Indigenous family therapy graduates

Family therapists and graduates of the Bouverie Centre and La Trobe University’s post Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy will celebrate the launch of the Indigenous Family Therapy Network at the Inaugural Family Therapy Forum Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 August, 2011.

GraduationThe course is provided by the Indigenous Program, Bouverie Centre, La Trobe University. The program builds capacity to work with families across a range of services, allowing Indigenous families to choose high quality family therapy services in either Indigenous or mainstream services.

This is achieved by creating a professionalised Indigenous family therapy workforce through the La Trobe University post Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy providing ongoing support to graduates to effectively implement their family therapy skills and by contributing to research and capacity building for Indigenous health, child and family workers.

42 graduates have completed the three-year post Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy with many subsequently taking up leadership positions. This program is significant as in 2011 graduates from this course represent 5 per cent of Australia’s Indigenous postgraduates and 17 per cent of all Indigenous students graduating with a post Graduate Certificate in any field.

Many of the students have not previously completed an undergraduate degree, though their considerable skill and expertise working with Indigenous families has been recognised enabling them to successfully complete a postgraduate level course at a retention rate of 95 per cent. This flagship program has made a substantial contribution towards closing the health and education gap for Aboriginal people

The forum will be launched by Dr Kerry Arabena, Chief Executive Officer of the Lowitja Institute.

‘The importance of nurturing and promoting Indigenous child, family and health workers in senior therapeutic roles in Indigenous and mainstream organisations is vital in supporting family healing practices’ says Dr Kerry Proctor, Manager of the Indigenous program

‘These graduates are an asset to their organisations. Their work with families and community is incredibly complex and the need for recognition of career pathways for these and future graduates by their organisations is paramount at this time,’ says Dr Proctor

Following the Launch, a panel discussion—Empowerment by Degree...The Next Steps: Implementing Family Inclusive Practice for Workers—will be facilitated by Dr Arabena.

The panel will include, Daphne Yarram, Inaugural Board of the Congress of Australian First People, Board Member of the Healing Foundation; Robyn Miller-Principal Practitioner, Child Protection, DHS, Victoria Jeff Young, Director, The Bouverie Centre, La Trobe University Aunty May Owen, Respected Elder/Family Therapist.

The Indigenous program is currently reliant on philanthropic support and has previously been funded through the Department of Human Services and the Department of Health. Secure funding is sought to enable this good news story to continue its groundbreaking work.

Media Opportunities

Rhonda Dean, Parenting Co-ordinator and Family Therapist at Rumbalara Family Services ACCO, Shepparton & Koori Faces Program Facilitator is available to be interviewed as well as Daphne Yarram.

When: Tuesday 16th August 2011, 9.45am Kerry Arabena address 10.30am Interview opportunity with Rhonda Dean 11.00am panel discussion

Where: The Amora Hotel, Richmond, 649 Bridge Rd, Richmond 3021

Contact: Jacqui Sundbery, Indigenous Program, The Bouverie Centre,  M 0400 602 809


For any media enquiries please contact:

Meghan Lodwick

Media Communications Officer
T (03) 9479 5353 M 0418 495 941 E