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Family-of-Origin Research and Reading Group

Family of origin work is an integral part in the learning of the Bowen family systems theory and therapy. Based on the study of Dr. Bowen with his psychiatric residents, it is deemed that therapists making efforts to be a responsible and differentiated self to one’s family will be more effective in their clinical work and family relationships. In this consultation group, members will learn to develop action plans to define oneself in and to their families, and to establish more mature relationships and appropriate interdependency with their family members. The members will also learn to manage their anxiety, and be more aware of their emotional reactivity, so that one can develop thoughtful responses and actions based on sound principles, exercising integrity, yet also flexibility and choices in their actions.




In this group, the members will learn to be researchers of their families:

  • To gather facts of their family history.
  • To learn how the family has functioned –how family members respond to important events and major stressors, and the forces that shape the family relationship patterns. They will be guided to develop a broader view of the family phenomena, and see the reciprocity of interpersonal relationships.
  • To understand the role of anxiety, esp. chronic anxiety, in the functioning of their families and themselves.
  • To discover their roles, functional positions, emotional triggers, major triangles, patterns and themes in their relationships with family and people important to them.



This will be a small group of not more than 6 members, and with 8 monthly meetings of 3 hours each. 

This will be an educational group and not a therapy group.

  • 1st hour: discussion of assigned reading on Bowen theory
  • 2nd & 3rd hour: Two members will each have an hour to present their research on their family of origin to their trainer and to receive feedback from the trainer.

At the first session, the trainer will present the guideline for starting research on one’s family emotional system, and demonstrate by presenting her research of her family of origin, identifying triangles and relationship patterns in the family emotional system, and linking it with the theory. Ground rules and expectations of group members will be discussed. The rule of confidentiality applies to the group. Each member will have 3 presentations for the whole period. Members learn from the feedback of the trainer, and the thinking and observations of the other group members. They will also learn to observe the process of the other members over the entire period and relate the theory to their observation.



Course Code: FOO 05/21
Date & Time: 8 monthly meeting (3 hours each session) from Sept. 2021 to April 2022. 
The schedule of the meeting dates are flexible, and will be decided jointly by the group members and instructor.
Fee: HKD $5,360 / person (COF Membership HKD $5,092)
Group Size: 6 members
Venue: International Social Service Hong Kong Branch
6/F, Southorn Centre, 130 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Targets: Helping professionals
Instructor: Mrs. Peggy Chan B.Soc.Sc., M.Ed., R.S.W.
Language: Cantonese / 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 through 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, and collaborates with other Bowen theory training centers around the world to promote better teaching and learning of Bowen theory. She was a plenary speaker of the First International Conference on Bowen Family Systems Theory, Pittsburg, 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 parents of 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) prior to her family systems training. She has over 20 years of experience in 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 Associate Fellow and Approved Supervisor of the Hong Kong Professional Counselling Association, and also Approved Supervisor of the Hong Kong Marriage and Family Therapy Association.



You may download the application form as below, or proceed for online enrollment.

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




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