Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy





First Page


Last Page





School of Arts and Humanities


Amorin-Woods, D., & Telfener, U. (2024). Systems thinking: Fostering collaboration and connections to strengthen the field. a conversation with Umberta Telfener. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 45(1), 109-128.


Umberta Telfener is a highly respected figure known for her diverse contributions to various facets of family and systemic therapy. Her leadership style has earned her a reputation as somewhat of a ‘cultural anthropologist,’ reflecting her aptitude for creating connections, establishing relationships, and developing partnerships. Her unique ‘Umberta style’ is known for boundless energy, active leadership, and fierce commitment to challenging the status quo. Despite being in office for just a year at the European Family Therapy Association (EFTA), Umberta has conceived and developed numerous projects, establishing networks with practitioners, and systemic thinkers across the world. Rooted in classical philosophical training, her pursuit aligns with the systematic study of fundamental questions about existence, reason, knowledge, value, mind, and language. Umberta's role reminds one of a ‘Chasqui,’ a Quechua term for a ‘messenger,’ which aptly describes her agile networking skills. She actively communicates and shares vital messages, supporting the international community of systemic practitioners. This paper is based on an in-person conversation held in July 2023 at Umberta's country home in Tuscany. Our discussion delves into her extensive professional experience, from training at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic, being mentored by Boscolo and Cecchin in Milan, to her leadership role as the current EFTA president. Umberta reflects on early pioneers who influenced her thinking and her impactful work with systems.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Included in

Sociology Commons