Please Note: Only COVID-19 vaccinated adults and children over 5 can attend the Clinic.

Keeping Training Alive Through Lockdown

Keeping Training Alive Through Lockdown

Practitioners faced multiple challenges when the pandemic hit, and the world went into lock down. The question of how to provide confidential, effective services to clients already struggling with multiple demands was universal but for training organisations working directly with clients there was an additional layer.

How could we meet our client’s needs while continuing the training that had been commenced by students? At Bower Place students in the Graduate diploma in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice work directly with families as therapist, a student in their second year of training and co-therapist, a first-year student. Two sessions run simultaneously observed by a senior teacher and practitioner, who traditionally knocks on the door to offer advice or joins the session in person.

The problem was solved by a young member of our group who devised a process whereby all 14 students were sent a link for a Team which they joined prior to the family session and where briefings were conducted following the format used in face to face teaching. The group then divided into two and a second link was issued to both them and the family to which they were consulting. The teacher was able to communicate through text to the so-therapist who was empowered to act on the direction. Session breaks and post session debriefings were managed through the original link. Our greatest surprise was the ease with which we and the families we consulted adopted the process and the positive outcomes achieved. Additionally, it allowed our country, interstate, and overseas students to join us on an equal footing.

The process has not been without hiccups, but it has shown us that we can now offer effective supervision and training to practitioners who live far from major cities and training centres in a way that does not disadvantage them. It is also an option for the many families that are geographically far from us but can be brought close on-line.


Graduate Diploma in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice

This 2-year post graduate qualification is accredited with the Australian Association of Family Therapy (AAFT). On completion, with an additional 50-hours group or individual supervision and 500-hours clinical experience, students are eligible to apply to join AAFT as a Clinical Family Therapist and identify themselves as such.

Students participating in the Bower Place Graduate Diploma in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice work with Bower Place Complex Needs Clinic clients on a Wednesday evening. Sessions are facilitated by a first and second-year student together with continuous and direct oversight by educators, Melissa Minney, Program Director, AAFT Clinical Member and Clinical Psychologist, and Catherine Sanders, Bower Place Director, AAFT Clinical Member and Clinical Psychologist. Catherine meets all new clients as part of the first session and participate in sessions as required.

On completion of this course students should be able to:

  • Identify the central theoretical tenets of a systemic approach to family therapy
  • Describe the relationship between a systemic approach and the personal, relationship and ethical difficulties experienced by clients
  • Describe the way in which a systemic approach is applied to individuals, couples, families and wider systems
  • Apply theory of systemic practice to work with a range of presenting problems and family arrangements
  • Have developed an understanding of their own personal responses to human difficulties as a result of experiences in their family of origin and life experience and be skilled at managing and utilising their resources.

To find out more information about the course, call (08) 8221 6066 or email

Clinical Supervision

Clinical Supervision for professionals to enhance their knowledge of Family Therapy and Systemic Practice, accrue CPD points, practical workplace experience and additional supervision towards AAFT Clinical Membership or AASW Mental Health Social Worker status.

What Clinical Supervision opportunities are available?

  1. Professional Practice and Development Supervision can be booked by the hour for professionals seeking direct oversight from an accredited supervisor for workplace professional practice and development.
  2. Group Supervision for work teams for direct case oversight.
  3. Clinical Supervision towards AAFT Clinical Membership or AASW Mental Health Social Worker status by block placement or weekly sessions working with families.

Professional practice and development and group supervision can be conducted across Australia or overseas via live streaming technology.

Knowledge and Training – Professional Development 

Professionals in both the public and private sectors have expertise in their chosen field, be it medicine, law or accounting, but are constrained to respond to the emotional demands of their clients. They may also feel overwhelmed by those demands. The task of emotional helping requires specialist expertise in managing complex situations, an ability to assess the dynamics and difficulties that present both individually and relationally and understand the impact of the current health crisis on individuals, families and the work contexts. This is particularly true of those working in the human services field; psychology, social work, accounting, law whose clients look to for clear, unequivocal guidance, support and advice. As the demand from our clients increases, we may find ourselves doubly overwhelmed and unable to adequately respond to them and others in our world.

High quality training and professional development to colleagues, business leaders, teams and organizations will continue to be offered as on-line supervision and training. Input can be tailored to the specific needs of the individual practitioner, team or work group to help them work more effectively with their client group while remaining effective and functional.

Bower Place provides confidential expert face-to-face and online consultations for children, adolescents, adults, couples and families experiencing the impact of the COVID-19. When humans experience extraordinary external stressors, individual and relationship distress between couples and within families can escalate.

For bookings or further information please contact Bower Place (08) 8221 6066 or

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