Scenes from a Garden — In Anticipation of Spring — Greetings in Green   Leave a comment

Each year I wrestle with how to greet the New Year with joyful tidings of hope. I go through my photographs searching for inspiration. Sometimes it is really hard to find inspiration in them.

This past year, however, the garden spoke to me profusely; that is, the flowers and insects, along with a few predators, spoke to me of life’s interdependencies. I sent slightly different versions to family, friends and colleagues.

December drifted into January, February and now March. I thought the greetings had been overtaken by events, with Spring just days away.

I awoke today to St. Patrick’s Day and the deepest, heaviest snow we had experienced along our shores this winter. Suddenly, the greetings seemed both relevant and hopeful: a symphony in images and words on the day when everyone wears green and an optimism that spring indeed was almost here.

Celebrate with green! Enjoy!

Scenes from a Garden-as we await spring


Chapter 4, “The Power of Bowen Theory to Address Public Policy Questions”   Leave a comment

This is the fourth in a series of articles published in the quarterly publication, Family Systems Forum, of the Center for Natural Systems and the Family ( It is part of an ongoing (perhaps interminable) effort to work toward a beginning theory of society as an emotional system within the conceptual framework in which Murray Bowen developed the theory that bears his name (Bowen family systems theory). This article, written in two installments, covers quite a bit of territory (from Dorchester County, Maryland to the Middle East and back to my own neighborhood along the Choptank River at the entrance to Jenkins Creek).

The first installment is entitled, “The Power of Bowen Theory to Address Public Policy Questions”; the second, “Formulating Public Policy in Times of Regression.”

You might not agree with what I have written, but I hope you find it stimulating. Either way, I would appreciate any thoughts you might have on the article.

Without further ado, here it is:

Chapter 4

Posted March 17, 2014 by pacomella in Uncategorized

Storm over the Choptank at Hambrooks Bay–May 25, 2009   Leave a comment

Storm over the Choptank–Hambrooks Bay–25 May 2009

Posted September 6, 2012 by pacomella in eastern shore of the chesapeake, Photos

Chapter 3, “Functions of Social Groups”   Leave a comment


     This article was first published in the Summar 2012 issue (Volume 14, Number 12) of Family Systems Forum, a quarterly publication of the The Center for the Study of Natural Systems and the Family (, P.O. Box 701187, Houston, TX 77270-1187. The article is based on the keynote presentation I made at Annual Conference of CSNSF’s  Programs at the Border in El Paso, Texas, April 27, 2012. Entitled, “Relationships in Today’s Family, Work, and Society,” the conference offered a perspective on the complex problems in the world today, for which there are no simple answers. Conference presentations, including the keynote, examined the contributions that Bowen family systems theory might make to understanding complex human problems. Other conference presentations are found in either the Spring or Summer 2012 issues. As the title of this posting indicates, it is one of a series of papers I have written as part of moving toward a beginning theory about society as an emotional system and applying that theory to understanding complex societal questions.


      The astronaut, Neil Armstrong, marked his first step – the first human step – on the Moon with the words, “One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.” That momentous step took place on July 20, 1969. As with so many nodal events, I remember exactly where I was at the time and who was with me. I was sitting with my husband in the living room of my home in Bethesda, Maryland, holding my infant son, who was three months old to the day.
At the time, I was working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, during the early days of very large computers. I stand in awe of what we now know of Planet Earth, the solar system, near and far galaxies and far reaches of the universe, compared to what we knew and could do then. Out of my NASA experience I know the cumulative and transformative power of small steps. Indeed, throughout the ages, the cumulative effect of small steps has shaped our planet and its myriad inhabitants since life on Earth began.
More recently, remembrance of that day has contributed to my thinking of how small steps over time can make big differences in the functioning of the social groups to which one belongs. Bowen family systems theory offers ideas about taking such steps.
This article will explore this theme, with a focus on families, communities, congregations, society, and the social and physical environments within which such groups function and interrelate. Specifically, it will consider:
• reasons for the existence of and benefits from belonging to social groups;
• rules for within- and between-group engagement;
• engaging reciprocally – leading and following;
• Threat and response to threat, both internal and external, and disruption thereof;
• getting back on course following stumbles; and
• recognizing the doable.

