HISTORY OF FAMILY THERAPY IN TASMANIA

Although family therapy was practised by a number of individuals and agencies in Tasmania during the 1970s, influenced by trainers such as Margaret Topham, it was not until the early 80’s before there was a sufficient number of people and interest to form an association. The association formed with members in each of the three major geographic centres and family therapy teams formed around the state including one, at Clare House, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, that is still functioning today. Family therapy was supported by different agencies and different professional groups. Many of the teams were both multidisciplinary and multi-agency based and this allowed for the opportunity for individuals interested in family therapy to share information improve liaison generally.

Supported by individuals such as Max Cornwell, and by the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, various people/trainers/practitioners, both national and international, came to the state to share knowledge and foster interest. The Tasmanian Family Therapy Association (TFTA) was an important provider of training in systemic therapies during the 80’s and 90’s. While enthusiasm for family therapy was generated by the various interstate and international presenters, and by the conferences, there was sufficient interest in family therapy for a training course in family therapy in Hobart. This ran for a number of years.

The Tasmanian Family Therapy Association hosted a number Family Therapy Conferences and people from the TFTA were involved with the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy in various capacities. The first of these conferences established a formal financial link between the conferences, run by the states associations, and the ANZJFT.

Unfortunately, in the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s, the number of people willing to be actively involved in the TFTA dwindled and the association subsequently discontinued, although a final conference convened by a committee of willing individuals. Although there is a planned introductory 2 day workshop in family therapy for later 2016, and there are individual practitioners of family therapy and the Clare House family therapy team continues to provide a team based family therapy service, the profile of family therapy is low in Tasmania and the practice is only sustained minimally.

Representative on AAFT Committee

Contact person: Sonia Grealish
E-mail: sonia.grealish@aohtas.org.au
Phone work:  6278 1660

Activities

Sitting separately from the membership group, we have regular group of counsellors and students who are interested in systemic practice, we have been meeting for a few years now, this happens once a month. We usually have 2 case discussions. Those who attend find it to be a stimulating and interesting group.

I have contacted current members to attend a discussion on 1st of November. The focus of this discussion will be how we may endeavour raising the profile of Family Therapy in this state, and a brainstorming of ideas of professional development which people may be interested in. At this stage there will be 5 of us attending this discussion.

I have scheduled a meeting with the previous state representative to discuss his experience and any wisdom he may have for gaining more interest in family therapy in Tasmania.

I am currently searching for an ethics representative for Tasmania amongst my networks.

If you are interested in being involved, or need for further information regarding any of the above, please phone Sonia.