This article uses family systems theory and Bowen family systems psychotherapy concepts to understand the nature of conflict formation during British colonialism in Cyprus. In examining ingredients of the British colonial model through family systems theory, an argument is made regarding the multigenerational transmission of colonial patterns that aid in the perpetuation of the Cyprus conflict to the present day. The ingredients of the British colonial model discussed include the homeostatic maintenance of the Ottoman colonial structure, a divide and rule policy through triangulation, the use of nationalism and triangulation in the Cypriot education system, political exploitation, and apartheid laws. Explaining how it centers on relationships and circular causality, nonsummativity and homeostasis reveals the useful nature of family systems theories in understanding conflict formation. Also, Bowenian universal forces are examined in terms of the emotional system, individuality and togetherness, and anxiety. These are coupled with six Bowenian concepts in assessing functionality and symptom formation, namely: 1) differentiation of self, 2) triangles, 3) nuclear family emotional process, 4) multigenerational transmission process, 5) emotional cutoff, and 6) societal emotional process.

Author Bio(s)

Kristian T.P. Fics is a PhD student in Marriage and Family Therapy at Nova Southeastern University training in psychotherapy at the Brief Therapy Institute, and the Family Therapy Clinic. He earned a PACS M.A. from the University of Manitoba. He is author of Healing through the Bones: Empowerment and the Process of Exhumations in the Context of Cyprus (Hamilton Books, 2017). He has volunteered with the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus.


Peace and Conflict Studies; Indigenous Studies; Colonialism;

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