The Australian Association of Family Therapy Inc (AAFT) is a voluntary nonprofit organisation promoting the practice of Family and Systemic Therapy in Australia. It was established in 2012 as an amalgamation of State and Territory Associations, some of which had been continuously operating since 1979.
Family Therapy Associations had existed in all Australian states since 1979 (see history of each state association) and a separate body had been responsible for the publication of the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy (ANZJFT) from 1980.
Victoria was the strongest state association, and in 2012, after many years of discussion, the VAFT organisation was renamed AAFT and other state associations disbanded and transferred their membership to the new national association. The body responsible for publication of ANZJFT also became part of the AAFT structure.
The organisation’s aims are:
- To foster and advance clinical practice and theory formation in family therapy and
- To develop relevant training programs.
AAFT achieves these aims by:
- Stimulating appropriate research
- Establishing suitable standards and
- Promoting public awareness of relevant social issues.
AAFT offers two tiers of membership, Associate and Clinical.
WHAT IS FAMILY THERAPY?
Family Therapy – or to give it its full title, Family and Systemic Psychotherapy – helps people in a close relationship help each other.
It enables family members, couples and others who care about each other to express and explore difficult thoughts and emotions safely, to understand each other’s experiences and views, appreciate each other’s needs, build on strengths and make useful changes in their relationships and their lives. Individuals can find Family Therapy helpful, as an opportunity to reflect on important relationships and find ways forward.
Research shows Family Therapy is useful for children, young people and adults experiencing a very wide range of difficulties and experiences. See our FAQ on ‘What difficulties are helped by Family Therapy?‘.
Family Therapy aims to be:
- Inclusive and considerate of the needs of each member of the family and/or other key relationships (systems) in people’s lives
- Recognise and build on peoples’ strengths and relational resources
- Work in partnership ‘with’ families and others, not ‘on’ them
- Sensitive to diverse family forms and relationships, beliefs and cultures
- Enable people to talk, together or individually, often about difficult or distressing issues, in ways that respect their experiences, invite engagement and support recovery.