Resilience as a Family

Natural disasters like the bushfires which continue to ravage our country and test the coping capacity of affected families, focus our attention on resilience and factors which allow some to better manage the challenges presented. Ungar (2015) suggests that in such contexts families’ well-being ‘depends on both how well the family as a system accesses the resources it needs to sustain itself and grow and how well other systems change to meet the needs of families.

The author draws on a body of research studying the interaction between individuals and their wider system to create a map of family resilience on the assumption that patterns between individuals and the wider system that generate resilience are similar to patterns of families interacting with larger systems that are positive and sustaining. Ungar suggests that as family therapists we need to understand ‘the meso-, exo-, and macrosystemic processes that influence which pattern of resilience is most viable given a family’s environmental load (risk exposure and access to protective resources), discursive power (the power to influence access to resources and the social construction of what resilience looks likes), and timing (when different coping strategies are useful).In addition contextual and cultural elements need to be factored in to create a full understanding. Sadly we will be given ample opportunities to apply this model.

Ungar, M (2015) Varied Patterns of Family Resilience In Challenging Contexts. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 42(1): 19–31



What’s on – Bower Place Knowledge and Training

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