The Relationships Lab

Dr Jenny Brown explains wellbeing and maturity in the context of your “family system”.

“One of the distinctives about Bowen family systems theory is, it isn’t about people who have mental illness and people who don’t. It’s about all of us humans struggling with very similar issues. … There’s not really this distinction between the expert who’s got her life together and the client who is seeking help.”

Dr Jenny Brown is the founder of the Family Systems Institute and the author of several books, including Growing Yourself Up: How to Bring Your Best to All of Life’s Relationships. She is an enthusiastic proponent of Bowen family systems theory – a theory of human behaviour that focuses on how our identity and wellbeing as individuals is a function of the relationship webs we are embedded within.

Drawing on her clinical experience, research, family background, and personal faith, Jenny joins Simon Smart and Natasha Moore for a conversation about adulting, birth order, responsibility, dysfunction, intensity, and the process of change.

“We grow our resilience and our responsibility and our coping mechanisms within the laboratory of our important relationships – even the difficult relationships. But if we avoid difficulty, if we avoid learning to hold our boundaries, manage our reactivity, our emotions getting stirred up … if we can do that in our original family, then we can do it anywhere. That’s the real place of a good workout for growing the capacity to be a flourishing human in the world.”


2021 New College Lectures, “Nurture: Confronting a Crisis

Family Systems Institute

Growing Yourself Up: How to Bring Your Best to All of Life’s Relationships

Confident Parenting: Restoring Your Confidence as a Parent By Making Yourself the Project and Not Trying to Change Your Child

Bowen Family Systems Theory in Christian Ministry

The Parent Hope Project


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