By Jenny Brown
Reviewed by Jan Stone
There may be no more challenging pursuit than managing relationships, and there is certainly no shortage of recommendations on how to do so. In Growing Yourself Up: How to Bring Your Best to All of Life’s Relationships, mental health counselor Jenny Brown wants us to look within at how we can develop our own maturity as we interact with others. As director of The Family Systems Institute in Australia, she uses the Bowen family systems theory as her base.
Developed by psychiatrist and researcher Murray Bowen, the theory draws from Bowen’s work beginning in the 1950s. As Brown writes,“In recent years Bowen’s concept of ‘differentiation of self’ — which describes different levels of maturity in relationships — has been shown by researchers to be related to important areas of wellbeing, including marital satisfaction, and the capacity the handle stress, make decisions and manage social anxiety.”