Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 400–419 | Cite as

Reflections on Family Therapy in Australia

  • Banu MoloneyEmail author
Original Paper


Family therapy in Australia has been influenced by ideas mostly from North America and Europe. However Australian family therapists have also made their own significant contributions to theory and practice. The vastness of the continent combined with a relatively small population has presented challenges with respect to the formation of a national association and for many years, the Australian Journal of Family Therapy (later the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy Board acted as de facto national voice for the discipline. The Australian Association of Family Therapy was formed as recently as 2011. It has a total of over 1,000 members and is the sole organisation representing family therapy and family therapists in Australia. Clinical membership is achieved via successful completion of a 2-year sequence of study in family therapy followed by 50 hours of supervision (or its equivalent). Family Therapy training is mostly delivered in the four most populated states in Australia at both University level and through private organisations registered to provide training at government approved levels. La Trobe University (through the Bouverie Centre), Swinburne University (through the Williams Road Family Therapy Centre) and the University of New South Wales currently provide training leading to specialist qualification in family therapy. A number of other private institutions also provide recognised family therapy training. To date, family therapists and couple therapists in Australia have not in the main shared common platforms such as conferences, training and professional journals. Narrative therapy has also remained somewhat detached from “mainstream” family therapy. Family therapy qualifications are often valued by prospective employers even when duty statements are focused on the more traditional skills of professionals such as psychologists or social workers. Researching family therapy outcomes remains challenging. But although there is increasing practiced-based evidence of the efficacy of family therapy, Australian family therapists as a group are yet to concentrate their efforts on convincing funding bodies of its usefulness. At the same time, via the teaching and promotion of family sensitive practices, systemic ideas are being increasingly incorporated within areas of mental health, disability, alcohol and drug dependency, and within a range of health and welfare areas that impact not just on the individuals but on those close to them.


Family therapy Family sensitive practice Systemic therapy Australia 



I wish to acknowledge the support and contributions of Professor Lawrence Moloney, Max Cornwell (former editor of the ANZJFT) and Dr. Jeff Young.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.La Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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