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The Best Type of Emotional Reactivity: A Hypothetical Positive Theological Expansion of Bowen’s Anxiety Binders


Positive psychology challenges clinicians to study and promote positive competence. In response, this neo-Bowenian study extends Bowen Theory’s anxiety binders through the positive spiritual language of happiness and joy binders. Emotional reactivity that fuels anxiety binders is redefined as courageous vitality with happiness and joy binders. Conflict settles as a living tension that leads to calm harmony. Distancing moves toward a differentiated participation resulting in compassionate joy. Internalization reforms into a sense of blessedness that inspires hope-filled-ness. Child focus attention shifts to the ultimate concern that extends to multidimensional love. Promoting positive spiritual language for deficit-based definitions provide clinicians and pastoral professionals alike with a means to describe positive models of intervention and change. This research supports the study of positive perspectives promoted by Positive Psychology, extends Bowen Theory through spiritual and positive definitions, and furthers the theology of Paul Tillich through contemporary clinical dialogue. Bill presented this paper in 2008 at the Center for Family Consultation’s Faculty Theory Day.