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2019 Bowen Theory Conference



OCTOBER 24 – 25, 2019 (9:30 AM – 5:30 PM)

Most schools of psychotherapy recognize in some way the importance of their clients’ families of origin. Mostly they talk about the influence of family experience and how that has helped shape the clients’ lives. The various schools take different types of approaches and the therapists can vary from, on the one hand, being highly critical of the families of their clients (siding with the clients in that triangle) or, on the other hand, they work towards some kind of reconciliation between the clients’ and their families. None of these ways of working reflect the approach of Bowen family systems theory clinical work. In addition, clinicians in other approaches may have had some personal therapy around their own family experience. It usually consists of little more than talking about their family and their family’s influence on them. In their training and supervision, there may be some recognition of the therapist’s own counter-transference to particular clients. Again, Bowen theory work is quite different from these approaches.

When clinicians do their own family of origin work, they move in a better differentiated direction in their own lives and they will be a greater resource to their clients in their life struggles. They will be more clear about how they can be of help to their clients (and how they can’t). And, in addition, their own personal lives and family relationships will move in a more satisfying direction.

This conference will focus on the importance of the clinicians doing their own family of origin work, some important issues in doing the work, and how they can help their own clients to do the work.

What is family of origin work?


Ronald W. Richardson, D. Min.

Marriage & Family Therapist

Before retiring, Dr. Richardson was: 

  • Approved Supervisor in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Executive Director of a metropolitan-wide counseling agency in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • provided therapy to clients (individuals, couples, and families) from a Bowen family systems theory perspective.

Oct. 24, 2019 (Day 1)

  • The history of family of origin work in Bowen theory.
  • How does family of origin work differ from traditional psychotherapy approaches that talk about a client’s family influence?
  • What is unresolved emotional attachment and how does that affect our relational life, our family of procreation, and our clinical work?
  • Greater differentiation of self as the ongoing goal of family work and its major impact on clinical work.

OCT. 25, 2019 (DAY 2)

  • The presenter’s work on researching into his family of origin.
  • How do we begin to do our family of origin’s work? Some important steps along the way?
  • Working within the triangles in our family and differentiating a self.
  • Getting clients started in doing family of origin work and things to be careful about.

Venue : Jao Tsung-I Academy  饒宗頤文化館

(800 CASTLE PEAK ROAD, KOWLOON, 九龍荔枝角青山道800號)




Date: October 26, 2019

Time: 9:30 am – 12:30 pm

Speaker: Dr. Ronald Richardson


Polarization is a most prominent phenomenon in the society of Hong Kong!

Pro-establishment vs. Pro-protesters

The Blue Ribbons vs.The Yellow Ribbons

The White Shirts vs The Black Shirts

The “Haves” vs The “Have nots”…

The lists of polarities can be endless….

A key ingredient in the polarizing process is to get the others to think the way we do (Richardson, 2012).

In polarization, people who do not think alike repel each other, and begin to regard those who disagree with them as enemy. Those on each side believe that they are morally right and politically superior. They see the others on the other side in more negative terms. There is the intention to defeat, humiliate or destroy one another. They question the other side’s motives and use unpleasant images to characterize the other’s position. Respect for others is lost. As Richardson (2012) points out, “The ethics of love give way to the ethics of hate.”

Under such circumstances, civil discussion of important issues have become more difficult to achieve. The toll on individuals, families, business and the society is tremendous. Many relationships, families and a variety of groups have been ripped apart, resulting in dysfunctions in individual mental health, family and societal well-being.

How do we deal with people who disagree with us in fundamental ways, especially in issues that we are very passionate about?

This workshop aims to provide a thoughtful approach to dealing with this challenge, based on Bowen family systems theory. This approach does not require the cooperation of others to get change to happen. It is about change in self, about how to be with others differently.

Dr. Richardson, the presenter, will also share with us his personal examples in dealing with polarization.

A successful effort on one’s part to address polarization will likely bring forth positive change in the larger community.

The first two days of the conference will help with understanding the polarization presentation.

2nd Family Systems Symposium:

Systems Thinking in a Changing World


Date:  October 26, 2019 (Sat)
Time:  2:00 pm – 5:30 pm

  • A forum for local Bowen learners to share their learning and application of Bowen theory in clinical work and in daily lives in Hong Kong context.  
  • A great opportunity to learn how Bowen theory can be a ready tool for promoting individual, family and societal betterment!


Mrs. Peggy Chan, M.Ed., R.S.W.

Dr. Renee Chiu, Ph.D., R.S.W.

Ms. Berenice Lee, M. Counselling

Ms. Doris Tai, M. Soc. Sc. (Counselling)

Ms. Jean Tai, M. Guidance & Counselling

Ms. Rita Wong, M. Soc. Sc. (Counselling)


Application Fee

Payment Method

1.     The registration fee includes lunch on each day of the Conference (Oct. 24 & 25, 2019).

2.     Student (Full-time):  Students are required to provide proof of student identity (transcript, copy of a current student identification card, or letter signed by head of department) by email (issfi@isshk.org).

Still enjoy early bird price !

by registering in group of two, or 

by being a COF member !

CPD points are now available for the following professions:

Members of Academy of Medicine

Occupational Therapists Board

The Hong Kong Psychological Society

Hong Kong Physiotherapy Association

For details please click here.


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