adults & families
Family therapy

What is Family Therapy and Systemic Practice?

Family therapy and systemic practice is a form of therapy that seeks to help individuals, couples or families find solutions to the difficulties they are experiencing. Family therapy systemic therapists don’t just work with families; they also work as effectively with individuals. 

Family therapy and Systemic practice is a well researched, cost-effective and evidenced-based therapy of choice for supporting neurodivergent and neurotypical children, adolescents and adults, in addressing a wide range of difficulties (Carr, 2019a; Carr, 2019b). 

For children and adolescents, these include:

• Sleeping, feeding or attachment problems
• Behaviour problems, both at home and elsewhere (i.e. school)
• Difficulties where anxiety is a feature (i.e. PTSD, OCD, phobias and selective mutism)
• Difficulties where depression is a feature
• Grief
• Self harm
• Eating disorders
• Pervasive adolescent behaviour problems (which may include offending behaviours or substance misuse)

For adults, these include:

• Relationship distress (either couples or wider family)
• Psychosexual problems
• Intimate partner violence
• Difficulties where anxiety is a feature (I.e. generalised anxiety, panic disorder, agoraphobia, OCD and PTSD)
• Depression
• Bi-polar disorder
• Addiction (i.e. alcohol problem)
• Psychosis
• Chronic illness

Research demonstrates that Family Therapy and Systemic practice is as effective or, in some cases, more effective than individual therapy. Research also shows that it can increase the efficacy of either individual therapy or pharmacological treatments when used in combination (Carr, 2018; Carr, 2019a; Carr, 2019b).

family and systemic therapy

How does Family Therapy and Systemic practice differ from other therapeutic modalities?

Unlike other modalities, Family Therapy and Systemic Practice explicitly acknowledge the wholeness of an individual’s life and experiences, and draws attention to the relationship between internal and external factors.

To paraphrase John Donne’s 17th-century poem, “No one is an Island”. This is a widely understood concept: human beings are relational; from the day we are born, in our unique ways, we all engage with the world and with people, and in turn, they engage with us. Over time, many events occur, and patterns emerge in the way people relate and interact with each other. These patterns can help, but sometimes, for whatever reason, these patterns become stuck and maladaptive. At these times, it is not only one person who experiences difficulties, but also many family members or wider system members.

The therapist’s role is to work collaboratively with individuals, family, friends or other professionals to problem solve, explore new possibilities and find new ways of supporting one another to enjoy better mental health and experience more fulfilling ways of living and relating to each other. There is a deep belief that these solutions are found by working openly together, implementing small strategies and, step-by-step, building on these changes.

Carr, A. (2019a). Family therapy and systemic interventions for child‐focused problems: the current evidence base. Journal of Family Therapy, 41(2), 153 213.

Carr, A. (2019b). Couple therapy, family therapy and systemic interventions for adult‐focused problems: the current evidence base. Journal of Family Therapy, 41(4), 492–536.

systemic therapy

One 90 minute session is $290.94 for families utilising NDIS funding. We are happy to directly invoice self-managed NDIS clients, NDIS plan managers, or via NDIA Portal.

One 90 minute session is $262.50 (+GST) if paying privately.

“Shane is easy to talk to, and I appreciate that he puts everything down in written words, drawings and images to help me grasp ideas better and allow information to sink in. He does not just drop lots of information but speaks to me like a friend, and helps me understand my issues and gives me tools and plans to help work through them.”

“The best thing is she’s fun”


“Paula has an amazing relationship with our son she is very knowledgeable, kind and supportive to our whole family”

Parent, Southern suburbs.

“Great connection formed with (my child) and practitioner and great trust has formed very quickly”.

Carer, Eastern Suburbs

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Adelaide CBD
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33 Pirie Street
Adelaide 5000

Unihealth Playford
250/252 Curtis Road
Munno Para SA 5115

WOW Sensory Centre
19 Stanley St
Morphett Vale SA 5162

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Expressive Therapy SA acknowledge that the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work, have always been creatively expressing, supporting and caring for community on these lands. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded. 

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