Reasons for Existing, Benefits of Belonging

      Human families serve as fundamental units for ensuring the survival of the human species, one of the most social of the mammalian social species on Earth. A member of the human species cannot survive without being part of a family (or family substitute) for part if not all of its life. From an infant or young child’s perspective, its family exists to provide for its survival, security and wellbeing. Just look at the mother-infant relationship and the context for earliest childhood development!
When I was the mother of an infant, this last point was not so clear as it is now that I have an eighteen-month-old granddaughter, Sarah. My son had a birth defect that presented drinking and eating challenges for him and challenges for me in successfully delivering the nourishment. The obstetrician who delivered him did not think he could nurse and took measures to interrupt the process of lactation. Feeding him was a major affair that left both him and me exhausted and me with a mess to clean up before the next feeding, a few hours hence. The effort to make sure he thrived physically did not leave much time for observation of the mother-infant relationship!
In contrast, during our visits with Sarah and her parents and maternal grandmother, we can observe the marvels of the mother-infant relationship and the way parents (and grandparents) provide a central context for early childhood development. Particularly apparent is the function of the primary caretakers in buffering the developing child’s contact with the broader social (and physical) environment.
Further, nurturing human offspring does not stop when mother’s milk does. Learning basic rules of engagement to become a competent, responsible adult takes a long, long time. Just think of how unending the growing up years seem from a child’s perspective, with so many rules to learn about belonging to, and being a member in good standing of, family, community, school, congregation, etc., and the larger physical and social environments with which one interacts.

Difficulties of Adolescence

      Adolescence is perhaps the most difficult time of all. Reproductive hormones have kicked in and energy seems boundless. Good sense and responsible adult behavior often lag far behind action!
The human is not alone when it comes to navigating the treacherous terrain of adolescence. Becoming adult in the monkey and hyena worlds is fraught with life-threatening danger. For example, at adolescence male baboons must leave their natal home and find a new home in another troop. Some do not make the journey successfully, perishing during the migration.
In her book, Almost Human: A Journey into the World of Baboons, Strum (1987) describes adolescent baboon Ray’s artful use of triangles and interlocking triangles with adults in the target troop. He begins with an infant, whose mother remains peripheral to the troop’s social gatherings. (This is also discussed in Comella, 2001). Suomi (2010) has described variation in risk-taking propensities among juvenile male rhesus macaques. Those exhibiting riskier, less socially-savvy behaviors, specifically, impulsivity and inappropriate aggression, were less successful in migration and integrating into new troops.
Princess, a juvenile hyena, became heir to the alpha position in her troop when her mother, the reigning matriarch, was killed. (In hyena society, leadership passes from mother to daughter.) Princess had insufficient experience to lead her troop in the hunt, endangering its survival. She was ousted and ostracized, dooming her to almost certain death. (NGS DVD, 2005)
Family pets have to learn to become “good” pets, as I know all too well working with Moby, an eight-month old Lab-Terrier puppy. Moby (and his mistress) struggle to finish his “Puppy Good Manners” training. We are months behind and have a long way to go! (This process is in the relationship: neither of us can succeed without the cooperation, coordination and collaboration of the other.)

Health of Families, Health of Communities

     Human families serve as sources of labor to meet the needs of the communities and societies of which they are members. To be robust enough to carry out the labor supply function, human families require access to resources for survival, security and wellbeing. Viewed from these perspectives, human families serve as fundamental economic units of the communities and societies of which they are members. (Comella, 2009; 2010) In other words, the health of families and the health of the communities and societies of which they are part intertwine inextricably.

