Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy: First Nations

We have been at the forefront in delivering in Community the Postgraduate Certificate in Family Therapy program to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child and family workers.

Since 2009, the Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy has been delivered in Community to 15 cohorts across the country.

Who is it for

The program has been designed specifically for people who are working with First Nations families in community based organisations. All applicants would need to be supported by their organisation.

The eligibility criteria for this course includes:

  1. Previous relevant training including a minimum Certificate IV in mental health, health, welfare or education with some understanding of counselling frameworks.
  2. At least 3 years’ experience (not necessarily concurrent) working with First Nations peoples in a helping, support, counselling or community development role.

Please email Alison Elliott or Elizabeth George or contact us on (03) 8481 4800 for more information.

Why study with us

This program is delivered within Community and utilises a `Black and White Approach’, where an Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal trainer facilitate each class. This forms a solid grounding for a culturally sensitive, respectful and inclusive program.

This innovative method of teaching delivers mainstream family therapy theories in culturally safe and meaningful ways and involves:

  • assessing the cultural relevance of family therapy theory and comparing with Aboriginal Family Healing practices.
  • grounding family therapy theory in the practice of working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.
  • changing family therapy language to make it more accessible to the context in which people are working and then delivering both versions to the students.
  • having the learning take place in an environment that does not evoke earlier shaming experiences.
  • ensuring that the majority of the students in the class are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander to avoid being “the other” and put into the role of spokesperson for Aboriginal culture(s).
  • ensuring there is a shared understanding of First Nations cultures.
  • critical reflection on how family therapy theories are or may not be culturally safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

New graduates can strengthen learnings from the course and build confidence in their new skills by participating in 50 hours of follow-up supervision with their peers. Monthly to 6-weekly group supervision sessions are facilitated by the course trainers and take place in Community.

Read more about the program in The Bouverie Centre Aboriginal Family Therapy Training Program: Impact Analysis Report [PDF 2.8 MB].


If an organisation/region is interested in funding their workers to complete this training, they will need to source the funding in order to cover the HECS debt for their staff. We can assist with this process. Individuals can also apply and will incur a HECS debt but still need support for paid study leave.

Apply now

Please email Alison Elliott or Elizabeth George or contact us on (03) 8481 4800 for more information.