Ann D. Bunting, PhD
The Vermont Center for Family Studies: Dr. Bunting moved to Vermont in 1985 from Washington, D. C. In 1989, she began running monthly clinical conferences and a monthly supervision seminar for those people interested in learning more about Bowen family systems theory and its applications. By 1997, a number of people who studied with her had also received training from the post graduate program at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family in Washington, D.C. In December of 1997, she invited 17 people to discuss forming a non-profit organization called the Vermont Center for Family Studies, which was then established by a core group of those people in 1998. The VCFS has developed a range of programs for teaching Bowen theory and its applications in Vermont.
Clinical Work: Individuals, couples and families. Most of the people who work with Dr. Bunting are interested in understanding family relationship patterns—constructive as well as problematic—which shape their individual functioning and overall life course. The goal is for each person to develop more flexible, resilient and creative responses within significant relationships. This includes relationships in the arenas of family, work, religious organizations, community endeavors, and friendship networks. Some of the consequences of improved relationship functioning include the enhancement of social, emotional and physical states.
Consulting to Organizations: The majority of this work is done in conjunction with Dr. Bunting’s colleague, Ms. Kathy Wiseman, who has an MBA and runs the business Working Systems, Incorporated in Washington, D.C. Their specialty is working with families who own businesses. Issues for which their help has been sought include the transfer of wealth, philanthropy, family and business succession, foundation management, and the development of guidelines for engaging motivated members of the coming generations in family enterprises and activities.
Professional Training: Dr. Bunting received a Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of Maryland in 1977 and an Ed.M. in Guidance (Counseling Psychology) from Harvard University in 1970. Internships and fellowships in clinical practice and research methodology in the fields of psychology and family included training at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Cambridge Hospital, and the Center for Family Research at George Washington University between the years 1969 to 1978. She trained in Bowen family systems theory and psychotherapy at the Georgetown University Family Center from 1979-l982. Dr. Bunting has continued to participate in the Georgetown Family Center programs since the completion of the postgraduate program. It is now called The Bowen Center for the Study of the Family. She is also an editorial consultant for the journal, Family Systems, published by the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family in Washington, D. C.
Erik Thompson, MA
Erik Thompson is President of the Vermont Center for Family Studies, and is dedicated to helping leaders in families and other organizations identify and practice strategies to increase maturity, responsibility and high-level communication.
Erik’s business focus is the growth of vital and sustainable partnerships and mentoring relationships. He has coached CEO’s, Presidents, and their leadership teams in fields such as accounting, finance, manufacturing and advertising. He has coached leaders in service organizations, schools, clergy, and health care. He consults with family businesses on a wide range of issues from succession planning to relationship management. He is currently coaching government leaders responsible for the management of alarming behavior.
Erik is a Licensed Psychologist-Master whose professional discipline for the past 15 years has been the application of systems thinking to human behavior, and leadership. After earning a graduate degree in psychology, Erik completed a three year post-graduate training in systems thinking at the Georgetown Family Center. He leads workshops and presentations nationally on leadership and high-functioning relationships. Erik has published professional papers and articles on organizational leadership and maturity-promoting parenting.
Erik has studied the nature of anxiety and practiced anxiety-reduction methodologies for more than 25 years, including in-depth exposure to the philosophies and cultures of the East.
Quote: “The emotional dimension of leadership is not well understood. Any leader who can gain a clearer view of emotional reactivity, how it influences their thinking and their people, has a rare strategic advantage.” - Erik Thompson
Mercy Russell Hyde, MSW
Mercy Russell Hyde received a B.A. from Carleton College in 1974 and a M.S.W. from UCLA in 1985. As a trainee at the Neuropsychiatric Institute of UCLA and a staff therapist at Del Amo Hospital in Torrance, California and then at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, she acquired a background in individual and group treatment of acute psychiatric conditions and substance addictions. Early in her career she pursued her interest in families with symptoms of addiction and sexual abuse, working directly with offenders, children and adults. She began teaching and organizing professional conferences in 1990 and presenting on clinical and social topics in 1992. She has continued clinical work and organization consultation in EAP agencies and private practice since that time. In 1990 she began her study of Bowen Family Systems Theory in Vermont with Dr. Ann Bunting, and completed three years of study at the Bowen Center for Family Studies in Washington, D.C.
