"


16.40-17.00 ...continuation

Ann-Christine Haupt, Senior Librarian
Kerstin Sofia
Andersson BSc
"My Grandmother and I" about a Family system from Muonio Sámi village in Sweden

Kent E. Webb, LCSW, PCC
"The Murray Bowen Archives Project"

Anna-Karin Andersson
The complexity of project organizations and how Bowen's system thinking can help understand the processes that take place.


Katherine Kott, PhD, Bertrand Masquefa, PhD, Martino Rodriguez-Gonzalez, PhD
"Using Bowen Theory to improve organizational change outcomes"

18.00         Closing dinner


Keynote speakers


Dr. Ann S. McKnight


Dr. Anne S. McKnight

Director of the Bowen Center


Dr. Anne McKnight has been o member of the Bowen Center faculty since 1992. Her activities have included directing, teaching, and supervising in the postgraduate training programs, leading the internship program, organizing and presenting at conferences sponsored by the Bowen Center and at meetings nationally and internationally. As a family therapist for 40 years, she developed a special interest in families with addiction from working, teaching and supervising students in a child and family substance abuse program in Virginia. Among other topics, she has presented on Families with Addiction, The Relationship World of the Young Adult, Death in the Family, Looking Up the Family Tree, Epigenetic and Bowen Theory, and Ethics in Family Therapy .

Dr. McKnight is a Family Therapist in private practice in Arlington, Virginia, and at the Bowen Center, Georgetown, Washington DC, USA.

Dr. McKnight has been the Director of the Bowen Center since January 1, 2011.

Dr. Daniel Papero  

Dr. Daniel V. Papero


After graduate training in social work at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Dr. Papero entered postgraduate training in family systems theory and psychotherapy at the Georgetown University Family Center. In 1982, Dr. Bowen invited him to join the faculty of the Georgetown University Family Center.

He has written numerous articles and book chapters on various aspects of family systems theory and family psychotherapy and, in 1990, published a basic introduction to family systems, Bowen Family Systems Theory. He serves on the editorial board of Family Systems and of the Family Business Client.

He currently gives between fifteen and twenty invited presentations yearly to various professional groups across the country on topics related to family systems theory, family psychotherapy, and the functioning of corporations and organizations.

In recent years he has consulted increasingly with organizations in both the private and public sectors about the impact of relationships on functioning and about the emotional process of organizations.

Dr. Papero maintains his consulting practice in Washington, DC.


Dr. Michael E. Kerr  

Dr. Michael E. Kerr

President of the Bowen Theory Academy

Dr. Michael E. Kerr is a Family Psychiatrist and President of the Bowen Theory Academy in Islesboro, Maine, USA. Five long-term Students of Bowen Theory founded the Bowen theory Academy in 2011 with an emphasis on facilitating people´s efforts to learn and apply Bowen Theory by emphasizing the distinction between systems thinking and cause-and-effect thinking through a variety of programs.

Dr. Kerr worked closely with Murray Bowen until his death in 1990. He co· authored with Dr. Bowen a widely used text entitled, Family Evaluation. An Approach Based on Bowen Theory. The book was excerpted in The Atlantic Monthly in 1988. Dr. Kerrs newest book titled "Bowen Theory' Secrets: Revealing the Hidden Life of Families,” was published in February 2019 by W. W. Norton.

Primary research interest has been the interplay of mind, body, and relationships and its role in health and disease.


Ms. Kathleen Wiseman  

Ms. Kathleen Wiseman


Ms. Kathleen Wiseman is a faculty member at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family, formerly the Georgetown University Family Center. She is the founder and president of Working Systems, lnc. A founding member and past president of the Family Firm lnstitute. Wiseman is a co founder of Navigating Systems, a course for Lawyers, Accountants, trust officers and family office executives who want to learn more about family and how families predictably function . Wiseman was in partnership with Charles Collier of Harvard University teaching a course titled Working with Families of Wealth.

Ms. Wiseman has edited two collections of articles:

Understanding Organizations and The Emotional Side of Organizations for the Georgetown Family Center. In January 2013 she published TRUSTWORTHY.

New Angles on Trusts from Beneficiaries and Trustees with Hartley Goldstone.

Ms. Wiseman received her undergraduate degree in sociology/ anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from George Washington University. In the summer of 2015 she attended Burning Man for the first time with two of her children, their spouses, a sister and a nephew.


Ms. Victoria Harrison  

Ms. Victoria Harrison


Ms. Victoria Harrison began to study Bowen theory in 1976 at Georgetown Family Center where Murray Bowen and faculty inspired research in family history and the impact of relationships in the family on biology and behavior. She used the biofeedback program established by Lilian Rosenbaum, literature in evolution and natural sciences, and relationship with scientists to study health and reproduction. Ms. Harrison maintains a clinical practice in Houston, Texas where she also directs Center for the Study of Natural Systems and the Family. She commutes to DC where she has served on The Bowen Center faculty since 1992. Her current publications include a book, The Family Diagram and Family Research: Tools for Working on Differentiation of Self and a chapter on "The Study of Physiology and Family Systems" in an upcoming book edited by Mignonette Keller and Robert Noone. A list of her articles and book chapters are available on The Bowen Center and CSNSF web sites. Email : vaharrison@csnsf.org.


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