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What if they can hear me?

What if they can hear me?

The sanctity and privacy of the therapeutic conversation has been an underpinning principal to the extent that it is enshrined in ethical guidelines that protect clients from breaches of confidentiality by practitioners. More difficult is managing the curiosity of family members when sessions are held with an individual or subsystem, and a parent, partner or child is found listening at the door.

Telehealth presents even greater challenges as it is impossible to know who else is in a room when the therapists view is limited by a screen. While overtly addressing the issue, seeking co-operation from all family members and testing this is not always successful. Burgoyne, N.& Cohn, A (2020) in their paper Lessons from the Transition to Relational Teletherapy During COVID-19 make some useful suggestions. Downloading a white noise app onto the mobile phone and setting it outside the door is a clever strategy when working with adolescents who fear being overheard by parents which has the additional benefit of removing the distraction of the phone in the session. Individual and couple sessions can be successfully conducted in the privacy of a car which, if strategically parked, can also allow parents to watch children while they meet. Going for a walk or sitting in a park can also solve the problem. Zoom and Teams has the provision of breakout rooms which can be utilized if the session becomes potentially dangerous or a private conversation is indicated. This effectively replicates the request in real life that one person go to the waiting room but does necessitate at least two devices.

However, there are some situations where no boundary is respected, and the only solution is to move rapidly to actively invite the intruder to join to discuss their concern for the client. It may mean the end of therapy but is better than an ongoing struggle for control that cannot be effectively exercised and will inevitably put the therapeutic process at risk.

Burgoyne, N.& Cohn, A Lessons from the Transition to Relational Teletherapy During COVID-19 Fam Proc 59:974–988, 2020

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 participates in sessions as required.

On completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Identify the central theoretical tenets of a systemic approach to family therapy
  2. Describe the relationship between a systemic approach and the personal, relationship and ethical difficulties experienced by clients
  3. Describe the way in which a systemic approach is applied to individuals, couples, families and wider systems
  4. Apply theory of systemic practice to work with a range of presenting problems and family arrangements
  5. 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 info@bowerplace.com.au

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 organisations 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 info@bowerplace.com.au

NDIS Services

Bower Place is an experienced NDIS service provider, of therapeutic practice, support coordination, and therapeutic mentoring with expertise in services for complex, co-morbid, child, adolescent and adult mental health, disability and child protection matters. We work therapeutically with cognitively challenged clients and those with significant cultural, language or religious differentials. Bower Place works in 7 first languages; English, Mandarin, Farsi, Dari, Arabic, Dinka and Russian.

Bower Place is seasoned in face-to-face and online service delivery and we have organised our staff into expert teams to respond to each client’s need in their unique context. This may be for direct services to clients or those providing other forms of care. All staff have access to the most recent and secure technology in order to offer the highest level of therapeutic services on-line and with safety and confidentiality. We are skilled in working with individuals, couples, families and work groups. We also provide support and guidance to those who work with their own clients or patients.

For bookings or further information please contact Bower Place (08) 8221 6066 or info@bowerplace.com.au

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