Language & Cultural Diversity II

What can Family Therapy Offer Refugees?

The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees estimated that in 2015 over 65million people were forced from their homes as a result of armed conflict, persecution or disaster. Of these, over half were children and adolescents, some of whom travelled alone. The distress of these experiences can result in posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, psychotic disorders, substance misuse and interpersonal violence. How do we as systemic practitioners most appropriately respond?

Patterson et al (2018) suggests that ‘family therapy principles and practices resonate with the needs of refugee communities’ for in many of these populations the individual is characteristically viewed in the context of their family with displacement strengthening this interdependence even when physically apart. The authors view is that “The systemic and relational focus of family therapists that includes concepts such as family hierarchy, boundaries, strengths, adaptability, cohesion, and expressed emotion can help therapists conceptualize and plan interventions that meet the pressing needs of refugee families”. The paper identifies five principles that a family therapy approach should incorporate. These are:

  1. A focus on skill and interventions that engage families and aid communication
  2. Attention to cultural norms
  3. Intervention designed with a view to limited funds, resources and the need for sustainability
  4. Deliver services in contexts like medical clinics and schools where families can readily access services.
  5. Train and supervise community members to deliver care

With an increasing number of referrals of refugee families into the Bower Place Complex Needs Clinic these principles are congruent with the protocols and practices developed to maximise effective service delivery. Next week’s Directors Notes will address the first of these principles with reference to effective communication.

Jo Ellen Patterson,J., Abu-Hassan,H., Vakili,S.King,A.(2018) Family Focused Care For Refugees and Displaced Populations: Global Opportunities for Family Therapists Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 44(2): 193–205

Upcoming workshop – Emotional Dysregulation

“A neuro-political approach to therapy with emotionally & behaviourally dysregulated children, adolescents & families”

A one-day workshop, combining clinical expertise, knowledge and training within the Bower Place Complex Needs Clinic. An opportunity to explore research drawing on live clinical practice.

15th March 2019 – 9.30am to 5pm.

Cost $190 for full day training with Senior Practitioners in the field and Bower Place Directors Catherine Sanders and Malcolm Robinson

For bookings (08) 8221 6066 or info@bowerplace.com.au (places are limited)

Bower Clinic

Appointments are available

  • Monday 10am-5pm
  • Tuesday 10am-7.30pm
  • Wednesday 10am-7.30pm
  • Thursday 10am-5pm
  • Friday 10am- 5pm

Fees & Charges

We are able to provide a Bulk Billing service by a psychologist and Medicare accredited Mental Health Social Workers for clients who hold a Mental Health Care Plan from their GP.

We also work with clients covered by NDIS support plans.

Clients who are not covered by either a Mental Health Care Plan or the NDIS are able to access services within the Complex Needs Clinic at a low fee rate of $60 per 90 minute session.

Bower Training

Bower Place has a wide range of qualifications & other training opportunities available including:

  • Graduate Diploma in Family Therapy & Systematic Practice
  • Clinical Supervision
  • Clinical Placements
  • Diploma of Counselling (CHC5105)
  • Short Course Specialisation – Introduction to Family Therapy
  • Workshops – Bower Place senior practitioners & national & international guest presenters
  • Knowledge & Training Membership Portal – Bower Systemic

Opportunities to:

  • Work directly with clients in the Bower Place Complex Needs Clinic
  • Partner with senior practitioners in a dynamic learning environment
  • Explore diverse blended knowledge & training methodology
  • Undertake practical weekly or block intensive placement
  • Study online knowledge and theoretical assessments