Letters to My Father

A Bowen Family Systems Theory Conference about the Importance of Family Research for Strength and Resilience.

October 21, 2023, 9 AM – 4 PM
In Person: CSNSF Classroom at 731 Rutland
On-Line: Via Zoom

This program will advance the study of Bowen family systems theory and family research through the exploration of one woman’s effort to learn more about her Jewish ancestry.

Kathleen Balgley has recorded her journey in a memoir, Letters to My Father, Excavating A Jewish Identity in Poland and Belarus. Bowen theory provides a scientific basis for understanding the benefits of family research while Kathleen presents a multitude of examples of overcoming the challenges involved.  The presentations and discussions will inspire a diverse audience interested in the benefits of family research in one’s own life and family.

Letters to My Father Program

  • 9:00 – 9:30 Registration
  • 9:30 – 9:45 Welcome: Lorna Hecht Zablow
  • 9:45 – 10:15 Bowen Theory and Family Research: Victoria Harrison
  • 10:15 – 10:30 Break: Coffee and Refreshments
  • 10:30 – 11:30 Lorna Hecht interviews Kathleen Balgley about Her Family of Origin (Using a Family Diagram) and Her Family Research
  • 11:30 – 12:00 Discussion with Speakers and Audience
  • 12:00 – 1:30 Lunch on site
  • 1:30 – 2:30 Kathleen Balgley presents Her Family Research Process and Reads Excerpts from Her Book
  • 2:30 – 2:45 Break: Coffee and Refreshments
  • 2:45 – 3:30 Panel Discussion with Speakers and Audience
  • 3:30 – 4:00 Book Signing

Kathleen Balgley, Ph.D. Author

Letters To My Father: 

Excavating a Jewish Identity in Poland and Belarus


Kathleen Balgley earned her Ph.D. in Literature from the University of California, San Diego. During her academic career, she was at different times a Lecturer at UCLA Writing Programs, Associate Director of Writing at UCSD’s Sixth College, and tenured Associate Professor of English at California State University, San Luis Obispo. In 1987 Kathleen won a Fulbright award to teach in Poland, where she lived until 1989.

Lorna Hecht-Zablow MFT

Family Systems Psychotherapist


Lorna Hecht-Zablow MFT earned her master’s degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling from the University of San Diego in 1995, when she started her private practice in San Diego, CA.

Lorna attended the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family in Georgetown, D.C. from 2012 to 2015. She is on the Board and Faculty of CSNSF and a regular contributor to the Family Systems Forum and the CSNSF blog.

Date: Saturday, October 21, 2023

Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM CST
Location: 731 Rutland, Houston, Texas 77007

  • $200.00:  Early Bird Registration before 10/7/2023
  • (In-person registration will be limited to the first 30 people)
  • $220.00:  In person or online after 10/7/2023
  • $120.00:  Students and Interns
  • $25.00:    Onsite lunch
  • $15.00:     Continuing Education Credits for 5 hours

(Contact vaharrison@csnsf.org to request partial Scholarships provided by CSNSF.)

Those who are eligible for CEUs must attend each class in its entirety.  The conference coordinator will note your attendance. Those who attend online must enable video and show their name on the screen except through breaks and lunch.  An evaluation form will be provided at the end of the conference and must be returned no more than 60 days after the conference.  You will receive a CEU Certificate at that point.

Letters to My Father will be available for purchase on-site. It is also on Amazon.com.

The Family Diagram and Family Research: Tools for Working on Differentiation of Self will also be available for purchase on-site.


Online Clinical Consultation Seminar

Up to 6 participants.
2.5 hours once a month via Zoom
from September 2019 – December 2019
and January 2020 – June 2020
The exact day and time will be determined by participants who will likely be in a variety of time zones.

Online Clinical Consultation Seminar

Bowen Theory and Differentiation of Self As the Basis for Therapy

CSNSF will offer a monthly 2.5-hour seminar in a Zoom Room for clinicians to present challenging cases or research projects based upon their practice of Bowen family systems psychotherapy. Assigned reading in Family Therapy in Clinical Practice by Murray Bowen will highlight guidelines for therapists to discuss or illustrate. The Family Diagram and Family Research as Tools for Differentiation of Self by Victoria Harrison will be a springboard for discussing the challenges of practice based on extended family work as central for differentiation of self.

