Often when we think about therapy, we might picture someone (including a child) sitting down and talking to a professional while they hold a notepad.

Although these types of settings can prove useful for many individuals, people can often feel like a deer in the headlights in these situations. Children and young people can be reluctant to attend sessions, saying “I don’t know…” in response to the professional’s questions, while sometimes adults can feel stuck speaking about issues that affect the entire family, leaving them feeling disempowered or frustrated when facing complex issues.

Our whole family approach aims to attend to a number of these limitations of working with individuals, especially when working with families with children.

A whole family approach acknowledges that ‘family’ might not be blood related.

Here at Expressive Therapy SA, we acknowledge the diversity of what family may mean to different people from diverse backgrounds. We strive to make our services accessible and available to people from all walks of life, offering a range of creative and expression communication methods for people of all ages.

A whole family approach means everyone has a voice.

In our assessment process, we take upmost care in making sure we hear from all people present about what they would like to see different, if anything. By making these wants and needs known, we can begin to understand ways to creatively move forward and bring justice to the stories that every individual might tell during the course of our work together.

A whole family approach attends to our inherent relational nature.

Households and families are filled with relationships! Our engagement in these relationships shape the way we experience ourselves and the world, and over time, patterns emerge in the way people relate and interact with each other. A whole family approach considers the dynamic and reciprocal nature of relationships, emotions and behaviour, and how patterns involving challenging thoughts, emotions and behaviours can affect all household members (including children) in different ways. Our whole family approach involves working collaboratively with all household members in investigating these patterns of relating, shifting away from a need to find the ‘one true problem’.

A whole family approach creatively invites new information, new understandings and new ways of relating in the moment.

All individuals within a session contribute their own unique perspectives and insights that help us collaborate toward creative solutions. When multiple household members are present in a session, we can also explore these relationships in-the-moment, and experiment with new ways of being with each other and communicating.

A whole family approach considers our expansive personal networks, even if they aren’t in the room.

Our networks of support and relationships span far and wide. There may be important people who have contributed meaningfully to your life who are thousands of kilometres away, who may have passed, who you may not be in contact with anymore, or who might not want to attend sessions. A whole family approach utilising Systemic Family Therapy can explore and investigate these elements, even if such important people cannot attend for whatever reason.

Click here to learn more about Systemic Family Therapy on our website.

See the video below Shane and Rana discuss Online Systemic Family Therapy at Expressive Therapy SA.

See below to book in an initial assessment with our experienced Systemic Family Therapists:

Book an appointment with Shane || Book an appointment with Rana


Carr, A. (2006). Family therapy: Concepts, process and practice (2nd ed.). John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Carr, A. (2019a). Family therapy and systemic interventions for child‐focused problems: the current evidence base. Journal of Family Therapy, 41(2), 153 213. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-6427.12226

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. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-6427.12225

Speyer, L. G., Hang, Y., Hall, H. A., & Murray, A. L. (2022). The role of harsh parenting practices in early- to middle-childhood socioemotional development: An examination in the Millennium Cohort Study. Child Development, 00, 1– 14. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13761