2019 - 2020 Professional Training Program

Professional Training Program

  • September 2018 to April 2019 (9/21, 10/19, 11/16, 12/21, 1/18, 2/15, 3/15, 4/19)
  • 3rd Friday of each month (eight meetings total)
  • 9 am to 12:30 pm
  • Cost: $1,400
  • Recommended for 30 hours of continuing education units

Meeting Description

Each session includes:

  • Presentations and discussion with VCFS or guest faculty
  • Group consultation with a faculty supervisor on family of origin work, clinical practice, work systems, or other applications
  • Four individual coaching with your faculty supervisor between sessions
  • Participant presentations
  • Shared reading assignments

The curriculum is designed to cover basic concepts in Bowen theory, knowledge from the sciences, and advances in research with examples from applications in family, organizations, and society. The study of one's own family is emphasized as the best place for learning to apply Bowen theory in one's field of work. Participants will have the opportunity to present their own topics of interest to the larger group.

Program Directors:

  • Erik Thompson, MA, Licensed Psychologist-Masters
  • Michael Gilman, MSW, LICSW, ACSW

Program Faculty:

  • Vermont Center for Family Studies Faculty and Invited Guests

Purpose of the Professional Training Program

The Vermont Center for Family Studies (VCFS) half-day training and supervision group is designed for individuals who want to establish or deepen their understanding of Bowen Theory. Participants will work to further personal and professional goals through the application of theory to the challenges in their family and their professional work. The mission of the Vermont Center for Family Studies is to strengthen families in our region through the education and training of professionals, leaders, and family members in Bowen Family Systems Theory. The program is designed to benefit mental health providers, business consultants, pastors/clergy, and other professionals looking to improve their ability to work with families.

Expected Outcomes

Helping Professions (Clinician, Counselor, Social Worker, Clergy)

  • Help Strengthen Families
  • Gain Superior Couples Counseling Skills
  • Coach Parents in Leadership through Self-Definition
  • Maintain Calm in Family Storms

Your Own Family

  • Strengthen Dynamic Neutrality
  • Leading by Managing Self
  • Strengthen Marriage/Partner Relationships
  • Skillfully Engage Parenting Challenges
  • Deepen Extended Family Connections


  • Gain Exceptional Consulting Skills
  • Expand Problem Analysis Expertise
  • Lend a Hand with Succession Tension

Deepen Understanding of Bowen Family Systems Theory

  • Be Able to Identify and Describe the Emotional Patterns in a Family System
  • Be Able to Apply the Concepts of Family Systems Theory to your own Family, Workplace, or Organization
  • Develop the Ability to Think More Systemically About Client Problems or Issues in the Workplace or in the Family

Trainee Responsibilities

  • Apply for program
  • Develop and engage an individualized family effort
  • Presentations at Meetings
  • Give one professional presentation to the entire group

For information about the 2018-2019 Program:

Please contact Rosalind Saunders, VCFS Executive Assistant, at vcfsoffice@gmail.com.

Questions? Contact Michael Gilman at michaelgilman@optimavt.org or Erik Thompson at erik@thompsonleadership.com