Rules of Engagement

      Both human and nonhuman social groups need rules of engagement that take account of purpose and context. By “rules of engagement” I mean ways by which social groups order their within-group relationships, as well as their relationships with other groups. Members of social groups must govern relationships among themselves in order to accomplish the group’s reason for being. Remember that, at a biological level, individuals belonging to a social species must be members in good standing of the unit that has been constituted to ensure collective survival, security and wellbeing. Princess did not have what it took to be her mother’s worthy successor. In contrast, Ray successfully integrated himself into his new troop, eventually becoming one of its male leaders.
I believe that all social groups, human and nonhuman, have rules of engagement, though we may not understand some of them yet. Nonetheless they do exist because they are part of the biological imperative that goes with being a member of a social species that depends more or less on membership in a social group.
The primatologist Robin I.M. Dunbar (1988) investigated why primates form social systems. All the species he studied were prey species; that is, they provided dinner for at least one other species. Some also were predatory species. (From the perspective that life supports life, the distinction between predator and prey can become blurred. Social species organize themselves both to obtain food and to avoid becoming food.) From his analyses, Dunbar concluded that:
• “Dinner” species form social groups to avoid becoming dinner.
• They have internal rules of behavior that, within limits, enable members to cooperate, collaborate and coordinate and to manage conflict.
Dunbar’s work highlights an essential benefit of being part of a social group when it is not disrupted: Members can accomplish more collectively than alone. Among the mechanisms for managing within-group conflict, Dunbar‘s analysis shows the importance of “coalitions.”
If we think of “rules of engagement” as unique to the human species, we likely will fail to see their biological necessity in promoting the health of the society and its fundamental economic units – families. The health of the parts is essential to the health of the whole, and the health of the whole is essential to the health of the parts. If we overlook the biological implications of flawed rules of engagement and governance structures, we likely will see regulatory failures in political, economic, statistical or policy terms, masking underlying threats to the society’s integrity and strength and to its families.

Obtaining, Distributing Resources

     A primary function of society is to assist in obtaining and distributing the resources needed by its members, as well as the overall society, for survival, security and wellbeing. Many contemporary rules of engagement prove insufficient to balance properly the needs of the overall society and the needs of its members. When the proper balance between a society and its members is not struck, the system’s functioning becomes vulnerable to disruption and a loss of adaptive capacity.
Societies establish rules of engagement to govern relationships among members, especially the social units comprising the society. In a reciprocal relationship, a multi-generational society needs members and members need the society. The society also establishes rules of engagement to govern between-society behaviors. Treaties, conventions and international agreements provide examples of societies’ seeking common ground to regulate behaviors amongst themselves to benefit all parties.
The global financial meltdowns, the collapse of the mortgage market and huge increases in foreclosures, the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in March 2011, and the April 2010 catastrophic failure of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico ( are recent examples of societal governance that has failed to carry out its primary function, thereby threatening the survival, security and wellbeing of the society and its members. In the face of such dramatic failures, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that it is biologically essential that human societies appropriately and adequately regulate within-group and between-group behavior and functioning.

Religion and Cooperation

     Based on the work of evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson, I believe that religions provide a good source for understanding rules of engagement. (Wilson, 2002) Such rules form an essential component of religion and promote cooperation, collaboration and coordination within social groups following such rules. Examining the question of whether religion has adaptive value evolutionarily, Wilson first offered a primer on evolutionary biology and how behaviors can be “adaptive at the group level.” He then examined a spectrum of religions in terms of organizing social groups to cooperate, collaborate and coordinate, thereby gaining an adaptive advantage over social groups that do not follow such rules.
The origins of religion go way back in human history and, apparently, pre-history. Religions attempt to explain human encounters and relationships with the divine, the cosmos, the universe, and the awesome forces of Nature. They organize human-to-human relationships, as well as relationships beyond the human. Arguments have been made that religion, when broadly defined, might be universal in the human species. (Barbara J. King, 2002; Karen Armstrong, 1993.) Humans seem to have an almost innate need to define their relationships to Nature and to ineffable experiences that seem beyond words.
The experience of the divine appears to be simultaneously transcendent and grounded. For example, the poetry of the Bible tries to capture the human’s encounter with and conception of the divine. Many aboriginal peoples have rites of passage that require a transcendent experience in order to pass into adulthood and assume its responsibilities.
Yet, the experience is also grounded. The French have coined a word, terroir, to
describe the special characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place bestow upon particular produce such as wine, coffee or tea. Agricultural sites in the same region share similar soil, weather conditions, and farming techniques, which all contribute to the unique qualities of the crop. It can be loosely translated as “a sense of place,” which is embodied in certain characteristic qualities, the sum of the effects that the local environment has on the production of the product. ( (last modified on 3 June 2012 at 21:42); printed 4 June 2012)
The word terroir beautifully sums up Daniel Hillel’s thesis (2006) that the essential character of the ancient religions of the peoples of the Near East, inhabiting the stories in the Hebrew Bible, were deeply influenced by the physical environments they inhabited. These “several domains . . . differed from one another in climate, topography, soils, vegetation and human habitability.” (2) Hillel delineates “five natural ecological domains, each of which spans a range of conditions . . . : the human highlands, the semiarid steppes, the river valleys, the seacoasts, and the deserts . . . [as well as] “two synthetic cultural domains: the urban and the exile domains.” (27) The ancient peoples adapted to those disparate ecological domains, shaping their cultures, including their religious experiences. The ancient Israelites, over their turbulent history, sojourned in each of the domains and dwelt amidst the people who occupied them. They effected a synthesis across cultures, including the religions, ultimately arriving at a concept of what Hillel terms “ethical monotheism,” marked by a belief in one Creator and a universally applicable set of ethical principles to govern human-human relationships and the human’s encounter with that Creator.

