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Processing the Impact of Death in the Family


Death is an experience that everybody has to encounter sooner or later. Before one faces his/her own death, it is often experienced as a passive event that happens to someone else but its effect can still affect those who are within the deceased’s family or social network. When death occurs in the family, it can be a highly anxious time for everyone within its relationship network. Not only does the impact of such a stressful event can affect a person’s emotional, physical or social behaviours on a short term basis, it can ripple across family lines near and far to even perpetuate down generations.


Bowen family systems theory offers a mindset to help us be aware of its effects on oneself and our family network.  The theory also helps us to understand why some people may find it difficult to get over the loss while others can use this opportunity for growth. It further offers possible explanation to why some families spiral downwards after the death of a significant patriarch or matriarch while others can continue to function without much adverse effects or even flourish.


This course will look at ways where we can learn to become more resilient to manage such difficult times and minimise adverse effects from perpetuating further down our family generations.



  1. To understand how the anxiety of dealing with death affects oneself and the family at large.
  2. To enhance the capacity to differentiate self from the anxiety within the family
  3. To manage self and the ripple effects across the family network to stop the spillage of anxiety down the generations.



  1. Bowen Theory and the family unit
  • A systems perspective
  • The family as an emotional mass
  • Death as a disequilibrium and its emotional rippling effects


  1. Bowen theory and the management of anxiety
  • Family’s emotional patterns of managing anxiety
  • Emotional attachments and cut offs
  • Multi-generational transmission process


  1. Bowen theory and differentiation of self
  • Levels of differentiation among families
  • Managing self and family when emotional intensity is high
  • Rebuilding values, principles, focus and hope with the remaining family



Course Code: GD 09/22
Date & Time: Sep 29 & Oct 6, 13, 20, 27, 2022 (Thu)
7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Fee: HKD $2,400  (COF Membership: HKD $2,280)
Venue: Online (Zoom) only
Target: Anyone interested
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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