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Family Systems Co-learner Peer Group

Family Systems Co-learner Peer Group

To be human is to be in relationships.  This interactive family systems group will help you explore big picture thinking by viewing our relationships through a “systems thinking” lens.  In our relationships we can experience the very best of ourselves and the very worst.  Understanding systems helps us manage ourselves and others in stressful situations, takes people beyond blame, and increases our own functioning in relationships.    Each month we will look closely at one of Murray Bowen’s concepts of family systems, with rotating facilitators and explore family patterns by debriefing case studies with a goal of managing ourselves in a non-anxious way, benefitting our personal and professional lives.

To learn more

Have questions? Please contact:
Patty Dennis
[email protected]
(248) 299-4464

Registration questions? Please contact:
Naomi Garcia
[email protected]


Patty Dennis Bio, Lay Leader
I have always been drawn to the helping professions and a curiosity to understand why we behave the way that we do.  I began my professional life as a teacher and concluded my educational career as licensed professional counselor. While heavily involved in my church, I was approached about becoming trained as a mediator.  Fortunately, I said yes!  I have since participated in Lombard Mennonite Peace Center’s Clergy Clinic (now called Leadership Development Through Family Systems),   

trained as a congregational resilience facilitator, church unique facilitator, healthy congregation’s facilitator and a coach.  Throughout all this, my continued development and understanding of family systems has been extremely helpful on a very personal and professional level.  Simply put, it can change your life and all your relationships!  I am so passionate about it that I have co-facilitated family systems groups for the past several years.  I love family systems because it has helped me bring my best “self” to my family and my facilitating. Family systems is a journey, not a short destination.   I look forward to co-facilitating with Tim as we have worked together in Family Systems settings before.  I hope you will join us!

Tim Wright Bio, Michigan Conference Elder Retired
I participated in the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center (LMPC) Clergy Clinic nearly20 years ago, which set me on a journey into Family System.  It has continued to empower me to become more fully, the me who God is creating me to be. I have continued to participate and/or help facilitate Family Systems peer groups regularly since then. 

Along the way I have received training by Healthy Congregations, Inc. and I am participating in on-going training as a part of the MiConference Congregational Resilience catalysts team; available to work with conflict ministry settings. I learn and grow best in peer learning settings which is what motivates me to co-facilitate this group. I enjoy an informal style with just enough structure to keep us moving forward. I look forward to co-facilitating with Patty as we have worked together in Family Systems settings before.

Rev. Susan Youmans, Pastor, Grace UMC
- Retired Ordained Elder, The Michigan Conference of The United Methodist Church (2023), serving Grace UMC, Sullivan, Missouri (2023).  
- Trained and certified as a Basic Coach (October, 2018); continued training for certification through the Michigan Conference of The United Methodist Church and Coaching4Clergy/International Coach Federation (2021)

- Trained with 4 years of experience in Circle of Trust process and course facilitation through the Center for Courage and Renewal
Coursework in Family Systems at United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio
- Workshops/Training in Family Systems under Peter Steinke and Lombard Mennonite Peace Center.

Naomi GarciaNaomi García,
Associate Director for Congregational Vibrancy
- Accompanying Michigan United Methodist’s since 1989. 
- Professional Education: Master of Arts, Christian Education; certifications as a Professional Coach (International Coaching Federation), Team Coach (Team Coaching International), Coaching Supervisor (European Mentor and Coaching Council); mediator authorized by both the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center, mediator trainer authorized by Healthy Congregations, Inc.

- Colleague, trainer and supervisor of MI Conference faculty of coaches, family systems consultants and workshop facilitators, and Congregational Resilience catalysts (mediators)
- Family systems theory is my starting place for constructively address conflict.


You will come to understand the 8 concepts of family systems theory, how they interplay and how to apply each in real time personally, professionally and culturally.

  • Triangles
  • Differentiation of Self
  • Nuclear Family Emotional Process
  • Family Projection
  • Multi-Generational Process
  • Sibling Position
  • Emotional Cut-Off
  • Societal Emotional Process - Regression


This class is for the curious. The individuals and groups beginning or continuing their commitment to become their best selves through applications of family systems theory.


Beginning September 28, 2023 through May 30, 2024 on the last Thursday of each month from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm EST. *No meetings in December.


There is no registration cost and no purchase of study materials is required.
Optional purchases from retailer of learner's choice include:

  • FRIEDMAN'S FABLES, Edwin H. Friedman, Guilford Press (NY, 1990).
  • EXTRAORDINARY LEADERSHIP: THINKING SYSTEMS, MAKING A DIFFERENCE, Roberta M. Gilbert, Leading Systems Press (Virginia, 2006).
  • FAMILY GENOGRAM WORKBOOK, Israel Galindo, Elaine Boomer, Don Reagan (September 2006)


A Zoom link will be provided upon registration.

Last Updated on January 26, 2024

The Michigan Conference