Family therapy training


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Please find below a series of Frequently Asked Questions we've put together based on questions we’ve fielded in the past from prospective students. If you’re unable to find an answer to your question here, please do not hesitate to contact our Student Services Officer on: 03 9385 5112 or email

On this page: Entry requirements Q&A; Application process Q&A; Course structure Q&A; Course venue Q&A; Course outcomes Q&A; Other questions

Course Pre-Requisites / Eligibility Requirements

Who is eligible to apply for Bouverie’s postgraduate coursework programs?
Australian and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply. Specific holders of a temporary (non-student) visa may be eligible. Contact the Student Services Officer at 9385 5112 to discuss eligiblity. Please see course specific overviews for further information about other pre-requisites.

Are the courses available to international students?
No. For the time being, these courses are only available to local students (Australian and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents) or specific temporary visa holders.

Will the completion of the Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy guarantee me entry into the Master of Clinical Family Therapy?
Not necessarily. Acceptance into the course is dependent on meeting course eligibility/entry requirements and performance at an interview. Preference will also be given if you have at least two years’ experience in working with families and/ or counselling.

I notice that students undertaking the Master of Clinical Family Therapy are required to have a caseload of at least five clients (i.e. five open files) at any one time, and that whilst a portion of these cases can be individual or couples, they must be working with at least one family at any one time. Why is that?

  1. Ongoing opportunities for practice are absolutely vital to the acquisition and integration of the theory and skills that you will be learning throughout the course. Our experience is that students’ learning opportunities are extremely compromised where there are no such opportunities, and this can impact on both their confidence and on their capacity to satisfactorily complete the course.
  2. The written assessments will largely be based on your experience with current family practice. Without a corpus of work from which to draw it is not possible to complete these assessments.
  3. In Level 3 you will have the opportunity to work with families registered with the Bouverie Centre. You therefore need to achieve a minimum standard of practice, not just for the sake of completing the course, but also to ensure an adequate standard with families for whom the Bouverie Centre has responsibility.

In summary, unless you are getting practice in a context other than your studies at Bouverie, you will be unlikely to be able to meet the demands of the course at these levels.

What kind of family work am I expected to be doing whilst undertaking Year 2 and Year 3 of the Master of Clinical Family Therapy?
Family work in this instance is defined as work with more than one generation in the room. Subsystems of families are acceptable as “family work” as long as they are either the sibling subsystem or more than one generation. While couple and individual work may happen in the context of family therapy and may make use of systemic techniques and concepts, this would need to happen less than 50% of the time. This latter is not considered “family therapy” for the purposes of this course as different skills are required.

There needs to be a clear understanding by clients and therapist that what is being engaged in is family counselling or family therapy, i.e.,  there need to be clear therapeutic goals that the family wants to achieve through the work. The therapy needs to include all persons in the room rather than individual work in the presence of another family member or with consultation with another family member. This means that family support and crisis management, while legitimate forms of family intervention, would not qualify as meeting the requirements.

There is also a requirement that a substantial proportion of the work be ongoing sessions, that is, not all single session work. Note that even single session work has clearly articulated goals and an understanding that what is being engaged in is therapy/counselling.

What if I don’t have much or any direct involvement with families in my workplace?
In the event that your paid employment doesn’t provide the opportunity to actively counsel families, you will need to find other ways to do it. Applicants will not be accepted into Year 2 and Year 3 of the Master of Clinical Family Therapy course unless they can provide evidence of being engaged by at least one organisation to provide this type of work. This could be a volunteer placement. Alternatively, you might be interested in joining one of our Clinical Practice Groups.

If students change jobs during the course, it is their responsibility to source the required family work if their new job does not provide it. Results will be withheld, and therefore graduation postponed, until students have fulfilled this requirement.

