top of page

About BTEC

The Bowen Theory Education Center, Inc (BTEC) was established in 2008 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and acquired a 501 (c) (3) status in August 2010.


The Center's principal purpose is to provide education and training for the Bowen Theory of natural systems developed by Murray Bowen, M.D., and its application to the human condition.


The Mission of the Bowen Theory Education Center is to provide knowledge of concepts, principles and the application of Bowen Theory through a supervised experiential learning process, that includes practice and application of Bowen Theory in human relational systems.


Bowen Theory is based on over fifty years of scientific study. Dr. Murray Bowen was the originator. He observed that human behavior is influenced by family relationships and the generational history of the family. Dr. Bowen conceptualized the family as an emotional unit and regards family relationships as the primary source of human behavior. The theory addresses one’s level of human functioning, and how it relates to problems, challenges, and opportunities that develop in the family and in society. Bowen’s pioneering research demonstrated that viewing a problem as a part of the family’s multi-generational process was more effective than viewing it as a problem in the individual. In general, Bowen Theory assumes that most dysfunctions are ushered in by an overload of anxiety which disturbs thinking and influences behavior. Bowen Theory provides an individual with the framework to manage anxiety, allowing for thoughtful changes in behavior. In addition to explaining human functioning, the theory demonstrates methods that improve the overall functioning of the family and it’s individual members. This improvement transfers to the broader society. Therefore, the theory is applicable to many human conditions and areas of human functioning.


Dr. Bowen’s research began at the National Institute of Health and Georgetown University Medical School before he established the first center, The Georgetown Family Center, in 1975. The original multi-focused center, now known as The Bowen Center for the Study of the Family, offers training and direct services to clients, as well as continuing theory research. The Bowen Theory Education Center in Chattanooga is an independent nonprofit entity. Three members of the Chattanooga faculty were trained at the original center, of which two of the faculty trained with Murray Bowen. Currently, there are at least 15 Bowen Education Centers in the United States and Canada.



Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 1.06.36 PM.png
Jean Blackburn

Psychiatric - Mental Health Clinical Specialist

Licensed by States of Tennessee and Georgia

Certified by American Nurses Association

Postgraduate Training Bowen Theory and Psychotherapy

Bowen Center for the Study of Family, Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

Master of Science in Nursing

Vanderbilt University Nashville, Tennessee

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Florida State University Tallahassee, Florida


Jean has been a practicing registered nurse for 52 years.  She prepared as an advanced practice nurse in 1972-73.  Enrolled in the postgraduate program at the Georgetown Family Center in 1975.  She began her career as a Bowen Theory therapist in 1975 and opened her private practice, "Family Systems Therapy" in 1978.  She has continued to study Bowen Theory and its application to the human condition since 1975.  She has frequently lectured on the topic of Bowen theory to various community groups, such as Vanderbilt University Graduate Students, Chattanooga Area Pastoral Care students, and centers that provide direct care to persons with psychiatric issues.  She has supervised graduate students in their field placement as they learned Bowen Theory.

Dwyer, L PFP_edited.jpg
Linda Dwyer 
Annotation 2020-08-18 003508.png
Dr. William Dwyer
Vice President

Psychiatric-Mental Health Clinical Specialist

Licensed as a Physician in the State of Tennessee, MD 4071

Member American Medical Association, Tennessee Medical Association and Hamilton County Medical Society

Member of the American College of Surgeons

Board Certified in Surgery by the American College of Surgeons

Serves as Treasurer for the Bowen Archives Project of Leaders for Tomorrow


Dr. Bill Dwyer graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Science degree and then attended Medical School at the University of Tennessee Medical Units in Memphis. Following the granting of his Medical Degree in 1960, he interned in Chicago at Michael Reese Hospital. Finishing there, he served in the Army Medical Corps until 1963 when he entered the Surgery Residency Program at the City of Memphis Hospitals.  Upon completing his four year Residency in Surgery, he performed a Fellowship in Surgery at the Lahey Clinic in Boston, and then moved to Chattanooga to establish a practice in General and Cancer Surgery. During this period of his life he came to know and admire the work of a fellow Physician, Dr. Murray Bowen, whose studies led to the theory of human behavior which bears his name. It was after retiring in 1997 that Dr. Dwyer decided to further his studies in Bowen Family Systems Theory at the Georgetown Family Center. This Post-graduate work continued for five years, and he began his practice in Family Systems Therapy in 2002. His office is located at 301 Belvoir Avenue in Chattanooga.

Carla Goette 

Psychiatric-Mental Health Clinical Specialist

Licensed in the State of Tennessee

Certified by American Nurses Association


Linda graduated from the University of Tennessee Medical Units Memphis in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She formed and coordinated the Cancer Team at Erlanger Hospital in 1979, which led to the development of Hospice of Chattanooga. Her special interest in Cancer led to an interest in Family Systems and to Graduate School at Vanderbilt University where she completed a Masters Degree in Psychiatric Nursing in 1981. She then became the Director of Nursing and later Director of the Adult Program at Valley Psychiatric Hospital.


She did 5 years of Post-graduate work at the Georgetown Family Center and has been in private clinical practice in Chattanooga for the past 25 years, with an office at 551 Oak Street, until recently when she moved her office to 301 Belvoir Avenue in Chattanooga.

