*Sessions may be edited for content and to preserve confidentiality*
Murray Bowen (31 January 1913 in Waverly, Tennessee – 9 October 1990) was an American psychiatrist and a professor in psychiatry at the Georgetown University. Bowen was among the pioneers of family therapy and founders of systemic therapy. Beginning in the 1950s, he developed a systems theory of the family. From 1954 to 1959, Bowen worked in the National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland, where he continued to develop the theory that would be named after him: Bowen Theory. At that time, family therapy was still only a by-product of theory. Bowen did his initial research on parents who lived with one adult schizophrenic child, which he thought could provide a paradigm for all children. After defining the field of family therapy he started integrating concepts with the new theory. He claimed that none of this had previously been described in the psychological literature. What began the first year became known nationally in about two years.
From 1959 to 1990 he worked at the Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington DC as clinical professor at the department of Psychiatry, and later as director of Family Programs and founder of a Family Center.
James F. Masterson (M.D., Jefferson Medical School, 1951) was Director of the Masterson Group, P.C., which specializes in the treatment of adolescent and adult character disorders. Additionally, he was Director of the Masterson Institute (formerly Character Disorder Foundation); attending psychiatrist at New York Hospital, Payne Whitney Clinic; and Adjunct Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Cornell University Medical College. Masterson has authored seven books and edited two volumes, mostly on the topic of psychoanalytic approaches to character disoreders and adolescents. His seminal work on the borderline personality has made him one of the most influential and studied practitioners of modern psychoanalytic methods.
Erving Polster, Ph.D in clinical psychology, is the Director of The Gestalt Institute of San Diego, and the author of several important books, including Gestalt Therapy Integrated, Every Person's Life is Worth a Novel, and From the Radical Center: The Heart of Gestalt Therapy, as well as dozens of articles and chapters. Erving has authored 6 books. In his current writings, he offers perspectives and designs for a communal application of psychotherapy principles. He also describes and celebrates a powerful contemporary momentum for people-at-large to join together in the search for personal and social enlightenment.
Carl Whitaker, MD, was an American physician and psychotherapy pioneer family therapist. Whitaker is most well-known for acknowledging the role of the entire family in the therapeutic process. He is the founder of experiential family therapy, or the symbolic-experiential approach to therapy. Rather than scapegoating one family member or even a specific family problem, experiential family therapy looks at the entire family system. Several other approaches to family therapy have drawn heavily from Whitaker's theories.