Training & Courses

Training Programmes

Module A: Basic Course in Bowen Family Systems Theory (BC 46/21)

Dilemmas that you might be facing

Our relationships with others can be full of puzzles and dilemmas.

  • You are annoyed with your partner or even hate each other, but you cannot live without each other.
  • You have tried your uttermost to help the less adequate member of your family, only to find him /her more and more dependent on you! You are at breaking point. Yet, you fear disaster if you withdraw your support for this helpless person. You feel trapped and helpless.
  • You take great care not to follow your parents’ footsteps and avoid committing their mistakes, only to find that your child is still suffering.

The pandemic with the concomitant impact on social relationships, job insecurities, and political instabilities pose further challenges to our peace of mind and connection with others.


About Bowen theory

Bowen theory helps you make sense of these dilemmas and learn practical ways of solving life problems. It also facilitates the conceptualization of clinical cases which greatly improves therapeutic outcomes.

Bowen theory is a theory about relationships developed by the late psychiatrist, Dr. Murray Bowen. The theory sees man and the human family as part of nature. It posits that the human family and social groups are governed by the same relationship processes that regulate other living organisms. It provides a comprehensive framework about human behaviour, (especially our automatic emotional reactions to others). It also offers strategies to deal with interpersonal difficulties and ways to manage self. Differentiation of self is the cornerstone of the theory. It is the capacity to undertake thoughtful and responsible actions, even under emotional pressure, and maintain meaningful connections. It is an essential quality for problem-solving and resilience.


About this course

This new mode of the course will teach the fundamentals of Bowen Theory, emphasizing integrating the theory in one’s own life and work. The instructor will share examples of applying the theory in her own life and work and clinical case examples. Living the theory in one’s own life is an essential aspect of the study.

This course also teaches systems thinking and the practice of it. Systems thinking broadens our perspective, enhances our objectivity, and lessens blame on others. Another important area of study in this course is our emotional interdependency on our family members and our multigenerational family system’s significance, which will throw light on how we can function more effectively in our family and social/ work groups.


Course Objectives

  • To provide introduction to the basic concepts of the Bowen theory
  • To enhance awareness and application of systems thinking to our life
  • To facilitate participants to learn to define self, and to practice being a “responsible self” in relationships
  • To facilitate conceptualization of clinical cases

Course Content

  • Family as an emotional system and an emotional unit –
  • Chronic and acute anxiety
  • The two life forces – the force towards togetherness and the force towards individuality – “Why do I have to follow your way?  Can’t I have my own say and my own way of life?”
  • The guidance systems for human
  • The eight emotional processes –
    • Differentiation of self,
    • Triangles,
    • Nuclear Family Emotional Process,
    • Family Projection Process,
    • Multigenerational Transmission Process,
    • Emotional Cut-off, Sibling position and,
    • Societal Emotional Process
  • Defining a self in the systems and learning to think system
  • Introduction to doing research of one’s family of origin and drawing family diagram

Course Details

Course Code:   BC 46/21 (Cantonese)
Date & Time:  Apr 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18, 25 & Jun 1, 2021 (Tue)
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
(8 evenings, total: 16 hours)
Fee: HKD $4,000  (COF Membership: HKD $3,800)
Venue: International Social Service Hong Kong Branch, 6/F, Southorn Centre, 130 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, hong Kong.
Target: Helping professionals and anyone interested in personal and family betterment
Instructor: Mrs. Peggy Chan    B.Soc.Sc., M.Ed., R.S.W.
Language: Cantonese supplemented with English