Engaging Reciprocally – Leading and Following

     Returning to Dunbar’s analysis, which stresses the importance of coalitions, what is a “coalition”? At its simplest, a coalition is a “triangle” – a three-party emotional system – the same mechanism Bowen observed in human emotional functioning. Bowen went further, however. He identified the triangle as the basic building block of all human relationship systems, i.e., social groups. And he observed how triangles function to keep a system going, especially in managing threats and responding to them.
According to Bowen theory, the functioning of human social systems can be understood in terms of triangles. Working in triangles, irrespective of whether one occupies a designated “leadership” position in the system, offers the potential to begin interrupting and perhaps even turning around disruption within the system. (Bowen, 1978, 478-480). This is extraordinarily important, as it provides a way for any motivated party to begin a process to change the functioning of an entire emotional system over time by identifying a context for functioning effectively as an agent of change. This is especially important in identifying a threat and preventing or mitigating its consequences.


     Threat focuses attention and requires resources and energy for response. Humans are adapted evolutionarily to respond to imminent threat automatically, with some likelihood of success. However, responding successfully to chronic sustained threat presents different challenges that are less readily and successfully addressed automatically. Chronic sustained threat distracts, disrupts and diverts. It tends to intensify reactions when responses fail to make the threat go away. Under intensifying conditions of chronic sustained threat, it becomes harder and harder to find a viable path forward. Such failure further compromises the capacity for successful response.
Bowen theory distinguishes between response to imminent threat and response to chronic, sustained threat. Imminent threats are called “real threats” (meaning that they almost certainly will materialize). Responses to real threats are categorized as “acute anxiety.” Chronic sustained threats are called “imaginary threats” (meaning that they may not materialize at all). Responses to those are categorized as “chronic anxiety.”
Intermediate between imminent threats and threats more unlikely to occur are threats for which it is useful to maintain preparedness to respond. Natural disasters such as hurricanes along the Atlantic Coast or Gulf of Mexico, tornadoes in the Great Plains, and annual flooding of the Mississippi or Red Rivers are good examples. In other natural systems, such as predator-prey systems, the interrelated systems mutually and reciprocally organize themselves around the other system.

The Eighth Concept

     The eighth concept of Bowen theory, called “emotional process in society,” describes what happens to a social system under conditions of chronic sustained threat as “regression,” a tendency toward erosion of functioning. In a regression, the capacity of a system to make principled, thoughtful decisions to address a threat increasingly diminishes over time. The ineffectiveness of the response fuels and accelerates the regression.
Associated with the societal concept is the societal regression hypothesis concerning human-caused threats to the environment that threaten the future of the human species itself. (For further discussion, see Comella, 2009; 2010). I believe threats that disrupt the functioning of the family as the basic economic unit of a society threaten the future of the society. Hence, these threats have implications for the survival of the species, at least within the environment in which the disruption takes place.

