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Growing Up when Faced with Death in the Family


The talk of death is often a taboo in our Chinese culture but it is an experience that nobody can avoid sooner or later.  When death occurs in the family it can be a highly anxious time for everyone within its relationship network which may cause an effect  on his/her emotional, physically or social behaviours.  The impact of such a stressful event can either make or break a person as well as sending ripple effects across the generations.

As we live in this fast-paced society, have we thought of how we can manage our anxiety and the grieving process a little better,  or do we believed that grief will disappear automatically after a lapse of time when death occurs to our significant others? Bowen family systems theory offers a mindset to help us be aware of our emotions  and to manage them with better awareness. The theory also helps us to understand why some people find it difficult to get over the grieving process while others can use this opportunity for growth and  why some families become worse off after the loss of a family member while others can continue as usual without much adverse effects. This course will look at ways where we can learn to grow up from such an emotionally difficult time and minimize any adverse effects from perpetuating further down the family line.



  1. To learn effective ways of dealing with anxiety especially in times of managing a loss in the family.
  2. To enhance the capacity to differentiate self from the anxiety within the family and manage the ripple effects across its members and  next generations.
  3. To enhance the overall functioning of a person’s competency, adaptability and emotional maturity to handle difficult situations.




Bowen Theory and the family unit

–          A systems perspective

–          Death as a disequilibrium

–          Adjustment to find a new equilibrium


Bowen theory and management of anxiety

–          Family’s emotional patterns of managing anxiety

–          Unresolved emotional attachments

–          Managing emotional attachments


Bowen theory and the ripple effects of grief

–          Emotional shock waves and cut offs

–          Getting reconnected

–          Rebuilding values, principles, focus and hope with the remaining family


Bowen theory and differentiation of self

–          Levels of differentiation among families

–          Going through or facing the grieving process with a higher level of DOS

–          Working on self to become a better observer of self and family



Course Code: GD 08/21
Date & Time: Feb 26, Mar 5, 12, 19, 2021 (Fri)
6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
(4 Days, Total 12 hours)
Fee: HKD $2,400  (COF Membership: HKD $2,280)
Venue: International Social Service Hong Kong Branch, 6/F, Southorn Centre, 130 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Target: Death field related helping professionals
Instructor: Ms. Berenice Lee     M. Counselling
Language: Cantonese supplemented with English




Ms. Berenice Lee     M. Counselling

Berenice first learned about Bowen family systems theory in her Master of Counselling course in Australia in 2006. She has been an active participant in various courses, workshops and conferences with ISSFI since 2010. She is a member of the ISSFI Circle of Friends (COF) Think Tank right from the start and has helped to organize programs for the Circle of Friends and Bowen Theory Conferences in many ways.

Berenice holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours), Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts in American Literature and Culture and Master of Counselling. She specializes in marital and family relationship counseling, parental guidance, personal coaching, psychotherapy for individuals, and workplace dynamics. She has a private practice in Hong Kong and uses Bowen theory as her framework that a person’s understanding of the effects of reciprocity will bring about a significant change for one’s whole family and the workplace.



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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