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Relationship & Family Therapy

We live our lives through our relationships. Research into what matters most to people consistently finds that close relationships, especially family relationships, rank higher than anything else (Layard, 2005). Our sense of who we are and our sense of wellbeing are intimately associated with our relationships – both to other people and to the contexts in which we live. When relationships do not give us what we need, we lose our sense of comfort and confidence about the person that we are. When relationships go seriously wrong, powerful psychological process come to operate. Often not in full awareness, and while they may offer some protection they often bring unwanted consequences. Much psychological distress is a result of these processes. Conditions that get given labels such as depression, anxiety, and conduct disorder, are very often effects of relationship problems. Conversely, when systemic family therapists see someone in psychological distress they look first for ways that existing relationships could adapted to better help that person. Even when conditions have a clear biological basis, psychological and relationship problems have a real impact on the levels of distress and likelihood of relapse. – Peter Stratton, University of Leeds, UK.

Relationship and Family Therapy

As Systemic Family Therapist’s we provide counselling for families, couples and individuals using a systemic therapy approach, which views difficulties as arising in the relationships between individuals (language, behaviours, interactions), rather than within individuals themselves.

Bunbury Counselling is the only registered Family Therapy practice in the South West of WA, will both Associate Membership and Clinical Membership of the Australian Association of Family Therapy(AAFT).

COURT & LEGAL SERVICES

Reportable Family Therapy

“The process of separation and divorce generates, in most situations, a certain degree of conflict related to the multitude of stressful events and complex issues that confront most couples before, during, and following the decision to end a marriage or relationship (Garrity & Baris, 1994; McIntosh, 2003). According to many experts, parental conflict can be best understood when considered on a continuum that includes low, medium, and high levels.  While estimates vary (between 5 and 15%) as to the number of families that we can label as being high conflict in their post separation and divorce relations (Kelly, 2003), they present, irrespective of their low numbers, an enormous challenge to the court system and professionals working in the legal and mental health field. Not only do they use up an inordinate amount of court time and free legal services, but they also consume the lion’s share of available and scarce psycho-social services (Baris et al., 2000; Saini & Birnbaum, 2007).

What distinguishes high conflict patterns of interaction from those that are considered either low or medium in intensity is the fact that these parents are constantly angry, distrustful, and unable to appropriately communicate their feelings and needs (Coates et al., 2004; Kelly, 2003). Furthermore, they become entrenched in never ending litigation and court battles that promote an escalation of conflict while contributing to an inability to move beyond the hostility, recrimination, and bitter feelings toward the other parent that tend to spiral out of control (Kelly, 2000).

DÁbate, 2016

At Bunbury Counselling, we work with a solution-focused and family narrative approach to move families forward rather than re-surfacing destructive past events and actions.  This avoids stalemates and becoming caught in vicious circles that invariable prevent co-parents from moving forward and successful creating for themselves a “future with a difference” (Binning, 2007). 

We find most parents value family life and desire less problematic family relations, as well as a family story that is more positive and on in which their children can invest and take provide as they grow.  With this in mind, we work collaboratively with parents to build a picture of the co-parenting arrangement they would like to see in the future.  We explore exceptions to their stories of conflict and move towards a future that is parenting in partnership.

Court-Ordered or Reportable Family Therapy is available privately, at the request of Lawyers or the Family Court.


BLENDED: HAPPY PARENTING IN A NON-NUCLEAR WORLD

Today, we live in a world that in so many ways differ from that of our Parents and Grandparents. Dads are actively parenting, whilst Mums are often in the workforce full-time; extended family support is limited, and the non-nuclear families are on the rise. Yet parenting programs remain set up for the Mum-Dad-Two Kids version of family, without any understanding of the complexities of step, half, blended, separated and co-parenting families.

Blended! is a program written by a Family Therapist who lives and breathes blended families… at home and at work.  She lives the battles every day herself – so don’t expect the cliché advice of a regular parent educator – this is real, this is hard, but it can be great.  Join us for night focused on getting your family on track as one happy, healthy, BLENDED family – with plenty of humour to wash it all down.