The Center for Family Learning


In Memoriam

Murray Bowen Dies; Psychiatrist Was 77

Published: October 12, 1990, New York Times


Murray Bowen, a psychiatrist who was a leader in the use of family therapy to treat mental illness, died Tuesday at his home in Chevy Chase, Md. He was 77 years old. He died of lung cancer, a spokeswoman for Georgetown University Medical Center said.

Dr. Bowen developed the theory that the family as an emotional unit governed individual development and behavior. He integrated the concept into his treatment of schizophrenic patients and their parents while at the National Institute of Mental Health from 1954 to 1959.

In 1959 he joined the Georgetown University Medical Center as a professor of clinical psychiatry and director of family programs. He organized the American Family Therapy Association. He wrote ''Family Therapy in Clinical Practice.''

A graduate of the University of Tennessee Medical School, he was in the Army Medical Corps in World War II.

He is survived by his wife, LeRoy; three daughters, Susan Manne of Cincinnati, Joanne Gaynor of Williamsburg, Va., and Kathleen Noer of Frederick, Md.; a son, Charles of Seattle; two brothers, W. Roy of Fripp Island, S.C., and Jess of Waverly, Tenn.; two sisters, Margaret Wollam and Frances Hutchison, both of Waverly; and four grandchildren.