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the wisdom of individuals seeing and being different in a family a business or in a crowded brain
- The Wisdom of Individuals - Seeing and Being Different in a Family, a Business, or in a Crowded Brain
  • Presentation for the American Society of Cybernetics Oct. 29th 2005
  • The George Washington University,Mt. Vernon Campus 2100 Foxhall Road, Washington, DC
  • Andrea Maloney Schara, LCSWA
the dynamic tension existing in emotional systems
The Dynamic Tension Existing in Emotional Systems
  • There are two forces -
    • 1) to be an individual
    • 2) the force to join in with the group - the togetherness force- the fusion force.
sensitivity in one s family of origin
Sensitivity in One’s family of Origin
  • In order to function as adults’ people often deny their attachments becoming emotionally distance from the family.
  • Emotional distance can be achieved by internal mechanisms or by physical distances.
  • Family members are often unaware of the pressure to conform or their reactivity to it.
pressure to conform fusion the love lock or dysgnosis
Pressure to Conform - Fusion –“The Love Lock” or Dysgnosis

Emotional system can promote the suppression of the perception of change.

Living in the past occurs when there are automatic reactions to others, which includes the pressure to live by their rules, to feel their pain or to feel the other as a pain.

neurofeedback ncp
Neurofeedback – NCP
  • NCP offers a physiological gateway to observing and being present.
  • One person in the family absorbs more anxiety than others resulting in more ditches in the brain.
  • Watching the brain change promotes diversity and coherence within the brain by watching patterns change.
neurofeedback offers information of change to the brain
Neurofeedback Offers Information of Change to the Brain.
  • Enables individuals to be more present as observers of self and others.
  • Lowers overall anxiety.
  • Reconfigures the point where one’s development was stuck.
the infectious field the togetherness force

The Infectious Field – The Togetherness Force

Separating out a self from the energy field

anxiety and managing self
Anxiety and Managing Self
  • Anxiety goes up awareness goes down.
  • Humans like trees, need deep roots and a strong center to with stand the winds of change.
From automatic distancing and trying to help and protect others, I gradually to learned to be a bit more autonomous. ams

The Maloney- Maher Family





GL, 1913-89

AJM 1909-67

AWM, 1918-74

M.40 -S.49 & 52

AMS 1941

AJM, Jr. 1950

WMM, 1943

becoming a better observer one key to being a leader

Taking responsibility for being one part of a system.

Discovering three generations of patterns in one’s family of origin.

In telling or listening to stories just remember -

Self-reference is the infinite in finite guise. Francisco Varela

re thinking my family
Re-Thinking my Family
  • Diagramming multigenerational relationships.
    • Genetic vulnerability and the history of how people have been with one another.
  • Coach’s job - allow people to tell and re tell their family story, to reduce reactivity, and to have more open, non anxious relationships.
family systems theory and psychotherapy
Family Systems Theory and Psychotherapy
  • Bowen Family Systems Therapist has a responsibility to define a self and know one’s extended family and his or her sensitivity to others.
self organizing systems
Self organizing systems -
  • This term becomes meaningless, unless the system is in close contact with the environment, which posses available energy and order, and with which our system is in a state of perpetual interaction, such that it somehow manages to “live” on the expenses of this environment.
  • Heinz von Foerster - Observing Systems
sensitivity goes down as autonomy is established
Sensitivity Goes Down as Autonomy is Established

Open relationships

Being in good contact

emotional process
Emotional Process
  • Basic relationships patterns, developed for adapting to the parental family in childhood, are used in all other relationships throughout life.
  • The basic patterns in social and work relationships are identical to relationship patterns in the family, except in intensity.


how does learning help
How does Learning Help?
  • Living systems must be able to compute future events from past experiences.
  • Systems need memory to become “inductive inference computers.”
  • How much uncertainty, as to future events, is able to be removed by acquiring higher levels of order?
  • (Source: Observing Systems, Heinz von Forester page 97)
  • What is going to change?
  • How is the change to be accomplished?
  • What is the cause of this change?
timeless memory behavior and learning
Timeless Memory- Behavior and Learning
  • Stories about the past are told in the now.
  • Potential awareness of past experiences – self-reference, self description, self –explanation creates a space for change.
  • Changes in behavior can occur automatically when there is less anxiety and greater ability to be present, without reacting to what is.
observe observers
Observe Observers
  • Asking clients to tell their story.
  • Then you can make an interpretation and find confirming entities.
  • Or use the scientific method – Facts proceed interpretation.
If we can’t perceive,

we cannot perceive

of the future,

and thus we do not know

how to act now.


