A Network Therapy Clinic for Clients with
, Laura Van Vorst
, Stuart Koski
, Alana Winn
Real Therapy Solutions, Campbelltown, NSW
Casula High School, Casula, NSW
The Benevolent Society, Liverpool, NSW
Anala Programs and Services, Mittagong, NSW
University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
Over the past 30 years a systemic approach has been applied to complex cases involving intellectual disability
and behaviours of concern. This paper describes a model that draws on systemic family therapy and network
therapy as well as the use of a reflective team. A single session intervention was provided for families of people
with intellectual disability. A systemic consultation was used as a pre-session meeting for professionals working
with the family. The systemic consultation and single session therapy allowed the family and the professional net-
work to gain insight. Involving the professionals in the therapy session also enhanced the alliance between profes-
sionals and family. This approach assists everyone involved in the case to find a way to progress.
Keywords: family therapy, intellectual disability, network therapy, reflective team, single session, systemic
1 The literature supports the use of systemic family therapy with clients with disability.
2 A single session systemic family therapy clinic shows promising outcomes for families and networks of peo-
ple with intellectual disability.
3 A systemic consultation can help the professionals working with the family to see the issues in a new light.
4 A reflective team can be a powerful tool in making changes in stuck systems.
5 Including the extended network in a therapy session can enhance the alliance between the family and pro-
fessionals involved, which supports the family to make lasting changes.
In recent years, a systemic approach has been utilised with families where at least one
family member has an intellectual disability, particularly where the family’s needs are
complex and the person with a disability engages in behaviours of concern (Baum,
2006; Baum & Walden, 2006; Baum, 2007; Leenstra & Rhodes, 2014; Rhodes,
2002, 2003; Rhodes, Donelly, et al., 2014). The aim of this article is to describe a
model of intervention that applies the systemic approach to families where case man-
agers or allied health professionals are working with the family and are ﬁnding it difﬁ-
cult to make lasting changes. After discussing the theoretical underpinnings and
elaborating on our principles for practice, we will outline the model and present a
case study. The model described here is a Network Therapy Clinic which aimed to
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Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy 2018, 39,90–102
ª 2018 Australian Association of Family Therapy