FAMILY THERAPY IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Deisy Amorin-Woods | WA State Representative


Click HERE to contact the WA State Representative

Click HERE to read Deisy’s Bio

Click HERE to read AAFTWA Unity Picnic summary – 23 January 2022

 

Family Therapy in Western Australia has gone through a major evolution. Between 1982 to 2006, WA Family Therapy Group existed as a group of interested practitioners working in the field of family therapy.

In early 2006 a meeting was held, led by Aldo Gurgone and Roxanne Garven, where many interested practitioners interested in working with families gathered. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an update on advances in the field of family therapy in Australia and to determine whether there was sufficient interest to set up an interest group or Association in WA. Shortly after that the group formed the Western Australian Family Therapy Interest Group (WAFTIG) which later became the WA Family Therapy Association (WAFTA). The aim of the group was to attend regular professional development with guest speakers, increasing the profile of family therapy, opportunities to meet others working with families, and exploring different and innovative ways of working, research and publications and supervision register.

The membership has grown from 8 members in 2006 to a membership of 65 in 2022 (broken down into 25 clinical members, 13 professional members and 24 general members).

In 2007, the Committee decided to revive the WA Family Therapy Association and initial discussions were held at the AAFT in Tasmania in September that year between states about becoming nationally affiliated. Aldo Gurgone and Roxanne Garven represented WA as members of the National working party to establish a National Association of Family Therapists. In 2016, WA AAFT, along the other states, merged to become the National Association AAFT (Australian Association of Family Therapy).

WA values the involvement in research and collaborative efforts between the AAFT and ANZJFT (Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy). Roxanne Garven is a member of the Editorial Board and the current WA Branch Rep, Deisy Amorin-Woods is an Associate Editor of the ANZJFT.

There have been many prominent national and international family therapy figures who have come to Western Australia as visiting practitioners and to provide training and workshops. They have contributed enormously to what family therapy is today in WA. The Italian family therapy influence has comprised of Dr. Paolo Bertrando, psychiatrist and systemic therapist, trainer at the Milan Centre for Family Therapy and director of the Episteme Systemic Training Centre, who was trained by Boscolo & Cecchin in the Milan Approach and Professor Maurizio Andolfi, former professor of Psychology at the Sapienza University in Rome and Director of the Accademia di Psicoterapia della Famiglia. While Maurizio came to Australia on many occasions throughout the years, in 2012 we were very fortunate to have Maurizio migrate to Australia, along his family, with a ‘distinguished talent’ tittle. We are particularly honoured he decided to make Western Australia, with its enviable beaches and landscape, his home. His major influential teachers were Salvador Minuchin, Jay Haley and Carl Whitaker. He has brought those influences into the training of family therapists in WA.

The WA State branch WA has hosted two Symposiums in 2011 and 2015 and also two Annual AAFT Conferences, in 2012 and 2021. On the 25-26 October, 2012, the Conference titled “Family Therapy in the Tapestry of Clinical Practice” was held in Perth. On the 30-31 October, WA hosted the Conference titled: “Distances” as a virtual alternative due to the Covid-19 pandemic and barriers associated to this including border closures. Given the many related challenges the conference evolved and went through a number of changes from face to face, to hybrid, to virtual. Due to the commitment as well as the rich and varied contributions from all members of the conference working party, the conference was a great success and well received by our family therapy peers nationally and internationally.

To date, there are two AAFT accredited family therapy training courses in WA. In 1987 Aldo Gurgone established the William Street Family Therapy Centre, and a few years later Roxanne Garven developed the Systemic Consultation Centre. The current State Branch Representative, Deisy Amorin-Woods, is passionate about education and training for practitioners as well as raising awareness about the field of family therapy across sectors in Western Australia. To this end, and through her commitment to collaboration across disciplines and sectors in best meeting the needs of the community, she is developing a working party of interested practitioner members.

There are two Accredited courses in WA:-

William Street Family Therapy Centre
Director| Aldo Gurgone

Systemic Consultation Centre
Director| Roxanne Garven