Board of Directors

Judith Ball

Priscilla Friesen
Vice President

Libby Malone

Bill Dwyer

Joanne Bowen

Pat Comella

Ed Henley

Catherine Rakow

Andrea Schara

Kent Webb

Detailed Biographies

Judith Ball


Judy has a B.A. in Modern European History, an M.Ed., and attended an executive program at the Columbia University School of Business. She has been a high school history teacher, government employee, non-profit association executive, non-profit board president, and a consultant to large manufacturing organizations. She is retired from "active duty" in the workforce and currently edits various written materials, volunteers at the National Archives, and is currently working with the Murray Bowen Archives Project.

She has been a student of Bowen Theory since 1978. She was co-editor and contributor to The Emotional Side of Organizations , published by the Georgetown Family Center.

Priscilla J. Friesen

Vice President

Her initial introduction to Bowen family systems theory at the University of Kansas School of Social Work led her to move to Washington, D.C., and study at the Georgetown Family Center with Dr. Murray Bowen in l978. She continues to serve on the faculty of the center, now the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family, where she has held numerous administrative and teaching roles. Her professional interest is in the study of systems of the brain, physiology and the family relationships.

Ms. Friesen works with families, and has been incorporating biofeedback and neurofeedback into the consultation since l978. In 2005, she helped found The Learning Space (thelearningspacedc.com) and helped develop Navigating Systems, an innovative training program for family enterprises, their leaders and advisors.

She has been involved with the Murray Bowen Archives since 1989, when Dr. Bowen invited her to assist the Bowen family and the Bowen Center to preserve and make his collection available to the world. She continues to wear varied hats and provides an organizational perspective of 27 years on the Board.

Elizabeth (Libby) Malone, Ph.D.

Secretary; Director

Elizabeth (Libby) Malone, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist at UNC Charlotte's Counseling Center. She provides individual, group, and couples therapy to students, as well as outreach crisis intervention to the campus. She is involved in training and supervision of doctoral students in Clinical Health Psychology, Counseling, and MSW interns. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi where she studied Bowen Theory, which was the focus of her thesis and dissertation "Differentiation of Self in Emerging Adults." She completed her pre-doctoral internship at Kansas State University's Counseling Center and her post-doctoral residency at Arizona State University Counseling and Consultation before moving to Charlotte.

Since 2012 she has been involved in the archiving work in Williamsburg and she has served as Secretary and on the Executive Committee of The Murray Bowen Archives Project since 2014. In 2015, she presented for the ISS Family Institute in Hong Kong on using Bowen Theory in a school counseling setting.

William K. Dwyer, Sr.

Treasurer; Director

Dr. Bill Dwyer was practicing general and cancer surgery in Chattanooga, Tennessee, when he came to know and admire the work of Dr. Murray Bowen. Upon retiring from surgery in 1997, he embarked on five-years of post-graduate study in Bowen family systems theory at the Georgetown Family Center. His involvement with the Bowen Collection started in 2001. He completed the Archival Course at the National Archives in Washington, DC. And devoted years to creating an inventory of the audio-visual portion of Bowen's work.

He is a founding Director of the Board of The Murray Bowen Archives Project and serves as the Treasurer of Leaders For Tomorrow. He established a practice in family systems therapy in 2002 and in 2008, joined his wife Linda Dwyer and Jean Blackburn to establish The Bowen Theory Education Center of Chattanooga, which offers an annual training program and symposium in Bowen theory. Both are entering the sixth year of enrollment.

A graduate from Vanderbilt University, he earned his medical degree in 1960 from the University of Tennessee Medical Units in Memphis and interned at the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. After serving in the Corps until 1963 he entered the Surgery Residency Program at the City of Memphis Hospitals and completed a Fellowship in Surgery at the Lahey Clinic in Boston.

Joanne Bowen

Director, 2008–Present; President 2008–2016

Joanne Bowen is Senior Curator of Environmental Collections, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and Research Professor in Anthropology, The College of William and Mary. Daughter of Murray Bowen and lifelong student of Bowen Theory, she began her academic training with a B.A. in Anthropology from Beloit College, Beloit, Wisconsin, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from Brown University. Her professional background is diverse, beginning with a life-changing experience as a young anthropology student in Taiwan, and continuing as an historian and zooarchaeologist. In 1983, she established a zooarchaeology laboratory at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, where she has taught students and developed a nationally recognized region-wide database of animal bones dating from 1607 through the 19th century. Grounded by her father's interest in the environment and societal emotional process, she has pursued expanding his concept by exploring the diversity of the human relationship with the earth as a natural occurrence. Her father's request that she assume responsibility for ensuring the preservation and access of his archives at the National Library of Medicine has become her passion, an opportunity where she could draw on her historical and curatorial background to bring his archives to life.

Patricia A. Comella, J.D.

