Training & Courses

Training Programmes

Professional Training Programme in Bowen Family Systems Theory and Therapy 2020 - 2022

The 2-year part-time training programme aims to enhance the systemic perspective to viewing relationships and to facilitate helping professionals to apply Bowen theory in clinical work. 



Is this training programme recognized by any international organizations?

The Bowen Center for the Study of the Family, Washington D.C., U.S.A., is the leading organization providing training on Bowen theory.  The ISS Family Institute is listed as one of the 16 Bowen Programmes Elsewhere on its website.

The ISS Family Institute works closely with with the Bowen Center for the Study of Family in the promotion of Bowen theory both in Hong Kong and around the world:

  • It organizes regular conferences and webcast lectures presented by the faculty of the Bowen Center, and senior members of the Bowen Network. 
  • Its Director of Programme, Mrs. Peggy Chan, regularly attends the meetings and conferences organized by the Bowen Center in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Chan is currently participating in an advanced program (Research Seminar) of the Bowen Center.
  • Mrs. Peggy Chan had presented at the 51st Annual Symposium of the Bowen Center.  She was the plenary speaker on “Learning and Teaching Bowen Family Systems Theory in the Context of the Chinese Culture – Resources and Challenges” at The First International Conference on Bowen Family Systems Theory in Pittsburg, U.S.A. in August, 2015.  She also presented at the  the 3rd Annual Symposium of the Center for the Study of Natural Systems and Family (CSNS&F), Houston, Texas in Feb. 2017.
  • Mrs. Chan is currently a member of the Bowen Network Program for the Advancement of the Bowen Theory, and collaborates with other Bowen theory training centers around the world to promote better teaching and learning of Bowen theory. 
  • The ISS Family Institute co-organized the 2nd International Conference on Bowen Family Systems Theory with The Hong Kong Polytechnic Unversity on May 17-19, 2018.  More than 30 senior learners of Bowen theory from different parts of the world congregated in Hong Kong to share their best thinking in Bowen theory during the 2nd International Conference on Bowen Family Systems Theory.  The Conference offered 52 presentations and workshops on the theme of "Systems thinking in Daily Life: Bowen Theory in Families, Organizations and Communities".  The  Conference was well-attended by over 300 attendees from 14 countries and cities.  It generated lively dialogue and interchange amongst the attendees on the theory and applications of Bowen theory in  different contexts. 

How can I benefit from this training programme?

Through in-depth study of how human emotional systems function, trainees will learn a comprehensive framework on how to understand human functioning and relationships. Trainees will get regular coaching on how to apply the theory to their clinical practice, work and family relationships, so that they can solve problems and manage themselves effectively in these arenas.

How can this programme help me in my counselling work?

Through learning the Bowen theory, this program helps the counselor to take a broad view of the clients’ situation, and also to have a firm grasp of the underlying emotional forces that impact on the family members. It helps the counselor to understand the functional patterns of the family system and its members, and not only focus on solving the presenting problems. The counselor will guide the clients to have fundamental changes in their functioning patterns, so that the clients will be more effective in future relationships. This theory sees the family as an emotional unit, and that members’ functioning is heavily influenced by one another. This offers the counselor flexibility in the target clients to work with. The counselor can work with any member of the family to address his/her participation in the problem, even though the person having the presenting problem refuses to come.

I am not a counselor, can I still benefit from this programme?

The Bowen theory offers very useful concepts to understand human functioning in social systems or relationship networks. It provides a roadmap or blue print for us to lead a functional life and solve problems in our relationships. Besides clinical work, it has been applied to a great variety of settings, such as work relationships, organizational management, pastoral or church settings, and international relationships. Therefore, anyone interested in self-change, and in enhancing one’s functioning in his/her relationship networks, will find this programme useful.

What is family research? Why is it an important part of this training programme?

Dr. Bowen found out that the interns who had undertaken family-of- origin work did better with their clinical work besides having better functioning families. Our families are thus seen as a laboratory for trying out our new behaviours, and for learning the Bowen theory experientially. By doing family research, trainees study the functioning patterns of their families-of-origin, how anxiety plays out in their family systems, how they have positioned themselves to their family members, and how they can function better. Family research provides the opportunity for the trainees to integrate the theory experientially, and is a very important part of our learning.



Helping professionals, pastoral personnel, and anyone interested in self-change and effective functioning in relationship networks.



Click  here to download the Programme Booklet.


Year 1: HK$25,000*
(COF/One-off payment before August 31, 2020: HK$23,750)

Year 2: HK$25,000*
(COF/One-off payment before August 31, 2021: HK$23,750)

Payments can be made annually by two installments (half of the annual fee), to be paid before September 15, and January 15 of each year.

*The amount includes an annual subscription of Family Systems Forum, a publication of the Center for the Study of Natural Systems and the Family, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.


Click here for application form in word format.
Click here for application form in PDF format.


  • 這課程讓我深深的瞭解到及見到,在處理案件時,理論比技巧重要,處理情緒互動模式比移除病癥更有果效地改善親密關係!     -Doris Tai (戴惠嬋), M.Soc.Sc., student of PTP 2014-16 and PTP-Continuing Study 2019-20
  • The course of PTP helps me see my family’s emotional process on a deeper level and anchor my thinking process on a more rational level. i was more able to  remain calm and more able to focus on my goals at very stressful situations. The course has become like a guiding map through my decision making process.        -Berenice Lee (李恩意), M. Counselling, student of PTP 2014-16 and PTP-Continuing Study 2019-20

Please use the above forms for application, and disregard the following.