How difficult is it to get into Bouverie’s postgraduate courses?
More students apply than are generally accepted. Applicants who have made an attempt to familiarise themselves with the theory and practice of family therapy or narrative therapy either by attending continuing education courses, seminars or supervision with a therapist will be considered favourably. There are different requirements for involvement in each course. Please refer to the course pre-requisites for each course. Acceptance into each course is dependent on meeting eligibility/entry requirements, performance at interview and availability of places.

How many students do you take?
In 2018, our intake will be:

  • 24 for the Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy
  • 24 for the 2nd year of the Master of Clinical Family Therapy
  • 24 for the 3rd year of the Master of Clinical Family Therapy

Application Process

How do I get my documents certified?
Take originals and photocopies to a GP, pharmacist or member of the police to certify. They need to sight the original and will then stamp and sign the copy to confirm it is a true copy of the original which is being sighted.

What citizenship/permanent/temporary residency documents are acceptable?

  • New Zealand passport
  • New Zealand birth certificate
  • Australian permanent visa documents
  • International passport with acceptable temporary resident non-student visa documents

Note: Australian citizens are not required to provide documentation

Can I just apply for the Graduate Diploma in Family Therapy?
No. You will need to apply for the 3-year Master of Clinical Family Therapy. Providing you are successful in completing the requisite family therapy subjects, in both Level 1 and Level 2, you may then exit the course after Level 2 with a Graduate Diploma in Family Therapy.

What happens in the selection interview?
It depends on the course you are interviewing for. If you meet the preliminary criteria for admission to one of our Graduate Certificate courses you will be asked to attend a 30 minute interview with the course convenor to discuss your eligibility and application further.

Suitable applicants for the Master of Clinical Family Therapy courses will need to allow approximately 45 minutes to one hour for the entire interview process. The interview takes place in two parts. In the first part you will be required to interview a role-play family to demonstrate your ability to engage a family in relation to their presenting issues. This role-play will take approximately 15 minutes. You will then have a chance to discuss the role-play with the interviewer.  In the second part of the interview you will have an opportunity to answer questions about your suitability for the course and ask questions to satisfy yourself that the course is appropriate for your personal and professional needs.

Course Structure 

Do you accept mid-year admissions?

Are these courses available full time?
No, only part time.

Are your courses available online or via distance education?
Some of our educational content and instruction is delivered online, particularly in the Graduate Certificate of Family Therapy. However, traditional face-to-face classroom methods form a significant component of most of our courses.  Contact hours vary depending on the unit being studied.

When are classes held?
Years 2 & 3 of the Master of Clinical Family Therapy are taught in two x 12 week semesters. It is an expectation that Master’s students attend all live supervision sessions and lectures.

The Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy is delivered in a blended learning format. Attendance at all face-to-face workshops is mandatory for satisfactory completion of the course.

Absence due to illness or extenuating circumstances
Students must notify their course coordinator of their absence prior to a missed class/lecture and will be required to provide documentation, such as a medical certificate. Coordinators will address absences on a case-by-case basis.

Click here for the 2018 subject timetable and calendar.

Please note that it is a frequent occurrence that families seen in the training program will need to be seen during the semester and mid-year breaks and after the end of the academic year. It is an expectation that 2nd and 3rd year students make themselves available for team sessions when the needs of the family require this and/or to satisfy other course requirements. In addition students will be required to take responsibility for wider systems liaison for the families they are seeing. Students should make these requirements clear to their employers before commencing the course.

If I’m approved for entry into the Master of Clinical Family Therapy at Level 2, can I exit with a Graduate Diploma in Family Therapy after 1 year if I complete the requisite Level 2 subjects?
It depends. To be eligible to exit the course with a Graduate Diploma you must show evidence of having completed two years of approved study specifically in the area of Family Therapy. Thus if you have previously completed the Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy (at The Bouverie Centre or from another approved institution) and you gain Level 2 entry into the Master’s course, you could potentially leave with a Graduate Diploma, providing you pass both Year 2 subjects FTH5TPA and FTH5TPB. However, if you are accepted into the course at Level 2 but have not completed the required Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy coursework, you will not be able to exit with a qualification of Graduate Diploma, nor Graduate Certificate and will need to continue your studies for another year to be eligible to receive a family therapy qualification (Master of Clinical Family Therapy). If you are accepted into the Master of Clinical Family Therapy course at Level 2 and completed approved Level 1 postgraduate studies other than the Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy, then you will granted 60 unspecified credit points of Advanced standing (credit/recognised prior learning) for Level 1, but not credited with the specific Level 1 family therapy subjects.

