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Ed Friedman



Faculty Writings

Selected Readings from A Failure of Nerve

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With the power of societal, family and work system anxiety, one's response is a sacred resource. Self-defined leadership is the capacity to define oneself, regulate one's reactions to others, and to increase one's threshold of pain while learning to enjoy the pinch and challenge of change.

This leadership brings presence and vision to an organization and family, as does the brain to the body. It promotes health and a clearer, calmer, more expansive view of the future. Leadership is critical in promoting and protecting the growth, survival and life of the leader and other systems. The capacity of a leader to manage self, not others, is a powerful determinant of how well a system functions - be it an organization, a body, or a family.

The Center for Family Process promotes the learning and the application of Bowen Theory and the leadership ideas of Ed Friedman to families and work systems. With the rising anxiety and increased complexity of life and relationships, this theoretical framework provides a way to think about these forces, and to cultivate a more thoughtful plan for one's professional and personal life.

At the heart of Bowen Theory, and life itself, is the challenge of being a separate self while being a part of a relationship system. An integral part of the program is to encourage participants to define themselves more clearly in their work and family of origin while examining the interconnected issues in both systems. It is this effort that will result in the deepest level of learning and change.

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Last update - June 29, 2023