Coming to grips with Bowen Family Systems Theory in a collaborative learning environment.
June 17, 2020 0 comments

½ day Online Symposium, Wednesday 17th June, 9am–12pm.

This symposium will be helpful to those in the helping profession but also to the general public who want to learn more about how family systems theory applies to managing stressful circumstances and relationships. The symposium will provide insight into how anxiety is part of systems, not just an individual experience by presenting systems thinking in a really clear accessible way, and providing real examples of ways people have dealt with stressors helpfully in themselves and their relationships. Unlike non systems based approaches, this symposium will: go beyond mental health tips or descriptions of symptoms, to understanding the patterns that we get caught up in that contribute to escalating worry; present a clear map for how to make adjustments to our reactions that can set us on a path to increased resilience; and, help us to see how we affect others as well as seeing how others affect us.

Not sure if you can attend the livestream? A recording will be available for all participants for two weeks after the event.

Symposium Guest speakers:

Kathleen Smith PhD

Staying Curious When Everything Is Terrible–Can systems thinking promote thoughtful engagement with global challenges?

An individual’s response to societal anxiety can look a lot like their functioning in their own family. Some might avoid the problem, hoping others will solve it. Others might dive into anxious fixing, furiously trying to teach others what to think or how to behave. How can a person stay in contact with difficult problems and turn off these automatic responses? What does it look like to define your responsibility as a global and local citizen, and then put this definition into action? This presentation will explore these questions, by considering what systems thinking has to offer the individual in a very anxious world.


Dr Kathleen Smith is author of the book, Everything Isn’t Terrible: Conquer Your Insecurities, Interrupt Your Anxiety, and Finally Calm Down. Writer and therapist, Associate faculty at the Bowen Centre for the Study of the Family Washington DC. Presenter on Wash DC TV show Family Matters.



Jenny Brown PhD

Managing the Impact of Family Relationship Intensity During Isolation

The effect on couple and parents and children of spending more time in close quarters. For relationships to flourish it is optimal to maintain a balance between meaningful connection with others and space to be an individual. When there is too much connection it crowds out people’s capacities to think, feel and act as distinct people and symptoms can erupt. What does it take to achieve such balance, in marriages and in parenting, at this time of spending increasing amounts of time in home confinement?


Dr Jenny Brown is author of the best-selling book: Growing Yourself Up–How to bring your best to all of life’s relationships. She is the founder and executive Director of the FamilySystems Institute, Sydney, the Director of the Family Systems Practice and developer of TheParent Hope Project, and the Parent Project.



Talks by each guest speaker will be followed by interviews, covering:

  • What is the link between ways of managing stress in our families compared to in our society?
  • What are the pathways to learning how to turn off automatic anxious responses?
  • How can we distinguish between reality-based worry and exaggerated symptomatic anxiety?
  • How is staying autonomous as well as connected possible in stressful times?
  • What can people be alert to of immature versions of connection and separateness?
  • How can we make sense of the variations in relationship distress during this societal crisis?


Professionals and interested members of general public are welcome to attend. PD certificates available.

Participants will be able to register for this free lunchtime meeting to a discuss Dr. Kathleen Smith’s book and consider – what is different about a family systems perspective on anxiety and stress?

Facilitated by: Emma Robinson, Doctorate of Clinical Psychology (Macquarie University).

When: Wed 24th June 12-1pm.

Everything Isn’t Terrible is an informative and practical guide — featuring a healthy dose of humour — for people who want to become beacons of calmness in their families, at work, and in our anxious world. A family systems approach to managing stress and anxiety, Dr. Kathleen Smith offers a smart, practical antidote to our anxiety-ridden times.  Order your copy of Everything Isn’t Terrible in preparation for this lunch time event



Registrations close at 1:30pm Tuesday 16th June

$128 (incl. GST) USD $81

For more than 1 seminar $89.20 / USD $56.50

Note: We welcome members of the same household to share a registration to our online events while in Covid-19 lockdown.

Please Note: All FSI events, unless otherwise stated are subject to our cancellation policy.


Bookings are closed for this event.

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Date(s) - 17/06/2020
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

via Zoom

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