Keynote Speakers & Addresses


Zhao Xudong, M.D.


Saturday Plenary Address

"Family-centred practice for Chinese families of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in a Chinese context"

Dr. Joyce Ma, Ph.D., a professor of marriage and family therapy in the Department of Social Work at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China, has a long-held interest in multiple family therapies.  She recently published an article on multiple family therapy with Chinese families whose children had attention deficit hyperactive disorder.  Her recent work was just published in Family Process.

A member of the IFTA Board of Directors since 2011 and now the President-Elect (2019-2021), she is also co-director of the Academy of Family Therapy (Hong Kong).  Dr. Ma is a Clinical Fellow of Asian Academy of Family Therapy and a Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.


Zhao Xudong,  M.D.

Thursday Plenary Address

"The Development of Family Therapy in China: Its Impact on Therapy, Research and Education"

Dr Xudong Zhao, M.D., is Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology and Director of the Division of Medical Humanities at Tongii University School of Medicine in Shanghai, China.  In addition to his dues at Tongii, he is President of the Mental Health Center of Pudong New Area, affiliated with Tongii University.
Dr. Zhao is also the Director of the Department of Psychosomatic Medicine at Shanghai East Hospital, affiliated with Tongii University.

Involved in many professional associations, Dr. Zhao is Vice-Chairman of the Chinese Association of Mental Health and President of its Section for Psychotherapy and Psychological Counseling.  He is also Vice-president of the Psychosomatic Medicine Section of the Chinese Medical Association, Vice-president of the World Council of Psychotherapy, and Executive board member of the Urban Mental Health Section of the World Psychiatry Association.  

Title: Family-centred practice for Chinese families of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in a Chinese context

Description: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common childhood mental health problem affecting about 5% school-age children worldwide and 8.9% school-age children in Hong Kong. If not properly managed, the disorder would bring detrimental negative effects on children’s academic performance, self-esteem, family and peer relationships. Family life of these families may be organized by the symptoms, leaving little time and effort to fulfil the developmental needs of the child as well as other family members. Management of the disorder in Hong Kong adheres to the international mainstream treatment comprising stimulant medication and behavioural therapy. Despite the significance of family-centred practice in caring for children with ADHD in western societies such as the USA and the UK, current management for these children in Chinese societies such as Hong Kong is predominantly symptom-focused, deficit-based and behavioural oriented, which may account for the under-involvement of parents in assessment and treatment and the under-utilization of the parental resources and strengths in the care of these children.  In view of this service gap, our research team has launched a family-centred research, namely the use of MFT for Chinese families of children with ADHD.  In implementing the study, we have offered family therapy to a few families which are in need of intensive individualized professional help outside the group.

The aims of this presentation are to: (a) identify the development challenges and needs of Chinese families of school-age children diagnosed with ADHD; (b) provide an overview of the family-centred practice, which comprises of multiple family therapy (MFT) and family therapy (FT), in helping, in addition to prescription of medication; (c) report on the treatment efficacy of MFT in the perspectives of the Chinese parents and the children with ADHD in Hong Kong; (d) narrate their subjective perception of  MFT after going through it; and (e) highlight the treatment strategies adopted in family therapy in general and in particular how these strategies help to resolve the maltreatment in parent-child relationships among families of children with ADHD in a culturally resonant manner. Implications of the study for developing evidence-based family-centred practice for school-age children with ADHD and recommendations for future application of family-centred practice for these children will be discussed.

Title: The Development of Family Therapy in China:  Its Impact on Therapy, Research and Education 

Description: Since 1988, systemic family therapy has been spreading steadily in China. Structural family therapy was introduced into China in 1990's. They are the major models of family therapy there. Family therapy is highly valued and widely practised because of its affinity both with Chinese traditional culture and with contemporary social reality. This presentation will introduce the meaning and practical usefulness of family therapy for the Chinese, and illustrate how the Chinese have transplanted such a Western treatment into a Eastern society through their efforts in education, research and clinical practices in various medical and non-medical institutions.