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Bowen Theory Workshop concluded – audiences examined the practice of defining self

Over 80 attendees were enlightened by Bowen Theory’s cornerstone concept of  differentiation of self during the three-day workshop held on 29-30 April and 1 May at the headquarters of ISS-HK in Wan Chai.

Organized by the ISS Family Institute, the workshop “Rewriting Your Life Story for the Rest of Your Life: The Theory and Practice of Differentiation of Self” invited Mr James B. Smith, Executive Director of the Western Pennsylvania Family Center, USA, to offer audiences a new dimension to study family relationships.

“Bowen theory is an original way of thinking about human functioning. More than any other single theory, it points the way to a viable human science,” said Mr Smith during the workshop.

Mr Smith, who has studied Bowen theory and practiced differentiation of self in his family for 40 years, engaged with audiences by introducing them the importance of doing family research, and outlining the four principles for differentiation of self:  developing “person-to-person relationships” with everyone in one’s family, learning to control one’s emotional reactivity, becoming a better observer of self in relationships, and detriangling self from emotional situations.

The workshop that aimed at achieving better functioning of individuals and families – a position statement of the Institute – offered stimulating ideas and a pathway for participants to “rewrite” their life stories by exploring the paradigm from cause-and-effect thinking to family system thinking, self-deception in the practice of differentiation of self, and defining a self in families.

More details about the ISS Family Institute can be found at