AAFT WA Branch Report, 13th March 2017

Anne Holloway | WA State Representative | aaftwa.staterep@gmail.com

As the State Rep of the WA Branch of the Incorporated Australian Association of Family Therapy, I would like to welcome you all to our first Professional Development for 2017. We are opening the first PD of 2017 as the new AAFT WA Branch with a State Representative and support group of interested, dedicated and passionate professionals to provide you with Professional Development events to promote family therapy in WA.

In 2011 the Victorian Association of Family Therapy (VAFT) officially transitioned to become the national association of family therapy, Australian Assoc of Family Therapy (AAFT). VAFT began with some 15 members; AAFT now boasts over 900 members with 70% Clinical Members and 30% Associate Members. As of June 2016, WA has 40 Associate Members and 35 Clinical Members.

As AAFT has undergone changes to become a National body, WA has also been impacted. We have transitioned from WAFTA with a Chairperson, Aldo Gurgone with a Committee to the WA Branch of AAFT with a State Representative and a group of enthusiastic volunteers who assist the State Representative. These are currently: –

Anne Holloway- State Representative
Marie Louise Collins
Angela Ranallo
Robyn Loughrey
Kate Barrett-Lennard
Paul McNeela

I would like to honour Aldo Gurgone as one of the founding members of the Western Australian Family Therapy Association (WAFTA) which operated from 1982 – 2000 with Aldo Gurgone and Jim Crawley. Aldo has kept family therapy alive in WA with his family therapy training programmes at William Street; many workshop presentations around the State and creating an Association. Consequently, he has a phenomenal presentation in Family Therapy in this State. If Dr. Geoff Goding was the Foundation President and is regarded as the grandfather of Australian Family Therapy Nationally; having introduced the approach in 1970 to the Bouverie Clinic in Melbourne, then Aldo is the grandfather of Family Therapy in WA.

In April 2006, Aldo and Roxanne Garven hosted a meeting for those interested in working with families; approximately 40 people attended. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an update on developments in the field of family therapy in Australia, specifically to discuss the development of an Australian Association of Family Therapy (AAFT) and to determine whether there was sufficient interest to set up a group or an association here in WA. It was decided in 2006 to become the WA Family Therapy Interest Group of which initially there were eight members.

At the April 2006 meeting, there were conversations about what people wanted from the group; the first being regular professional development meetings with guest speakers. This fits with the Objectives of the current National Assoc of AAFT i.e. The purpose of the Professional Development presentations is to promote family therapy in the State of WA and to increase membership of AAFT.

History of Professional Development in WA

Besides the regular PD’s over the years. WAFTA also organised a: –

Symposium                                         2011
National Conference                         2012
Symposium                                         2015
PD                                                         2016 (Numbers increased up to 30 attendees)
PD                                                         2017
National Conference                         2018 (Broome?)

PD Presentations in 2016

14th March Roxanne Garven “Let the client’s context inform practice: A Case Study” Attendance – 25
20th June Paul McNeela “The Suicidal Adolescent in Family Therapy.” Attendance – 35
29th August Aldo Gurgone “How to Support Families when a member of the family is suicidal Therapist Reflections.”
6th – 7th October Moshe Lang “Resilience – Responding to Loss and Trauma 2 days

Theme for 2017 Professional Development presentations:

Creativity in Systemic Family therapy 

13 March Therapy with diverse families undergoing complex transformations”
Maurizio Andolfi & Lorena Cavalieri
8 May Creative Tools: Using Music in Systemic Family Therapy
Bridie Fitzgerald
10 July Manifesting the Unseen: Sculpting in Systemic Family Therapy
Anne Holloway
11 September Rituals, Customs and Celebrations around Grief and Loss in Diverse Cultures
11 November Creative Tools: using Art in Systemic Family Therapy


It is now my pleasure to welcome Maurizio Andolfi and Lorena Cavalieri this evening to present a workshop titled “Therapy with diverse families undergoing complex transformations.” We decided on this title because WAFTA has undergone transformation in the past couple of years and is now officially the WA Branch of AAFT.



Anne Holloway
State Representative | WA Branch