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Oral History Interview

Jay Combs

Interview with Andrea Schara, Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mr. Combs spent his career in administration in public agencies: first, as mainly a supervisor in child welfare in a large suburban county in Maryland (Prince George's) for about 15 years and, later, for about 15 years as a director of a social services department in a small, rural county (Caroline) on Maryland's Eastern Shore. His knowledge of Bowen Theory was gained mainly through regular attendance of the Wednesday Theory Meeting for 18 years under Murray Bowen and over 20 years under Michael Kerr. As he states, "what amazes me is Bowen's effort at defining as concepts processes driven by the emotional system. It's been two generations since the NIMH project, and, still, no one has come close to this."

About Mr. Combs

My background is different than most in the Bowen network in that I, a non-clinician, spent my career in administration in public agencies: first, as mainly a supervisor in child welfare in a large suburban county in Maryland (Prince George's) for about 15 years and, later, for about 15 years as a director of a social services department in a small, rural county (Caroline) on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Also, I did not attend the Bowen Center graduate program: my knowledge of Bowen Theory was gained mainly through regular attendance of the Wednesday Theory Meeting for 18 years under Murray Bowen and over 20 years undder Michael Kerr. I've been familiar with the Theory for about 45 years.

As the years pass I, as with so many others in the Bowen network, am increasingly impressed by how new scientific findings are supporting what Murray Bowen theorized decades earlier mainly by observing and thinking about human behavior. But what amazes me is Bowen's effort at defining as concepts processes driven by the emotional system. It's been two generations since the NIMH project, and, still, no one has come close to this.

Courtesy of Jay Combs.

Transcript (full text, 349 kb)