Interrupting Regression/Getting Back on Course

     Application of the principles of the triangle has the potential to interrupt and perhaps turn around a regression. “All” it takes is someone who can:
• see accurately the role he/she is playing in the triangle;
• work consciously and deliberately to control [and interrupt] the tendency for automatic response to the perceived threat; and
• remain in emotional contact with the other members of the triangle.
Bowen identified two “catches” however:
• observation and control; and
• remaining in emotional contact with the other parties in the triangle.
Of observation and control, Bowen wrote:
“The observation and control are equally difficult. Observation is not possible until one can control one’s reactions sufficiently to be able to observe. The process of observation allows for more control, which, in turn, in a series of slow steps, allows for better observation. The process of being able to observe is the slow beginning toward moving one small step toward getting one’s self “outside” an emotional system. It is only when one can get a little outside that it is possible to observe and to begin to modify an emotional system.” (480, emphasis added).
Of remaining in emotional contact, he wrote:
When there is finally one who can control his emotional responsiveness and not take sides with either of the other two, and stay constantly in contact with the other two, the emotional intensity within the twosome will decrease and both will move to a higher level of differentiation.” (Id., emphasis added.)

Recognizing the Doable

     I would add one other “catch”: Context counts. I return to the words of Neil Armstrong as he took the first human step on the moon: “One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.” I firmly believe that it is small steps that add up to change.
When one focuses solely on a “big picture,” trying to capture the complexity of problems confronting the human species in the second decade of the twenty-first century, the task can become overwhelming because it is so far beyond the capacity of one individual. Yet, not having a broad enough perspective will provide too narrow a focus. How does one strike an appropriate balance?
It lies in finding the doable. If the basic building block of human societies is the triangle and if one is to find what is doable for self, then beginning with first one and then a second other to chart a path forward becomes the way to begin. What task has one set for self, and what two other persons would likely share that vision? With whom might one walk forward to begin to find a common ground for collective action in which the cumulative effects of small steps can make a difference over time?

Natural Case Studies

     Identifying “natural” case studies that illustrate the principles Bowen enunciated about changing the functioning within a system can help one apply those principles in one’s sphere of influence and in gradually enlarging that sphere to find common ground for building a well-founded basis for thoughtful collective action. By “natural” case studies, I mean ones that are not constructed to illustrate points of Bowen theory but nonetheless describe the work of parties that seem to have an innate grasp of how triangles function and can apply that knowledge to change a system.
One such study concerns an American woman, who, over the course of decades, transformed the way the Tijuana Jail functioned: The Prison Angel: Mother Antonia’s Life of Service in a Mexican Jail (Mary Jordan & Kevin Sullivan, 2005). The title of another book says it all: The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time. (Wilson, 2011) Lastly, Ronald W. Richardson’s case study about positive change in a racially polarized situation provides a third example of how small steps add up to giant leaps (2012, 15-25).


     Armstrong, K. 1993. A History of God: The 4000-year quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. New York: Ballantine Books.
Bowen, M. 1978. Family therapy in clinical practice. New York: Jason Aronson, Inc.
Comella, P. 2001. “Triangles: The ‘Glue’ of Bowen Family Systems Theory.” Family Systems: A Journal of Natural Systems Thinking in Psychiatry and the Sciences, 6:1, 67-76.
Comella, P. 2009. Emotional process in society: the eighth concept of Bowen family systems theory. Family Systems Forum, 11:2, 1-2, 7-9.
Comella, P. 2010. “Some thoughts on a beginning theory about society as an emotional system.” Family System Forum, 12:1, 1-2, 5-11.
Dunbar, R. 1988. Primate Social Systems. Ithaca, New York: Comstock Publishing Associates.
Hillel, D. 2006. The natural history of the Bible: An environmental exploration of the Hebrew Bible. New York: Columbia University Press.
Jordan, M. and K. Sullivan. 2005. The Prison Angel: Mother Antonia’s Journey from Beverly Hills to a Life of Service in a Mexican Jail. New York: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Joubert, Dereck and Beverly (Producers). 2005. Eternal Enemies: Lions and Hyenas [Video Series]. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society;
King, B. 2002. Evolving God: A Provocative View on the Origins of Religion. New York: Doubleday.
Richardson, R.W. 2012. Polarization and the Healthier Church: Applying Bowen Family Systems Theory to Conflict and Change in Society and Congregational Life. (Available through
Strum, S. 1987. Almost Human: A Journey into the World of Baboons. New York: W.W. Norton and Company.
Suomi, S. February 15, 2010. “A View from Longitudinal Studies of Other Primates.” In Center for the Study of the Family’s Border Programs’ Conference, Exploring the Roots of Violence and the Roots of Cooperation [Video Series]. (Available from the Center for the Study of Natural Systems and the Family, P.O. Box 701187, Houston TX 77270-1187; (
Wilson, D. 2002. Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion and the Nature of Society. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Wilson, D. 2011. The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time. New York: Little, Brown and Company.