Presentations will be made to the faculty person while others observe and collect their thoughts and questions. Discussion will be open to others and then concluded by the faculty person. Two or three participants will present each session. Participants can plan to present every other month. There will be a stretch break in the middle of the seminar.

Participants will prepare a family diagram to accompany the presentation. Privacy and confidentiality will be maintained. No names or identifying information will be used. Participants will be responsible for obtaining a signed release if necessary.

The Online Clinical Consultation Seminar is designed for therapists who have attended the Bowen Center Postgraduate Program or a regional training program, who have participated in coaching for their own family work and who have an active clinical practice. Up to 6 participants.

Two and ½ hours once a month online via Zoom: September 27, October 25, November 22, and December 20, 2019, and January 24, February 28, March 27, April 24, May 29 and June 26, 2020. The exact day and time will be determined by participants who will likely be in a variety of time zones.


Victoria Harrison, MA, LMFT, will chair the Consultation Seminar through CSNSF, the educational program in Bowen theory she directs in Texas. Ms. Harrison has served as faculty and clinical consultant in the Bowen Center Postgraduate Program, which she directed from 2003-2008 and again from 2011-2015. She began to study Bowen theory in 1975 and had the advantage of supervision with Dr. Bowen and early faculty such as Roberta Holt and Kathleen Kerr. She continues to present her own clinical work at Bowen Center Faculty Case Conferences.

Her articles about clinical work include “A Wider Lens: Bowen Theory and a Natural Systems View of Symptoms” in Family Systems Forum, Volume XV, Number 2, p.3 and “The Difference Bowen Theory Makes in Clinical Practice: Challenges and Choices” in Family Systems, A Journal of Natural Systems Thinking in Psychiatry and the Sciences, Spring 2018, 13:2

Cost: $1,000.00 for the year can be paid by Check to CSNSF at 729 Rutland, Houston, TX 77007 or by Credit Card at www.csnsf.org. Payment plans can be discussed.

Registration: Open immediately to the first 6 appropriate clinicians. Registration is for 10 months. The sessions will not be recorded. Please contact Victoria Harrison at vaharrison@csnsf.org to register.

Bowen Theory Academy Webcast Series
Monthly Webcast

Presented by Michael Kerr, MD

This monthly 90-minute presentation and discussion will feature Michael Kerr, MD, Director of Bowen Theory Academy, or Kathleen Kerr, MSN, MA, CNS, Bowen Theory Academy Faculty. The 2019-2020 series will include lectures by Dr. Kerr and Mrs. Kerr that illustrate how theoretical concepts and principles guide the thinking of the clinician.

Bowen theory concepts describe the family as a network of interlocking relationships within a multi-generational framework. The webcasts are designed to illustrate the interplay of Bowen theory and its applications. This webcast series is primarily for helping professionals who base their work in Bowen theory who want to build upon “systems thinking.” It can be useful as well for family members who participate in family systems psychotherapy.

Michael Kerr, MD

Michael Kerr, MD is a family psychiatrist who worked with Murray Bowen for more than twenty years and succeeded Dr. Bowen as Director of Bowen Center for the Study of the Family (originally the Georgetown University Family Center) in 1990. Dr. Kerr has been Emeritus Director of the Bowen Center since January 2011 and is now living in Maine where he founded Bowen Theory Academy with three colleagues. He continues a clinical practice, presents at conferences around the country, and writes about Bowen theory and its applications. He is the author of Family Evaluation, with an afterword by Murray Bowen. (1988) And Michael Kerr, MD is writing a second book, Bowen Theory’s Secrets, available in 2019. Dr. Kerr’s research interests include cancer and family emotional process, the relationship between human emotional process and emotional process in other species, and the process of differentiation of self.

