Training & Courses

Training Programmes

Module A: Basic Course in Bowen Family Systems Theory (BC 59/24)

This course teaches systems thinking. Systems thinking broadens our perspective, enhances our objectivity, and lessens blame on others. An important area of study in this course is our emotional interdependency on our family members and our multigenerational family system which will throw light on how we can function more effectively in our family and significant relationships.


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 a 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's theory provides a comprehensive framework for human behaviour (especially our automatic emotional reactions to others).  It 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 and maintain meaningful connections even under emotional and social pressure.  It is an essential quality for problem-solving and resilience.



  • To provide an overview of 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



  • 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 say and my  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 researching one’s family of origin and drawing a family diagram


Course Details

Course Code:   BC 59/24
Date & Time: 
Aug. 29, Sept. 5, 12, 19, 26 & Oct. 3, 2024 (Thurs);
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Total: 6 sessions, 18 hours
Fee: HKD $4,200  (COF Membership: HKD $3,990)
Venue: Hybrid (Zoom + in-person attendance)
Target: Helping professionals and anyone interested in personal and family betterment
Instructor: Ms. Peggy Chan 
Language: Cantonese supplemented with English




Mrs. Peggy Chan    B.Soc.Sc., M.Ed., R.S.W.

Mrs. Peggy Chan is presently Director of Programme, ISS Family Institute, International Social Service Hong Kong Branch. Mrs. Peggy Chan started her study of Bowen theory in the early 1990s in Vancouver. She continues her study of Bowen theory by attending the Postgraduate Program on Bowen Family Systems theory and Its Applications at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family, Washington DC, U.S.A. from 2008-2013, and the Bowen Center’s Research Seminar group since 2013. She is a member of the Bowen Center’s Network Program for the Advancement of the Bowen Theory since Nov. 2014. She collaborates with other Bowen theory training centres worldwide to promote better teaching and learning of Bowen theory. She was a plenary speaker at the First International Conference on Bowen Family Systems Theory, Pittsburgh, U.S.A., in August 2015.  Besides conducting training programmes on Bowen theory in Hong Kong, she has presented at conferences and workshops in China, Taiwan, and U.S.A. Working closely with non-governmental organizations, she conducts programmes for parents of school children and substance abusers based on Bowen theory.

Mrs. Peggy Chan was trained as a social worker (B.Soc.Sc., HKU), and counselor (M.Ed., U. of Toronto) before her family systems training. She has over 20 years of experience counseling individuals and families, conducting clinical supervision, and training professionals. Her areas of specialization include marital and women‘s issues, sexual issues, loss and grief, parent-child relationship difficulties, and cultural adaptation. She is Adjunct Assistant Professor of the University of Hong Kong, teaching and supervising M.Soc.Sc. (Counselling) students since 2002. She is Fellow and Approved Supervisor of the Hong Kong Professional Counselling Association, and also Approved Supervisor of the Hong Kong Marriage and Family Therapy Association.