"Don't bother to use Bowen if you use any other modality on the same day. Don't bother to use Bowen if you massage before or after on the same day. Don't bother to use Bowen if you manipulate, adjust, lay on your hands or stay by the patient between moves; your other work whatever it is cancels Bowen…adding extra moves and your own personal input shows a lack of confidence in Bowen, in your ability; it even demonstrates an inferiority complex." (Bowen’s hands - December 1994).
Though the technique as I was taught it did get good results, this approach never felt right to me and struck me as rather rigid. I found it hard to believe that Tom Bowen, being such a brilliant pioneer and innovator, was as rigid as this in his own practise. I could not accept that the fact that I was open to combining it with my own ideas "demonstrated an inferiority complex".
However it was not until August 2002 that I received an email from Kevin Ryan, the last person taught by Tom Bowen before his death in 1982 who confirmed my suspicion. Kevin stated the exact opposite of what I had originally been taught and what you just read above. He stated that "Every one of us who comes in contact with his (Tom Bowen’s) approach, has the opportunity to continue its development as we consciously or inadvertently incorporate it into what we already do, or vice versa. One of the wonderful things about Toms' approach, is that it does integrate well with many if not all other body therapies."
These words sounded much closer to the truth to me. My current approach to practicing this technique has been strongly influenced by these words. Consequently, I present a less rigid approach to the work as I was originally taught it, allowing room for the practitioner to use their own intuition and to couple it with their existing knowledge if they are already trained therapists. It is still based on the original training I received, but it has been influenced by other approaches to Bowen’s work which I have come across, Kevin Ryan's letters to me, and of course my own experience and consequent development of the technique, after treating several thousand people in my clinic. For this reason I call it "Bowen Technique Plus" as it delves deeper, and is more flexible than the training I received in 1994. It combines Bowen with NST, VHT and many ideas and procedures I have developed (based on the Bowen 'move'). For further information visit the What is the Bowen Technique.