Director, 2008-Present; Vice President, 2008-2016

Pat Comella's acquaintance with Bowen theory began in 1966, but she began serious study of the theory in 1980. She has integrated Bowen theory into her professional life, including the practice of administrative law and the conduct of multi-national negotiations to establish international standards of conduct involving peaceful uses of the atom.

She started her federal government career as a mathematician at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. She later became a Charter Member of the Senior Executive Service while at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. At the State Department, she served as Vice Consul of the US Consulate in the Azores Portugal and as a Foreign Affairs Officer in the Bureau of Nonproliferation, receiving the department's Superior Honor Award for her contributions to negotiating the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.

A faculty member at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family in Washington, D.C. since 1993, she has written and presented extensively about the application of Bowen theory to the study of societal issues and the human's relationship to the earth. Currently, she is working toward development of a theory of society as an emotional system. Many of her writings (and photographs) can be found at Choptank Perspectives (https://choptankperspectives.wordpress.com/) .

The Rev. Edward J. Henley


The Rev. Ed Henley brings experience as a parish priest, and as a long-term student of Bowen Family Systems Theory. He studied with Rabbi Edwin Friedman from 1987 until Rabbi Friedman's death in 1996. He is a founding member of the ongoing Clergy Voyagers group which studies and presents Bowen Theory as it pertains to congregations. He is currently participating in the Post-Graduate Program of the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family and was recently a presenter at a Clergy Day sponsored by the Bowen Center in Washington, DC.

His parish experience includes interim service in eight congregations, as well as a pastorate of sixteen years (1997-2013) which included the merger of two congregations, sale of properties, and the building of a new campus. He is a graduate of the General Theological Seminary, NYC (1978) and New College, Sarasota, FL (1972).

His understanding is that Bowen Theory focuses us on our own growth (which is the hardest work of all). It can give us a way to understand how religious organizations function, and how clergy can live and lead in these emotional systems.

Catherine Rakow, MSW


Catherine M. Rakow is an explorer of the ideas contained in Bowen family systems theory with interests in the history of the development of the ideas and in mining the Bowen archives to more deeply develop her own understanding of the theory and its application.

After receiving her MSW from the University of Pittsburgh, she was on the staff at St. Francis Psychiatric Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA. In 1987, she joined the faculty at the Western PA Family Center, coordinated the Basic Seminar there and served on the board. She remains involved as a guest lecturer in the seminar and as a presenter on her archival work at the annual symposium.

Mrs. Rakow has over 20 years' experience, in three distinct phases, with Bowen archival materials: 1) developing a catalog of materials from the 1954-59 NIMH research Bowen conducted; 2) reviewing the professional materials located at the National Library of Medicine; and 3) most recently, organizing and implementing the first phase in the processing of Bowen family archive materials at Williamsburg, Virginia for preparation for transfer to NLM.

In 2004, Mrs. Rakow received the Caskie Research Award given by The Bowen Center for the Study of the Family.

Andrea M. Schara


Andrea M. Schara was a student of Dr. Murray Bowen at the Georgetown Family Center, working closely with him from 1976 until he died in 1990. As the audio-visual coordinator at the center, she frequently photographed Dr. Bowen and taped many of his presentations. In 1992, she was appointed to the faculty of the Georgetown Family Center, where she supervised the special post-graduate training until 2003.

She has written extensively on Bowen theory, publishing papers on AIDS, biofeedback and leadership in organizations. "The Family Emotional Unit and Responses to HIV/AIDS" was selected for presentation by the Office on AIDS at the National Institute of Mental Health's second annual meeting in 1994.

Currently, she is on the faculty of Navigating Systems, in Washington, D.C., and is a founding board member of the Murray Bowen Archives Project. She writes the Your Mindful Compass blog and recently published her book, Your Mindful Compass: Breakthrough Strategies For Navigating Life/Work Relationships in Any Social Jungle . She lives in Darien, Connecticut, and coaches families using Bowen theory and neurofeedback training. She also teaches in both Washington, D.C. and Connecticut.

Kent E. Webb, LCSW


Kent Webb, LCSW is an executive coach, leadership consultant, and mental health professional. He owns Webb Associates and The Practice of Inclusion, LLC. Webb Associates, located in Denver, CO, is an outgrowth of a unique career experience spanning the business world and mental health profession.

He earned a MSW from the University of Kansas, received training in Bowen theory at the Georgetown Family Center, Georgetown University, and earned a Multidimensional Leadership Certificate from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He studied with Dr. Murray Bowen for three years and was coached by him for five years. He has presented papers at conferences at the Bowen Center, in Washington, D.C.; the Family Center for Consultation, in Illinois; and the Western Pennsylvania Family Center, in Pittsburgh. His area of interest is the gay male's development of self from a Bowen theory perspective.

The mayor of Denver recently appointed him to the city's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Commission. Mr. Webb also has chaired several organizations, including The Alexander Foundation, a statewide non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to the Colorado LGBT community, and Foothills Academy, a private K-12 school.