Course Venue

Where are classes held?
Classes are held on site at The Bouverie Centre, 8 Gardiner Street, Brunswick, Vic 3056 (Melways reference Map 29 F 7, UBD reference Map 223 D13).

There is limited car parking on site and in the streets surrounding The Bouverie Centre.  Students are encouraged to take public transport.  Brunswick Station is 10 minutes walk from the Centre. 

Are your courses offered elsewhere in Victoria or in other states?
If sufficient interest is expressed from a country region of Victoria or from another specific location in Australia, we would look into running Family Work Skills, a five day intensive face-to-face workshop (which forms part of the Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy), in that particular area. The remainder of the course can be completed in a blended (face-to-face/online) format at The Bouverie Centre.

Course Outcomes

Will I be a qualified Family Therapist if I complete the Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy, Graduate Diploma in Family Therapy or Master of Clinical Family Therapy?
No, not immediately. According to AAFT guidelines, Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy graduates must undertake further family therapy training and clinical supervision, and new graduates of the other two courses are required to obtain additional family therapy supervision.

When I complete my studies in family therapy, will I be eligible for membership of the Australian Association of Family Therapy (AAFT)?
Graduates of the Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy are eligible for associate membership of AAFT and are encouraged to join. However, to be eligible for full clinical membership of AAFT, you will need to complete the Graduate Diploma in Family Therapy or Master of Clinical Family Therapy (at The Bouverie Centre) or an equivalent course, plus undertake some additional hours of family therapy supervision.

Other Questions

Is recognition of prior learning/credit applicable if I have completed training at another organisation?
If you’ve completed formal training (university/post-secondary institution study) before or have on-the-job experience (informal or employer-based training) which you can substantiate is of relevance and equivalent in content and standard to subjects we offer, you may be eligible for credit for some of your studies. Prior to applying for recognition for your prior learning, we suggest you discuss any possible credit exemptions with a course coordinator.
*NB: There are University limits to the proportion of courses for which you can receive advanced standing. This is usually no more than 25% of the course, i.e. 15cp of a 60cp course.

I’m not sure which subjects I should apply for, what should I do?
The course structure is set for all students. There are no elective subjects in the courses. However, students enrolled in the unit FTH4FWI will have the option of choosing a combination of six different modules which make up 15 credit points.

I notice that some components of the Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy subjects are online. What are the minimum system requirements?

  • Access to a desktop or laptop computer or a mobile device with a stable, reliable internet connection
  • Access to a microphone/headset and webcam

What computer facilities are available for students?
Computer labs are located at the following La Trobe University campuses:

  • Brunswick (Bouverie)
  • Albury-Wodonga
  • Bendigo
  • City
  • Melbourne
  • Mildura
  • Shepparton

For Master in Clinical Family Therapy candidatesWhat are the arrangements for supervision?
While there may be some opportunity for trainees to present the work they undertake in their paid or voluntary employment in live supervision classes, it is beyond the capacity of The Bouverie Centre to provide supervision or take responsibility for such work. Their employer, or the manager of their placement agency, would need to retain responsibility for the trainees’ work with those families. This includes families who attend the training program for clinical consultations with the trainees training team.


2018 Alumni and Friends Celebration

Kick some goals with us as we celebrate the contribution of women, Indigenous and LGBTI communities in the footy themed Alumni and Friends Celebration!

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Applications now open for our 2018 postgraduate courses

The Bouverie Centre is now taking applications for its 2018 coursework programs - the Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy and Master of Clinical Family Therapy (yrs 2 & 3 entry).

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