Published Dissertation

Here is the link to my published dissertation on ProQuest. You can download a PDF for free. The abstract is as follows:

In this theoretical study the author examines the function of valid scientific theory in professional psychology. The author does so by comparing the Bowen theory with the theory of human behavior contained in the practice of vipassanā mediation as taught by Satya Narayan Goenka. A modified metaethnography methodology was used to infer paradigmatic guidelines for natural systems research on human behavior from the Bowen literature. These guidelines were used to determine compatibility of “vipassanā theory” with this natural systems paradigm. The study represents an exhaustive population study of pertinent sources from each body of literature. The findings suggest that the vipassanā tradition reviewed contains a natural system theory as opposed to a system of religious belief. Both theories propose that the way a problem is conceptualized determines the actions taken to solve it. Both, therefore, suggest that problems pertaining to living systems, including emotional dysfunction, are most effectively addressed through an effort at objective theoretical research that applies equally to client and clinician. Both theories contrast this attitude of research with mainstream attitudes primarily oriented around clinical intervention and efficacy studies. For clinical psychology as a science, this suggests a current overemphasis on control of human behavior and an underemphasis on prediction through the development of falsifiable theory. Both theories also suggest that such research proceeds optimally when client and clinician apply principles of natural science to their own functioning, particularly in the context of interpersonal relationship. The study concludes with suggested theoretical contributions from vipassanā theory to the natural sciences.

Continue Reading

Toward a Natural Systems Research Methodology

I could argue that it was Bowen’s research methodology which yielded the novel observation that the family is an emotional unit, and possibly the correct unit of analysis for human behavior and adaptation. This presentation is aimed at more specifically defining the principles behind that methodology so that research on Bowen Theory may proceed into the technological future.

Continue Reading

The Implicit Model – A concept for research, and a case for thinking, objectivity, and theory.

This is an introduction to some broad theoretical thinking I have had over the last few years. It attempts to:

– Describe what it is a Bowen/Systems coach does for a client if they don’t “fix” anything

– Lay down a theoretical basis for that description.

– Address the problem of the live of anthropocentric subjectivity in terms like “objectivity,” “thinking,” “religion,” and “science.”

Here is the referenced video on the 9 Guidelines for Natural Systems Models: https://youtu.be/Epxe64IZcgQ

Continue Reading

Some Guidelines for Systems Models

How you understand a problem determines what you do to solve it. The accuracy of that understanding determines the efficacy of your solution. How then, to determine what a more sophisticated model of a complex problem looks like? What is systems thinking? What is a systems model? This presentation addresses these questions.

Continue Reading

What Kind of System is the Family? Part 2/2

This presentation is intended to point out the way of thinking which organizes the application of Bowen’s family systems theory. These principals are not apparent in mainstream family therapy literature which begins with a priori assumptions organized by therapy as apposed to developing a science of human behavior. If you simply read through the concepts of Bowen theory, they will likely not be understood without the broader assumptions about human behavior which makes clear the presumption that the family is an “emotional unit.”

Part one of this presentation is a broad philosophical departure from the Bowen theory itself in order to understand this way of thinking. Part two of this presentation will cover specific aspects of the theory.

Notes

It is important to note for anyone who knows me personally that amidst the challenges of public speaking I mixed up some of the specific facts of my effort at differentiation in my own family, for example some of the “what” and “when” details. But the details are not important to make my point. The “how” details remain the same.

I also made an error about functional changes in position in a triangle reflecting the life forces of individuality and togetherness. These “functional” shifts represent the togetherness force. A person going against the triangle altogether might be the individuality, or “differentiation” force. The individuality force is one in which an individual specializes in the group.

What Kind of System is the Family? (Slides)

Continue Reading

What Kind of System is the Family? Part 1/2

This presentation is intended to point out the way of thinking which organizes the application of Bowen’s family systems theory. These principals are not apparent in mainstream family therapy literature which begins with a priori assumptions organized by therapy as apposed to developing a science of human behavior. If you simply read through the concepts of Bowen theory, they will likely not be understood without the broader assumptions about human behavior which makes clear the presumption that the family is an “emotional unit.”

Part one of this presentation is a broad philosophical departure from the Bowen theory itself in order to understand this way of thinking. Part two of this presentation will cover specific aspects of the theory.

What Kind of System is the Family? (Slides)

Continue Reading

Taxonomy of Vipassanā Terms

Here is a guide to the most basic terms of the Buddha’s teaching of vipassanā, organized as the Four Noble Truths (cattāri ariyasaccāni). It seems to me that this should be provided along with every writing on the topic.

  1. Life is Suffering; idam dukkham
  2. The Cause of Suffering; Dependent Origination; paṭiccasamuppāda
    • The Four Mental Aggregates (Short Form; Practical)
      1. Sense data (viññana)
      2. Evaluation of sense data (sañña)
      3. Generate bodily sensation (vedanā)
      4. Automatic reaction (saṅkhāra)
    • Twelve “causal” steps in the loop of paṭiccasamuppāda (Long Form; Theoretical)
      1. Ignorance (avijjā)
      2. Karma/action/reaction (sankhārā)
      3. Consciousness (viññana)
      4. Body/mind (nama/rupa)
      5. Sense organs (salāyatanam)
      6. Contact w sense organ (phassa)
      7. Sensation (vedanā)
      8. Craving (tanhā)
      9. Clinging (upādāna)
      10. Becoming (bhava)
      11. Birth (jāti)
      12. Sickness, old age, death, other miseries (jarā-marana)
  3. How suffering ceases; nirodha-sacca
    • Reprogramming the automatic craving of sensations triggers a systemic shift throughout the twelve links of paṭiccasamuppāda.
  4. The way to the cessation of suffering; Eight-Fold Noble Path; ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo
    • Morality (sila)
      1. Right speech
      2. Right Action
      3. Right Livelihood
    • Concentration (samadhi)
      1. Right effort
      2. Right awareness
      3. Right Concentration
    • Wisdom (pañña: heard, rational, experiential)
      1. Right thoughts
      2. Right understanding
        • All phenomena are impermanent (anicca)
        • All phenomena have no self (anatta)
        • All phenomena are suffering (dukkha)
Continue Reading
1 2 3 6