For over twenty years, Carla has been a mental health therapist in the Chattanooga area. Her graduate work at UTC included extensive research in the area of children and the effects of parental death on their grieving process. Carla developed a grief support program for children, teens, and adults which she piloted in Chattanooga and eventually marketed nationwide.

Carla’s interest in Bowen Family Systems Theory began approximately twenty-five years ago when it was introduced by a local clinician whose training had been at Georgetown University where Murray Bowen taught. She has actively pursued more extensive training and understanding of the theory for the past five years. Carla has seen significant changes in the lives of her own clients by sharing and applying Bowen Theory to their families. As well, Carla acknowledges the work she has done with her family of origin and her nuclear family has changed the course of her life.


Carla has been married to Bill, a middleschool teacher for 34 years. They have two grown daughters and one daughter still in high school. She has two grandchildren whom she loves to spoil as often as she can. Carla and her family are very involved in a local church and have a special interest in local and foreign missions and teaching Bible to younger students.


Screen Shot 2020-08-05 at 12.23.06
Tanya Goodpasture
Scott Ingell

Tanya Goodpasture is an invaluable member of the BTEC Board. She keeps us all straight. 

Scott is a graduate of Covenant College with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. His preparation for a career in massage therapy began at the Tennessee Institute of Healing Arts where he earned certification in Neuromuscular Therapy, granted by the International Academy of Neuromuscular Therapy.


Scott serves as a Certified Lay Minister for the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church.


He began his study of Bowen Family Systems Theory in 2011 and utilizes Bowen theory in his own family system and in the management of his clinical practice, Focus 4 Massage.


Scott has been on numerous non-profit Boards since 1986, including Hermosa Beach California Coordinating Council, Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce, the Southern California Regional Planning Council, and others.


In Chattanooga, Scott has served on the Boards of the Audubon Society, Hamilton Family YMCA, The Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts and Christ United Methodist Church.

Scott is a Massage Therapist, Licensed in the State of Tennessee

Rev. Jake Morrill
Stephanie Nelson

Jake Morrill is a minister, therapist, non-profit director, and leadership coach. He started serious study of systems thinking in 2004, after getting caught up in a church fight. Currently, he’s in his sixth year of the Post-Graduate Program at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family; he is also part of the Bowen Theory study group and the Bowen Theory in Organizations study group, both housed at the Bowen Center. This fall, Rockridge Press will publish his book, Unlocking the Art of Forgiveness. His website is

Stephanie is a graduate of Ohio University in Athens, OH and University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked in the Mental Health field as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker since 2001. She has lived and worked in different regions of the US and decided to make Chattanooga her home in 2014.

Stephanie provides individual and family therapy in an outpatient setting and is an Adjunct Professor in the Social Work Department at UTC. She was introduced to Bowen Family Theory while in graduate school and again by The Dwyers and Jean Blackburn. She began the Bowen Theory Education Training Program in 2016 and continues every year.

Stephanie utilizes the theory in her practice and has found the training helpful in understanding her own family system and relationships.

Colleen profile pic.jpg
Colleen Maillie
IMG_4420 (1).jpg
Kay Sanford
Associate Faculty
Interim Administrative Director

Colleen Maillie, M.Div., began her studies of Family Systems Theory in 2006 during her 4 units of Clinical Pastoral Education at The University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.  In 2010 Colleen began her formal studies of Family Systems Theory thru the Post-Graduate Program at The Bowen Center for the Study of the Family at Georgetown in Washington, D.C.  She is an active member of The Bowen Theory Education Center in Chattanooga, participating in the Advanced Reading Program and facilitating Lunch & Learn programming.


With a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, Colleen went on to congregational ministry and chaplaincy for 8 years before settling into work in executive search.


Though Colleen does have an undergraduate background rooted in Psychology, she is not a licensed therapist. Colleen offers her services as a coach through the lens of Family Systems Theory for the individual, the couple, the family, and any organization. Colleen also offers workshops to leaders capable of effecting change within their organization.


See More from K S

Kay Sanford is an owner/ partner of  multi-generational family businesses, with long experience in navigating the occasional rough waters where business and relationships collide. She serves as CEO for Hutcheson Properties, Inc. and serves as Vice- President of the board of SFSC, Inc. In 2008, the desire to lead through a consistent, coherent framework drew her to the serious study of Bowen Family Systems Theory. Her work in that area, over the years, has particularly focused on how relationship dynamics affect business functioning. 


When coaching and consulting clients come to her with the deep questions of leadership in complex circumstances, she has not only often been there herself—she’s developed a practical way to think about these questions, which promote leading with greater calm and clarity.


Kay holds an MBA (Honors) from the University of South Carolina, Aiken; and also holds a degree from Rhodes College. Her training in Bowen Family Systems Theory comes from study that includes work in the Post-Graduate Program at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family (Georgetown, DC),  with Navigating Systems and with the Family Firm Institute. She serves on the Faculty and Board of the Bowen Theory Education Center (Chattanooga).


Active in the community, Kay currently sits on the Boards of The Chattanooga Boys Choir, Mark Making, and Sumter Farms and Stock Co., Inc.  


Promoting calm as the heart of mindful leadership, Kay offers sessions in NeurOptimal Neurofeedback as a supplement to her coaching with leaders.

bottom of page