Bowen Theory Conference at Clark June 14



A DAY OF SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY –  Bowen Theory, and Evolution



Friday, June 14, 2013

 9:30AM – 4:30 PM

Clark University

Higgins University Center

Lurie Conference Room

950 Main Street

Worcester, MA 01610 – 1477

For Directions go to

Registration at the door (Please make checks payable to New England Association of Bowen Theorists, Inc.)

Conference Fee:  $65

Student Fee – No charge with student ID

Retiree:  $40

For Further information or financial need contact Ann Nicholson

ann.nicholson or call 617-296-4614

Please see our web page:

The New England Seminar on Bowen Theory provides a regional meeting ground for the study of Bowen theory and its life science orientation fostering original work and offering educational programs.

THE INDIVIDUAL AS A COMMUNITY: the microbial life within us, and how it affects our lives.   — MARY BETH SAFFO, Ph.D


Recognition of self and non-self and mechanisms for destruction of non-self are fundamental features of even the most primitive life. But symbiosis, the intimate associations between different species, is also everywhere. These interactions profoundly affect the biology of living organisms. How can symbiotic associations survive and even thrive, in the face of the universal propensity of living things to defend themselves against non-self?

The complexities of symbiotic life can persist despite, and sometimes even because of, the immune defenses that can be marshaled to thwart it. Dr. Saffo will explore the various ways of “living together” among symbiotic partnerships, and the astonishing ways in which both harmful and beneficial microbes can affect the functioning, ecology and evolution of the plants and animals (including humans) that host them.

Dr Saffo is the Program Director, Symbiosis, Defense and Self-Recognition, at the National Science Foundation. She received her Ph.D from Stanford University, and has taught at many academic institutions. She has worked as a Science Project Officer at Harvard University and an Adjunct Scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard’s Institute for Advanced study.


“Bowen theory and evolution” is informed by knowledge of other species, but focuses on human evolution. This presentation will include the following:

1. How may the processes Bowen describes, including the family as an emotional (instinctive) unit, variation in differentiation of self in development, and the regulatory function of the triangle, have contributed to the evolution of the human?

2. Has evolution toward sociality in the human occurred at both lower and higher brain structures?

3. What are the implications of the new understandings of how evolution occurs beyond accidental random mistakes in DNA?

4. What can we learn from Paul MacLean’s triune brain model about where we have come from that may indicate where we are going?

5. Does Bowen theory have a potential to contribute to the future of human evolution?

Dr. Lassiter maintains a private practice in Leverett, MA and works with families at the Child Guidance Clinic in Springfield, MA. She received her MSW from Smith College. She has studied the social and community life of microorganisms with Dr. Lynn Margulis at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  She is a member of the New England Seminar on Bowen Theory and has presented at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family as well as at other centers in the larger network.