Cardinal through My Window–February 2010 Blizzard   Leave a comment

Posted September 6, 2012 by pacomella in Uncategorized

Societal Emotional Process: Implications for Leaders Functioning in Triangles   Leave a comment

On January 31, 2011, I served as invited Guest Lecturer at the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center’s Advanced Clergy Clinic in Family Emotional Process. The Center is located in Lombard, IL. A non-profit ministry, LMPC works to “encourage the nonviolent transformation of conflict in relationships in homes, workplaces, schools, churches, and throughout our world.  Our programs and resources address ways of resolving conflicts and building healthier relationships in all of these various settings.” (quoted from the Center’s website:

I arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport the day before, to reports that a massive storm was headed toward Chicago and points East.  Against this backdrop and on a beautiful January day, I presented a series of 4 Powerpoint lectures that lasted well into evening.  The link to the lectures is  lmpc presentation-31 jan 2011-revised 14 feb.

February 1st brought rapidly deteriorating weather and no taxi to take me to the airport. Finally, one arrived at the hotel, and, as the blizzard bore down on Chicago, my plane took off, one of the last out of the airport before it closed. The storm and I arrived at Dulles a short time apart–I, first. Continuing East just ahead of the storm, I headed out of town, across the Chesapeake Bay and Choptank River and watched, from the security of my home, what I was missing to the West.

I have been reluctant to post the lectures because they are a work in progress, but they do represent my evolving thinking. So I decided to put them up even though their main focus–the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict-continues to unfold, as does the Arab Spring, both born out of massive regression operating at the biological level.

The lectures describe my efforts to move toward development of a theory of society as an emotional system, based on the theoretical framework of Bowen family systems theory, a natural systems theory of human emotional functioning developed by the psychiatrist, Murray Bowen (1913-1990).  The set of lectures is partitioned into the following sections: Overview, Part 1—General Background, Part 2 – Theoretical Framework for Developing Natural Systems Theories, Part 3 – Case Study – The Triangle in Diplomacy, Part 4 – Interrupting a Societal Regression.

I hope one day to finish the lectures to my satisfaction. Each time I think I am almost finished, I find another unsatisfactorily addressed question, with no neat way of ending the discussion. My reading list as to January 2011 continues to grow as I search for a path forward within the theoretical framework offered by Bowen theory. Here that list as of then.

Reading List:

Bowen, J. (1990). A study of seasonality and subsistence: Eighteenth-century Suffield, Connecticut. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Brown University, Providence RI.

Bowen, J. & Andrews, S. (2007). Domesticating the native landscape: The early years at Jamestown. Presentation to the Society for Historical Archaeology., Williamsburg, VA.

Bowen, J. (2009). Human subsistence systems: family households as emotional and economic units. In Bowen Center for the Study of Family & Georgetown University Department of Sociology (Producer), Societies, families and planet earth: Exploring the connections [Video series]. (Available from the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family, 4400 MacArthur Blvd NW Suite 103, Washington, DC 20007-2521).

Bowen, M. (1978). Family therapy in clinical practice.  New York: Jason Aronson, Inc.

Braudel, F. (1985). The structures of everyday life: The limits of the possible (Vol. 1 of Civilization & capitalism 15th-18th century). New York: Harper & Row (Perennial Library edition).  

Comella, P. (2009). Emotional process in society: the eighth concept of Bowen family systems theory. Family Systems Forum, 11:2, 1-2, 7-9.

Comella, P. (2010a). “Some thoughts on a beginning theory about society as an emotional system.” Family System Forum, 12:1, pp. 1-2, 5-11.

Comella, P. (2010b). “Observing emotional functioning in human relationship systems: Lessons from Murray Bowen’s writings.” In O. Bregman & C. White (eds.) Bringing systems thinking to life: Expanding the horizons for Bowen family systems theory (pp. 3-30). New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Hillel, D. (1992). Out of the earth: Civilization and the life of the soil. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Hillel, D. (1994). Rivers of Eden: The struggle for water and the quest for peace in the Middle East. New York: Oxford University Press.

