Mental Illness and Families – The Symptom is in Me but the Solution is in the Family

Bower Knowledge

The siloed approach to many of our human services can mean that when a parent develops a mental illness both the impact on and resources for recovery within the family are overlooked. A paper published for practitioners by the Australian Institute for Family Studies recognises that parental mental illness can ‘underpin or exacerbate many of the difficulties experienced by individuals and families in contact with the human services sector’.

It encourages practitioners to understand that recovery occurs in the context of the family and to focus on supporting parent-child bonds and families’ strengths, while acknowledging their vulnerabilities. Families should be encouraged to identify what recovery means to them while helping members understand and speak about mental illness. Linking to communities and other wider systems resources is also important. Developing skills and confidence to work with all family members, no matter how compelling the symptoms of the individual, is crucial to the success of this work.

Price-Robertson,R.,Olsen,G. Francis,H., Obradovic,A., and Brad Morgan,B (2016) Supporting Recovery In Families Affected By Parental Mental Illness Australian Institute for Family Studies

Coming Soon – as of September 2019

The How do I series – short 20 minute online professional development

At Bower Place we teach clinical practice working with students from Certificate 4 to post graduate family therapy trainees in our Graduate Diploma in Family Therapy & Systemic Practice course accredited with the Australian Association of Family Therapy (AAFT). While our students are often well equipped to learn theory, and many have completed studies that require high level theoretical understanding, many of them find the translation of theory into practice in the therapeutic setting to be their greatest challenge. Often the most confident articulate student finds themselves at a ;loss when confronted  with the real life complexity of individuals, couples and  families whom they see in the Complex Needs Clinic.
How do you make a connection with anyone from  a baby to a centenarian?  How do you formulate a working hypothesis? How do you ask a relevant question? How do you maintain order and direction in a session without becoming constrictive? All these questions and more made us realise that it was time to run the “How do I?” series. The series comprise fortnightly on-line presentations that specifically address these practical skill questions. Each is for 20 minutes and includes an introduction to the question, a brief theoretical underpinning and practical advice, explanation and demonstration of the skill.
Attendees can log on to experience the session in real time and send questions to the presenter to address at the conclusion of the session. An additional 10 minutes will be allocated to do this. The series will also be available as a recording which can be purchased to be viewed over 24hours.
For those wishing to claim CPD reading and a post session quiz can be provided.
For information and bookings (08) 8221 6066 or

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
  • 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