A Note about Interpretations
Mr. Thomas Ambrose Bowen was a man with a gift - the gift of healing - sensing what
the body needed and doing it.
At the height of his career, he was scheduling sixty to one hundred people a day,
treating some thirteen thousand a year. Truly amazing, overwhelming, but what we
easily forget is that this was at the height of his career.
Mr. Bowen spent his life developing this work. It didn't happen overnight. It was
constantly undergoing improvement - changing and evolving until his death.
Unfortunately we no longer have Tom Bowen to refer to. What we have now are interpretations
of his work as seen by others. It is a fact of human nature that interpretations
are always modified by their interpreter and then again by the mind of the listener.
What I am telling you is that there is no pure Bowen. Pure Bowen died along with
Tom in 1982. Since then an ever-widening spectrum of interpretations have developed.
You, as a patient or student, must choose which interpretation fits you and will
give you the most valuable understanding of Mr. Bowen's work.
At one end of the pendulum is the strict interpretation that insists on teaching
"pure" Bowen. Every move must be done precisely as they believe Mr. Bowen did them
and that a Bowen treatment done in San Francisco should be identical to one done
in New York. This is a rote learning approach. At the other end of the spectrum
is the Guru interpretation. Mr. Bowen is seen as a mystical energy guru who had
blue fire from his fingertips and held immense cosmic power that can be drawn on
by those who are in tune. I have been involved in Bowen Therapy ever since it first
appeared in America in 1989. I have seen and dealt with the entire spectrum of Bowen
interpretations and have found some common problems with all of them.
- It has always been taught as a series of more or less unconnected procedures - which
leaves the student on his own to try to put it in order - to develop a treatment
and make it useable. This is frustrating and overwhelming to most students.
- No matter who teaches the modality, the moves have all been modified by the teachers.
Even those who insist they are teaching "pure" Bowen have changed the moves to fit
their teaching style. Mr. Bowen himself developed several procedures to solve the
same problem and often showed each of his six students a distinctly different approach
for the same problem.
Here is my interpretation based on these facts:
- I have been involved with Bowen Therapy since it first appeared in America in 1989.
- I am among the first five hundred Bowen Therapists worldwide.
- I started the first commercially located Bowen Therapy office in North America in
- I began teaching the first, and to my knowledge, only available weekly basic review
and practice class in 1994.
- I am the first Bowen Therapy Teacher to be certified by the State of California.
- At one time 72% of all people practicing Bowen Therapy in the United States had
attended my classes.
- Bowen Therapy has been my sole income for over twenty years.
- I am the only Bowen Therapist to be inducted into "Who's Who in America".
I have said all that to say this: Tom Bowen was a gifted person - but no more. He
was a human being just like you or me. We can't turn you into a Tom Bowen clone
because your gift is not the same - neither is anyone else's. I have never met a
Bowen practitioner or teacher who ever treated sixty to one hundred people in a
single day, furthermore continually.
So - we will accept human nature, knowing that interpretations are all there is
and develop ours to teach you not just how Tom Bowen treated people, but why his
approach works. Realizing that we don't have blue sparks frorn our fingers, we will
give you the foundation, the basic toolbox to develop your gift.
My approach allows the therapist to be effective while learning this craft yet promotes
the development of the individual or intuitive gifts possessed by all of us.
It has always been my belief that there are people out there who, with a little
help, could be just as effective as Tom Bowen.
You are not here by accident!