About Patricia Hanes Meyer

Patricia Hanes Meyer, LCSW, BCD, DAPA

Patricia Meyer is a Board Certified Clinical Social Worker,  a Fellow, and Life Diplomat of the American Psychotherapy Association. She has been in private practice since 1976, specializing in individual and family psychotherapy, lecturing, teaching, writing, and business systems consulting.

A prolific lecturer and instructor for more than four decades, Meyer is known for her clarity about the complexity of human functioning and the process of human change. Her work is relevant to those experienced in Bowen Theory and those who are new to the  theoretical concepts.

During her years as a clinical instructor at Georgetown University Department of Psychiatry (1976-1984) and subsequently, Meyer has written textbook chapters, numerous articles, presented papers on a wide range of topics concerning human functioning, coordinated and presented at the seven annual Georgetown University Family Center Conferences on Children, produced seven teaching videotapes, and has designed and provided seminars in basic theory,  leadership, and  becoming a solid self.


Drawing from her 40-plus years’ experience as a therapist, Meyer added the seminar format to her work because of the positive impact on changing self that comes from the lecture-discussion format.   For attendees, it is much easier to hear and comprehend concepts about emotional process in relationships than to to focus directly on the emotional process found in one’s relationship with important others.  Meyer’s seminars are designed to facilitate the development of personal clarity, a solid self, in all of life’s arenas of responsibility and functioning in each attendee. This development is possible because each attendee studys his or her personal, extended family history, discovers where there is voltage and anxiety in that history that has influenced, knowingly or not, the development of self. With focus on knowledge about human emotional systems, responsibility and clarity about what in the attendee’s life are most meaningful and important, attendees develop a strong capacity for decision-making. The capacity to make clear decisions brings with it a new level of decreased anxiety and tranquility.

All Seminars begin by presenting Bowen Theory as a framework for understanding human functioning. In addition, the work of several authors is included whose work provides information on ways to organize and manage the life of a solid self.

Meyer supports the belief that anyone who is motivated can make positive changes in their life and function at a higher, more effective level. By living the unique responsibilities of self, a deep personal pride and tranquility is created.

Available seminars and lectures include: Functional Characteristics of Leaders and Champions, The Bowen Theory Concept of Differentiation, “The Role and Function of A Mission Statement,” “The Transition into High School (for parents and professionals),” “Raising Competent Children.”  “The Journey to Solid Self,” seminar presents Bowen Theory from which attendees learn to apply each of the concepts to their own lives.  Her 10-session series on living as a solid self addresses personal growth issues such as building clarity about the arenas of responsibility of the self,  addressing arenas in life where the self is under-functioning or stuck in unresolved issues,  validating and taking responsibility to utilize one’s gifts and talents; living with purpose and intention; sustaining energy and focus (knowing how to live a healthy lifestyle such as nutrition, importance of exercise); and achieving clarity about what is important to each individual.

Awards and Recognition

Meyer has been recognized and awarded for her many achievements in the psychotherapy field. In 1978 she became a charter member of the American Family Therapy Association. Since 1981, she has been listed in Who’s Who of American Women. In 1995, Meyer was honored by Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court for her twenty-five years of service to the Family Systems Counseling Program in the Court. That service continued until 2009 when Fairfax County Juvenile Court had to make major cuts of programs after thirty-two years. Meyer has served as a Diplomat of the American Psychotherapy Association since her appointment in 1999. In May 2005, she was named a Board Certified Diplomat in Clinical Social Work.


She earned a BA degree from Carroll College, Waukesha, Wis., in 1969, and a MSW degree in 1976 at the Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C. Meyer practices in Reston, VA. where she is available for individual, couple and family therapy, mediation, consulting, lecturing, and Seminars.


The Bowen Theory

Dr. Murray Bowen devoted his life as a psychiatrist to defining consistent patterns in human functioning based on thorough knowledge about the facts of the emotional system being studied who was in the system, what occurred in the system, when did emotional events occur, where did events occur. Further, Bowen Theory studied the level of chronic and acute anxiety in the system. From this knowledge, it becomes possible to identify and define predictable pattern of behavior that exists within an emotional system.