goal obtaining knowledge of the past gives greater ability to live in the present
Goal –Obtaining Knowledge of the Past Gives Greater Ability to Live in the Present
  • Bowen Family Theory integrates past and present experience to inform new activities, either as thought, will or speech and movement.
  • Actions taken speak of the future we are creating…
open relationships
Open Relationships
  • Establishing a more “open” relationship system in the extended family.
  • Becoming aware of the social pressure to conform.
    • Good emotional contact is maintained by creating a space for the other.
    • Finding a way to speak one’s truth without pressuring the other to change.
  • During anxious times its is difficult to say what he/she thinks or believes, if it might upset people.
  • Those who have only duty visits home are vulnerable to stress - marital discord and problem with their children.
the wisdom of the crown
The Wisdom of the Crown -
  • Independence keeps people from being swayed by a single opinion leader
  • People's errors balance each other out, and guarantees that the results are "smarter" than if a single expert had been in charge.
wise crowds or collective intelligence needs
“Wise crowds” or collective intelligence needs -
  • (1) diversity of opinion
  • (2) independence of members from one another
  • (3) decentralization and
  • (4) a good method for aggregating opinions.
the danger moving towards fusion
The Danger…Moving towards fusion…….
  • “The more influence we exert on each other, the more likely it is that we will believe the same things and make the same mistakes.”
the design of the brain
The Design of the Brain
  • The other individual is seen as the problem, people rate self as less susceptible to bias than others.
  • Pronkin, Lin, & Ross (2003) gathered data to show the eight different biases in human judgment.
philip zimbardo 1971 the prison experiment
Philip Zimbardo 1971 The Prison Experiment
  • Showed how individuals assume roles given a social context.
  • 24 well tested volunteers-half assigned role of guard and half prisoners.
  • Prison in basement at Stanford –where guards and prisoners were humiliated, etc.
people unable to separate real and assumed personality
People Unable to Separate Real and Assumed Personality.

I began to feel that the person I was, was distant from me - was remote - until finally I wasn't that, I was # 416.

  • The research was ended after five days.
  • The importance of work culture and relationships in shaping behavior.
asch experiments 1950 s
Asch Experiments -1950’s
  • The coercive effects of group behavior on the ability to see how long a line is.
  • 35% went along with the incorrect judgments of the majority of the group.
2005 a new f m r i study on group pressure by dr gregory burns
2005 -.- A New f.M.R.I Study on Group Pressure by Dr. Gregory Burns
  • Showed the 41% of group chose the wrong answer under social pressure.
  • No activation in forebrain monitoring conscious activity.
  • Activity increases in right side devoted to spatial awareness.
  • Independent thinkers activated right amygdala and right caudate nucleus.
group pressure to abuse facts togetherness
Group Pressure to Abuse Facts- Togetherness
  • Stanley Milgram did the classical work on Obedience to Authority (New York: Harper and Row, 1974)  Participants willing to shock people to levels which threatened their live. 
  • Milgram did that experiment many times, and found that 65% of people would administer shocks marked in the lethal range while the recipients screamed, no matter if the setting was Yale or the shopping center.
triangles two agree and gain energy at a cost to a third
Triangles - Two agree and gain energy at a cost to a third.
  • A form of cohesion in all social system.
  • Forming alliances with those who agree with you can be dangerous for your autonomy.
  • One is in contact with other individuals about an emotional issue.
  • There is no side taking or counterattacking or defending self.
  • The goal is to stay in contact and have a neutral response.
  • Over time the family gains as one member is able to relate more freely without taking sides and becoming entangled in the emotional system.
murray bowen md 1913 1990
Murray Bowen, MD (1913-1990)
  • Defining a self in the family of origin by managing self in relationship to others while specifically avoiding focus on polarizing old emotional issues in the nuclear family, and being clear about what one believes and will or will not do.
    • Family Therapy in Clinical Practice (pgs 539 – 545)
murray bowen md
Murray Bowen, MD
  • System therapy cannot remake that which nature created, but through learning how the organism operates, controlling anxiety, and learning to better adapt to the fortunes and misfortunes of life, it can give nature a better chance."
my book in process legitimate leaders taking off the relationship blinders
My book in process- Legitimate Leaders: Taking off the Relationship Blinders
  • I Interviewed Ten Leaders
  • Gathered stories on how leaders gain strength by understanding relationships.
This book is about being a leader—either by default or by desire—and designing a compass to guide you as you implement your leadership goals. Along the way, you’ll also learn a bit about family systems theory and the man who invented it all, Murray Bowen, M.D.
telling your story of how people influenced you name five people
Telling Your Story of How people Influenced You - name five people -
  • 1) The conflict or confusion
  • 2) Strategy adapted
  • 3) The transformation
  • 4) The Leadership Prescription Box – Future Directions for Me
the mindful compass
“The Mindful Compass”
  • (North) Define a vision – This is what I will or will not do -
  • (South) Resistance to change in yourself and/or in any system
mindful compass
“Mindful Compass”
  • (West) The ability to connect with people and understand the history of relationships
  • (East) The capacity to be separate
becomes a better observer and controlling one s emotional reactivity
Becomes a better observer and controlling one’s emotional reactivity
  • Understand your past sensitivity so you can -
    • Back out of intense situations
    • Slow down emotional reactions
    • Make neutral or loose comments
    • Stay in good humor
    • Learn by asking –
      • What did this situation teach me?
defining a self
Defining a Self
  • A more mature self emerges when people are calmer – one way - NCP
  • Know the family and or works system- the expectations and patterns of relating – who is close - who is on the outside?
  • Understand the many generations without blame, listening to the various stories, respecting the diversity of answers and people.
  • Know what you are willing to do and say so.