Hillel, D. (2006). The natural history of the Bible: An environmental exploration of the Hebrew Bible. New York: Columbia University Press.

Hillel, D. (2008). Soil in the environment: Crucible of terrestrial life.  Oxford, UK: Elsevier, Inc.

Hillel, D. (2009). Influence of the physical environment in the development of the peoples and societies of the Middle East. In Bowen Center for the Study of Family & Georgetown University Department of Sociology (Producer), Societies, families and planet earth: Exploring the connections [Video series]. (Available from the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family, 4400 MacArthur Blvd NW Suite 103, Washington, DC 20007-2521).

Kerr, M. & Bowen, M. (1988). Family evaluation: an  approach based on Bowen theory. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Krupnik, I. (2009). Riding the tiger of climate change: Arctic people experience and interpret their changing environment. In Bowen Center for the Study of Family & Georgetown University Department of Sociology (Producer), Societies, families and planet earth: Exploring the connections. (Available from the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family, 4400 MacArthur Blvd NW Suite 103, Washington, DC 20007-2521).

Lassiter, L. (2009, April). Are there basic characteristics of social groups to prolonged environmental stress? In Bowen Center for the Study of Family & Georgetown University Department of Sociology (Producer), Societies, families and planet earth: Exploring the connections [Video series]. (Available from the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family, 4400 MacArthur Blvd NW Suite 103, Washington, DC 20007-2521).

Marcus, A. (2007). Jerusalem 1913: the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict. New York: Penguin Viking.

Mitchell, G. (2000, 1st paperback edition). Making Peace. Berkeley, California: University of California Press.

Mitchell, G. (2010, January 6). An interview with George Mitchell, U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East. New York: Charlie Rose Inc. DVD.

Outwater, A. (1996). Water: A natural history. New York: Basic Books.

Outwater, A. (2009). The interconnection of humans and non-humans in the health of water. In Bowen Center for the Study of Family & Georgetown University Department of Sociology (Producer), Societies, families and planet earth: Exploring the connections [Video series]. (Available from the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family, 4400 MacArthur Blvd NW Suite 103, Washington, DC 20007-2521).

Pape, R. (2006). Dying to win: The strategic logic of suicide terrorism. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks.

Papero, D. (2009). Space and the strategy of life: The work of John B. Calhoun. In Bowen Center for the Study of Family & Georgetown University Department of Sociology (Producer), Societies, families and planet earth: Exploring the connections [Video series]. (Available from the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family, 4400 MacArthur Blvd NW Suite 103, Washington, DC 20007-2521).

Wilson, D. (2002). Darwin’s cathedral: Evolution, religion and the nature of society. Chicago: The University of Chicago

Wikipedia wikis for Anwar Sadat, Yitzhak Rabin, and the Arab-Israeli conflict were consulted the Part 4 background.

Texts of the peace treaties between Egypt and Israel and between Israel and the Hashmite Kingdom of Jordan can be found on the Israeli MFA site:

Conference Recordings Available: DVDs of Societies, Families and Planet Earth: Exploring the Connections from the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family, 4400 MacArthur Boulevard, NW, Suite 103, Washington, DC 20007-2521 or through the website,

Selected readings about the dynamic, unfolding history of the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Avishai, B. (2011, February 13). “A Separate Peace.” The New York Times Magazine, 36-41, 48-51. (Recent disclosures about the Olmert-Abbas negotiations of 2008)

Carter, J. (2006). Palestine Peace Not Apartheid. New York: Simon and Schuster. ( Extensive chronology and maps.)

Ross, D. (2005, 1st paperback edition). The Missing Peace: the inside story of the fight for Middle East peace. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. (Microscopic functioning in the triangles and interlocking triangles of Middle East peace negotiations.)

With this, let me end with the link to the actual presentation: lmpc presentation-31 jan 2011-revised 14 feb

Posted February 23, 2012 by pacomella in authors, societal studies with bowen theory

In My Garden: Black Swallowtail Larvae on Parsley, 08-24-2011   Leave a comment

Posted December 29, 2011 by pacomella in eastern shore of the chesapeake