Our History

In 1985, the Western Pennsylvania Family Center (WPFC) was founded in Pittsburgh, PA, as a nonprofit by six professionals: Paulina McCullough, Cynthia Larkby, Stuart Libman, Jim Smith, Walter Smith, & Ann Vodeging Read.  All were trained in Bowen’s family systems theory, four with Dr. Murray Bowen himself at the Georgetown Family Center in Washington, D.C.

WPFC’s headquarters were originally on Highland Avenue, across from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.  And over the course of more than 35 years, WPFC has hosted an in-depth, yearly seminar in Bowen theory; conferences and workshops with speakers invited from across the national Bowen theory community; along with study groups for mental health professionals, organizational consultants, and leaders in communities of faith.  Consultations and programming have also been provided to a variety of organizations, social service agencies, and nonprofits in the Western Pennsylvania region, including: A Second Chance, Inc.; Allegheny Children’s Initiative; Allegheny County Children, Youth and Families; The Bradley Center; Family Services of Western Pennsylvania; Head Start, Jewish Family and Children’s Service; Pittsburgh Action Against Rape; Shady Lane School; United Cerebral Palsy; and Wilkinsburg Ministerial Association.

In 2015, WPFC also convened the first international conference on Bowen theory.  It drew Bowen thinkers from Asia, Africa, Latin and Central America, and North America, providing an opportunity for these thinkers to exchange ideas and learn about each other’s programs around the world.

As the organization continues evolving, we now have 13 active, volunteer faculty members, all of whom are available for training and individual coaching in Bowen family systems theory.  Our faculty also consult with professionals who work with families, organizations, and in other professional contexts.  To learn more about the individuals serving on our faculty, click here.

We are also greatly appreciative of the contributions made, over these many years, by our volunteer board members.  To learn more about these generous individuals, click here.