Terminal Illness Impact on Family Functioning and Bowenian Therapy

Topics: Family, Family therapy, Murray Bowen Pages: 7 (2485 words) Published: November 30, 2012
Terminal Illness Impact on Family Functioning and Bowenian Therapy

This paper will discuss the adjustments that accompany terminal illness within a family setting. The methods that are applied in the theory of choice will be explored as to whether the treatment is appropriate for this type of tragedy. The compatibility of this theory and this issue will be explored when dealing with the family unit.

Terminal Illness Impact and Bowenian Therapy
A family is two or more people who consider themselves family and who assume obligations, functions, and responsibilities generally essential to healthy family life. (Barker, 1999. p.155). Families create patterns that are passed on from grandparents to parents and from parents to children. These become the traditions and part of the value systems that are instilled in the lives of all that are involved. Murray Bowen developed his views of theory pertaining to family systems theory. His view is a theory of human behavior that views the family as an emotional unit and uses systems thinking to describe the complex interactions in the unit. (www.thebowencenter.org/pages/theory.html). His perspective of the family as a whole having an impact on each individual family member was also shared by many of his colleagues. The objective was to work with the family to understand that unresolved conflict with our original families is the most important unfinished business of our lives. He started out working with mother and child, and then he added fathers to the equation. (Nicholas & Schwartz. 2009, p.138). The interactions between family members generate how a crisis is handled. If a family is close knit, it may be a considered a sign of weakness to let outsiders know how they are feeling or if there is a problem within the family. Generation to generation brings an aspect to the next generation about how a matter such as terminal illness is handled. The emotional interdependence presumably evolved to promote the cohesiveness and cooperation families require to protect, shelter, and feed their members. (www.thebowencenter.org/pages/theory.html). Older family members such as great grandparents may come from an era that believed in privacy or the cultures may consider this type of problem a bad omen. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but maybe not a good one either. Stress causes may reactions in many different ways. According to Bowen, the family is viewed as an emotional unit and uses system thinking to describe the complex interactions in the unit. (www.thebowencenter.org/pages/theory.html). A family has a specific purpose for everyone included. It gives a sense of familiar, a sense of completeness, and a sense of belonging. Attachment to the family member that is sick is ultimate for the entire family. The bond sometimes becomes more of an issue than the actual stress of the patient having a terminal illness. Terminal illness and death, however, would appear to be the ultimate way to resolve the attachment bond. (Clair, 2000, p. 512). Terminal illness is an infection or disease which is considered ultimately fatal or incurable. It can go undetected, patients cannot afford proper care, or the illness is virulent enough that it will resist medical intervention. (www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-terminal-illness.htm).Terminal illness impacts the entire family. The family consists of more than just parents and children. Grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, and uncles make up family as well. There are people who become part of a family through interactions throughout people’s lives. Friends can be just as much a part of the family as the biological members. Some people have better relationships with outside people than those who are born to them. Some parts of the family may not fit as well as others because even though a family is considered a functioning unit, all parts do not always work. When there is anxiety or stress within the family, the...

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