Biography Marie-Luise Friedemann

Marie-Luise Friedemann, RN, PhD

Dr. Friedemann is the originator of the Framework of Systemic Organization. She was born in 1942 in Zurich, Switzerland where she grew up. She graduated from a Business College before immigrating to the United States. In San Francisco, she completed a Diploma Nursing program. She then moved with her husband to Michigan. At Wayne State University, she completed her Bachelor's degree in Nursing and assumed a position as public health nurse for Washtenaw County. Two years later, Dr. Friedemann continued her education at the University of Michigan and received a Master's degree in Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing in 1977. Her academic career started at Eastern Michigan University where she taught psychiatric nursing, community health and substance abuse while working toward a doctoral degree in Education and Community Development at the University of Michigan. She accomplished that goal in 1984.

Dr. Friedemann worked at Wayne State University as faculty and researcher for eleven years and shifted to assignments in administration, first at Wayne State University, then at the University of Detroit Mercy. In 1991, Dr. Friedemann reestablished her relationship with her country of origin. She carried regular teaching assignments over several years at a School for Advanced Nursing (Kaderschule) in Aarau, Switzerland that led to ongoing networking and consulting with educational institutions and hospitals not only in Switzerland, but throughout German speaking Europe, Mexico, and Colombia.

The development of the Framework of Systemic Organization began in 1986 when Dr. Friedemann started her career as faculty at Wayne State University in Detroit. It was driven by a need for a comprehensive approach to family therapy with multi-problem minority families in the inner city. Since conventional family therapy methods were of little use to many of these families, Dr. Friedemann developed the framework as a means to provide practitioners and researchers with a guiding structure for their work. She writes in her book (Friedemann, 1995): The Framework of Systemic Organization has evolved through a process of both inductive and deductive thinking processes. It represents a synthesis of my life and professional experiences, my worldview and personality, and is enriched by insights from scientific literature and research. Consequently, bits and pieces of the writing of scientists and practitioners in nursing, such as (Martha) Rogers, (Imogene) King, and (Margaret) Newman, and family specialists and researchers including Kantor and Lehr, Minuchin, Haley, and Beavers -- have been reformulated and become part of my universe of discourse. Today, the evolutionary process is by no means complete. The framework continues to experience growth and change through discussions with groups of professionals, students, and colleagues and through the findings of theory-based research.

In 1989, Dr. Friedemann published the first theory articles and in 1995, her book on the Framework of Systemic Organization came out of press (see Literature), followed by a book written in German that is based on European literature and is now in its 4rd edition. In 2016, as co-author with Christina Koehlen, Dr. Friedemann has published a German textbook for students that uses a step by step approach to teaching concepts and application of the Framework of Systemic Organization. (see Literature - German) In addition to her extensive research activities and many research publications, Dr. Friedemann's work comprises the framework itself, the Congruence Model, an eight-session approach to families of rehabilitating substance abusers and the ASF-E, a theory-based instrument to assess family functioning that was also translated into four foreign languages and tested and used in Mexico, Colombia, Finland, Brazil, Switzerland, and Germany.

In 1998, Dr. Friedemann assumed a Professorship at Florida International University, in Miami.  The main focus of her work was research, in addition to teaching in the Master's and doctoral programs and administrative assignments. Her research areas were family functioning, family caregiving, and substance abuse.  Since 2008, Dr. Friedemann has been officially retired from academic life. She was awarded the status of Professor Emerita and now maintains consulting and literary activities.