Family Therapy… What do you mean?

Interviewing prospective students for the Bower Place Graduate Diploma in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice, I am once again struck by the inadequacy of the term Family Therapy to effectively describe what we do and what we teach.

Writing in the Journal of Marriage and Family Therapy 2019, Wampler and Blow et al express a similar sentiment. Those of us who work in the field ‘know who we are and the value of what we do’ yet many outside ‘assume that we are defined by who is in the therapy room with us (modality) instead of by who we are thinking about when we are in the therapy room (conceptualization).’ The paper notes that while we have ‘evolved and strengthened’, work is needed in relation to our ‘identity, comprehensive scholarly resources, empirical support, and name brand recognition’. The paper explores the reasons why this is so and proposes ‘embracing the interdisciplinary nature of the field, consistently organizing treatment effectiveness by problem rather than by intervention model, continuing innovation in theory development, and utilizing more diverse and meaningful research methods’. The authors conclude that the compelling evidence for the value of relational interventions supports the value of this work and that they  ‘look forward to updated textbooks, literature reviews, articles, books, and other resources that better define the identity of Couple, Marital and Family Therapy and provide a basis for rapidly moving both the profession and practice forward.’

We hope for the same.


Wampler, K., Blow,A., Lenore M. McWey,L., Miller,R. and Richard S. Wampler (2019) THE PROFESSION OF COUPLE, MARITAL, AND FAMILY THERAPY (CMFT): DEFINING OURSELVES AND MOVING FORWARD Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 45(1): 5-18


What’s on – Bower Place Knowledge and Training


Bower Training offers the Graduate Diploma in Family Therapy & Systemic Practice which provides students with a Nationally Recognised Qualification. Students gain an understanding of key theoretical concepts underpinning systemic family therapy and engage in supervised clinical practice. The Graduate Diploma in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice is accredited by the Australian Association of Family Therapy (AAFT).


For course details, visit


The How do I series

short 20 – 30 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 be addressed by the presenter 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.

Cost $10 per session. 

For information and bookings (08) 8221 6066 or