“I can’t really imagine approaching therapy any other way now”
In a recent commentary in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, Hill (2014) noted that, after a long period training as a clinical psychologist in individually-focused treatment models, he felt ill-equipped to address the challenges of complex caregiving systems. Similarly, practitioners training at the Bower Place Complex Needs Clinic tell us that they want to develop more effective practices for working with clients and families with co-morbid issues, located in complex and fractured systems. Systemic and family therapy offers a unique approach. As Hill (2014) found, it can provide a new framework for both thinking about problems and change, and intervening in challenging client and family problems. With a growing evidence-base, it is effective for a wide range of clinical issues such as youth and adult substance misuse, depression, mania and anxiety, schizophrenia, attachment problems, trauma, and behavioural and eating disorders (Carr, 2014a,b; Retzlaff, von Sydow, Beher, Haun, & Schweitzer, 2014; Sprenkle, 2012).
Developed by Clinic Directors Malcolm Robinson and Catherine Sanders, the Bower Place Method is a comprehensive, multi-theoretical model for systemic practice accessible to both experienced and beginning practitioners. It is informed by key schools of family therapy, theories of development and change, neurobiology, and an understanding of inequality. It guides practitioners’ understanding of human difficulties, and directs attention to pathways to “turning” or change. The Method incorporates both the Bower Place Model, a diagrammatic way of describing, explaining and changing the client/family’s experience of a problem and its circumstances, and BowerNote, a comprehensive, contemporaneous note system and protocols for practice that address questions of inequality, transparency, collaboration, productivity, and risk in service delivery. Practitioners from a wide range of backgrounds such as social work, psychology, counselling and education, comment that the Method provides them with “a richness in what I can now offer my clients that I haven’t had from other training models before”, a base to “become more creative and flexible” in their thinking, and a “language (their) clients and families can understand …”.
It you would like more information about how the Method might be applicable to your current work and clinical practice, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or come along to our workshop outlined below.
Carr, A. (2014a). The evidence base for family therapy and systemic interventions for child-focused problems. Journal of Family Therapy, 36(2), 107–157.
Carr, A. (2014b). The evidence base for couple therapy, family therapy and systemic interventions for adult-focused problems. Journal of Family Therapy, 36(2), 158–194.
Hill, H. R. M. (2014). Transitions to systemic practice for a clinical psychology trainee. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 35, 277-290.
Sprenkle, D. (2012). Intervention research in couple and family therapy: A methodological and substantive review and an introduction to the special issue. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 38, 3–29.
Retzlaff, R., von Sydow, K., Beher, S., Haun, M., & Schweitzer, J. (2013). The efficacy of systemic therapy for internalizing and other disorders of childhood and adolescence: A systematic review of 38 randomized trials. Family Process, 52, 619–652.