The mission of the Center for the Study of Human Systems is to teach proficiency in Bowen family systems theory, to disseminate information about the theory, and to produce leaders who can use systems thinking in their lives, work and families, thus bringing it into the culture. 

The Center began in 1998 when a major denomination in Virginia asked Dr. Roberta Gilbert to design a leadership training program for its ministers. "Extraordinary Leadership Seminar" began the next year and, from the beginning, was open to clergy of all denominations and faiths.

Increasingly, in recent years, non-clergy leaders have participated in Extraordinary Leadership Seminars.  They reported with excitement the same benefits as the clergy:  the ability to manage themselves in their growing organizations' emotional challenges, as well as guidelines for leading themselves and their organizations to better overall functioning.

The responses have been overwhelming.  They credit the seminar with "making it possible to stay in ministry," "giving them relationship skills they did not have," and "showing how to manage themselves when the congregation becomes intense, angry, or blaming."  Many claim a richer, more fulfilling family life that, of course, has a great effect on their ministry. To see what past participants have to say, click here.

This year, there will be an advanced seminar in Falls Church, VA, for those who have completed the three-year cycle of Extraordinary Leadership Seminar.

In addition to the seminars, the Center produces teaching materials such as textbooks, popular books, and papers on various aspects of Bowen family systems theory.  Its faculty members are available and active in speaking at various events.