Ms. Hyde was the founding President of the Vermont Center for the Study of the Family, and now serves as a Board member. In 1994 she began to incorporate autonomic and brainwave biofeedback into her practice in order to increase her knowledge and competence with physical symptoms and self-regulation of acute and chronic anxiety. Hyde is a member of the Network Research Seminar, and has presented on a variety of topics at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family. With Priscilla Friesen, MSW, she organized a Biofeedback Research Seminar whose goal was to enhance the integration of knowledge of psychophysiology with Bowen Theory. In 2007-2008 she lived in Avignon, France with her family.
Mercy Hyde was raised in St. Johnsbury, Vermont as the oldest of six siblings, more precisely an older sister of sisters. She is married, for the second time, and has two sons, aged 25 and 12. She is in private practice in Burlington, Vermont and is a doctoral student in the Educational Leadership and Social Policy program at the University of Vermont.
Gordon Petersen MSW, LCSW, CEAP
Gordon Petersen, MSW, LCSW, CEAP is President of Workplace Solutions, Inc., a Burlington, VT consulting firm established in 1985 specializing in Employee Assistance Programs, Workplace Problem Solving, Management Consultation, Executive Coaching, Employee Coaching, Workplace Trainings, Critical Incident Stress and Trauma Debriefings, in addition to Career Transition Services.
Mr. Petersen is a 1991 graduate of the Special Post Graduate Program at the Georgetown Family Center, Washington DC, and maintains regular contact with the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family through attendance to clinical conferences and symposiums.
Mr. Petersen has been an occasional presenter at VCFS on the following topics:
-Emotional Process In the Workplace -Obstacles to Differentiation In the Workplace -Defining a Professional Self -The Use Of Bowen Theory in an Adoption Process -A Few Things to Remember (from a Bowen perspective) When Consulting to Business Leaders, Managers, and Employees
Research interests include:
How emotional process gets exhibited in the workplace Triangles and interlocking triangles as regulators of workplace anxieties What a vibrant / robust workforce looks like Differentiated efforts in a stressful, chaotic, and anxious work system
Michael Gilman, LICSW, ACSW
Michael Gilman, LICSW, ACSW joined the VCFS faculty in 2009. Over the past 15 years, he has developed a strong understanding of Bowen Theory through his participation in the Vermont Center for Family Studies’ training programs. In 2008, Michael began studying Bowen Theory more intensely through the Postgraduate Training Program at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family in Washington D.C.
Current Clinical Work: Michael Gilman is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in Vermont and a member of the National Association of Social Workers’ Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW). He is one of the founding members of Optima, a private practice in Burlington, Vermont. Michael’s current practice at Optima includes work with adolescents and adults as well as families, couples and organizations. His clinical interests include anxiety, depression, chronic health, trauma, substance abuse, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Education and Experience: Michael Gilman received both an undergraduate degree in psychology (1988) and a Masters in Social Work (1995) from the University of Vermont. Prior to receiving his Masters degree, Michael worked with adults diagnosed with chronic and severe mental illness at the Howard Center for Human Services. During his seven-year tenure there, he also worked in residential treatment, case management services, individual therapy, emergency respite and mobile crisis services. Following his Masters education, Michael served as Clinical Director for Client Services at Vermont CARES, the state’s largest AIDS Service Organization. As a member of the management team, he developed and supervised services for individuals and families dealing with HIV disease and those at risk of infection. Michael then went on to serve as the Executive Director of the Vermont Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. There he advocated for social work professionals and their clients in the legislature, with the State, with other coalitions, and in a variety of stakeholder meetings. In addition, he is an Adjunct Faculty Member at the University of Vermont, teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses in the Social Work and Counseling programs.
Clinical Approach: Michael sees himself as a consultant to individuals examining and understanding the challenges that life is presenting and ways to manage themselves through them. He believes that families teach us a lot about what it means to be in relationships with one another and about how we function, think and act in those relationships. Understanding dynamics and patterns that we engage in can help us better manage ourselves in relationships whether that be in families, marriages, partnerships or in the workplace.
Michael’s social work education set the foundation for looking at the person in the context of their environment taking into consideration a broader systemic perspective of the many aspects of life that can influence how individuals function and behave. As life presents challenges, the best tool available is oneself. Michael believes that the more individuals can understand their own internal emotional and thinking systems then the better equipped they are to navigate the challenges presented at home, in school, in the community and at work. Managing self requires the ability to find ways to step back from the moment to gain a broader perspective, to gather facts, and to strengthen one’s knowledge.