Bowen Family System, Interpersonal, & Intrapersonal Counseling

Bowen Family System, Interpersonal Counseling, & Intrapersonal Counseling

Psychotherapies Overview

There is a large diversity of psychotherapies that differ in their approach to treatment. Three well-known forms of psychotherapy include the Bowen Family System, Interpersonal Counseling, and Intrapersonal Counseling (Griffin, 1993).

The Bowen’s Family System is a psychodynamic therapy system based on family interactions. This system is founded on the concept that families are the cause of psychological distress in individuals.

Families and other social groups tremendously affect how people think, feel, and act, but individuals vary in their susceptibility to a “group think” and groups vary in the amount of pressure they exert for conformity. These differences between individuals and between groups reflect differences in people’s levels of differentiation of self (Bowen Center, 2014).

It is believed that families create psychological dysfunction and like a disease spread through members. This therapy system is based on treating dysfunction by treating the family. It is believed that the family must be treated rather than just the individual.

Interpersonal counseling (IPC) is a form of psychotherapy that is focused on the treatment of depression. IPC is a short-term therapy often as few as 16 sessions or less (WebMD, 2014). IPC sessions work by focusing on symptoms, triggers, and education concerning psychological disorders (mostly depression). IPC therapy provides the benefit of providing fast relief for patients (WebMD, 2014).

Interpersonal counseling is a longer-term form of counseling. This form of psychotherapy is focused on a person’s personality and behavior. This form of psychotherapy is long-term because it requires many sessions to uncover a person’s intrapsychic conflicts (Griffin, 1993). This form of therapy is typically used with problems that are of an internal nature such as personality or cognitive dysfunction (Griffin, 1993). The primary benefit of this type of therapy is that it can discover deep-rooted long-term problems that would not be uncovered through other forms of therapy.


Bowen Center. (2014). Bowen Theory. Retrieved from Bowen Center:

Griffin, W. A. (1993). Family Therapy: Fundamentals Of Theory And Practice. Philadelphia, PA: Brunner Mazel.

WebMD. (2014). Depression Health Center: Interpersonal Therapy for Depression. Retrieved March 24, 2014, from

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Triola Vincent. Wed, Jan 06, 2021. Bowen Family System, Interpersonal, & Intrapersonal Counseling Retrieved from

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