Kathleen Kerr, MSN, MA, CNS

Kathleen Kerr, MSN, MA, CNS, is a nurse clinical-specialist and has had a private practice since 1975. She was on the faculty of the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family from 1978 to 2012. She is a founding Board member of the Bowen Theory Academy where she coordinates the Family History Database Project, which collects multiple multi-generational family histories to study basic concepts in Bowen theory.

Her research interests have included: aging and the family, applying Bowen theory to organizations, the different kinds of systems thinking, mother-offspring relationships, healthcare and applying Bowen theory in the emergency room. She has been given access to the data from the longitudinal research on chimpanzees begun by Jane Goodall, Ph.D. to research the effect of mother-offspring relationships on adult behavior.

Location: CSNSF Classroom at 729 Rutland, Houston, TX
Dates and Time: 12:30 PM– 2:00 PM


  • September 20, 2019
  • October 18, 2019
  • November 15, 2019
  • December 6, 2019
  • January 17, 2020
  • February 21, 2020
  • March 20, 2020
  • April 17, 2020
  • May 15, 2020
  • June 19, 2020

Cost: $50.00 per conference or $400 for the year. (Scholarships are available.)

Registration is limited to 10. Please contact Victoria Harrison at vaharrison@csnsf.org to discuss registration. You may register for one or several or for the year.




Murray Bowen extended family systems theory in the 1970s to include the study of how societies impact and are affected by individual, family, and larger environmental forces. Population explosion, the disappearance of new lands to colonize, depletion of raw material necessary to sustain life, and a growing awareness that “spaceship earth” cannot support technology and our lifestyles are factors that Dr. Bowen identified as indicators of man’s disharmony with nature.

Those students of the Bowen theory who have a particular interest in Societal Emotional Process can use this series for further research, writing and presenting about the relationship between families, societies, and their sustaining environments.

This seminar will use the Bowen theory systems thinking, and Bowen’s theory-building method to better understand and better address social, political, and ecological challenges of increasing urgency in today’s world. Participants will examine such issues as depletion of the environment, responses to sustained anxiety, and the study of the human species adapting to its environment. Participants will be encouraged to select a focus that allows them to make use of the family diagram and family research in light of societal and environmental events in the history of their own family. 


Four 2 and ½ hour seminars will be held on Saturdays: October 5, November 2 and December 7, 2019, and January 4, 2020. The exact time will be determined depending on the participants time zones.

Ada Trillo, MA, directs the CSNSF Border Programs since 2014. She began studying Bowen Theory under Louise Rauseo co-founder of CSNSF along with Victoria Harrison. Ms. Trillo attended the Special Post-Graduate Program at the Bowen Center from 2002-2006. Since that time, Ms. Trillo has presented Bowen Systems Theory on both sides of the El Paso- Cd. Juarez Mexican Border and has written four articles for Family Systems Forum with a focus on Societal Process and issues along the Mexican Border.

Patricia Comella, JD, serves as faculty for the Societal Process Seminar. which she helped develop with Louise Rauseo in 2011. Ms. Comella has a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and is a retired member of the DC And Maryland Bars. She has been a serious student of Bowen theory since 1980, using it in personal and professional work with a focus on applications of the theory to the study and resolution of complex societal and environmental questions: with NASA (13 yrs, scientific programming); Nuclear Regulatory Commission (8 yrs, development of regulatory structure to govern high-level radioactive waste disposal); State Department (12 years, including consular work and conduct of complex bi- and multi-lateral negotiations at international level to improve nuclear security); post-retirement (consultant to Int’l Atomic Energy Agency and forums on local environmental questions).

REGISTRATION and FEES: $500 for the series of 4 seminars, 2 and ½ hours each. You may pay by credit card online or by check to CSNSF and send to 729 Rutland, Houston, TX 77007. Scholarships are available.

Four 2 and ½ hour seminars will be held on Saturdays: October 5, November 2 and December 7, 2019, and January 4, 2020. The exact time will be determined depending on the participants time zones.

The seminar is eligible for 10 CEU Hours in LPC, LMFT or Social Work.