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HISTORY OF FAMILY THERAPY IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA

In 1971, Jeff Gerrard returned from North America after training with Nathan Epstein at McMaster University and Fred Duhl and David Kantor at Boston State to become Director of Psychiatry at the Adelaide Children’s Hospital. In 1977 he, Michael White, a senior social worker and Ann Sved Williams a part-time medical officer who had just returned from New York where she had studied with Nathan Ackerman, established a two year part time course in family therapy. In 1979 Malcolm Robinson joined the team as psychiatric social worker and for five years the Psychiatry Department at the Adelaide Children’s Hospital was the centre of innovative work and training in Adelaide.

In 1979 the first edition of the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy with Michael White as its first editor, was printed and posted from Adelaide. Its editorial states that ‘family therapy in Australia had developed to a stage that warranted the establishment of a national journal to promote and support its theory and practice’, to ‘meet a broad cross section of need within the Australian community’.
Malcolm Robinson left the Department in 1981 to establish a private practice at Oxford house and a training program at Sturt Teacher Training College while Michael White followed a year later and established his own course from Oxford House.

Further differentiation followed in 1985 when Michael established Dulwich Centre and Malcolm and Catherine Sanders founded Bower Place.
These two entities have defined family therapy in SA, with Michael developing Narrative Therapy and Bower Place the Bower Place Method, a systemic approach informed by the management of inequality at every level of the system.

The two year family therapy training at Bower Place is an accredited training course with AAFT.