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PGC Systemic Practice

Year 1

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module students should be able to demonstrate:
- a basic understanding of systemic theories and principles underpinning systemic practice with families and organisations
- a knowledge of a range of systemic approaches and applications to practice with different client groups
- familiarity with key pieces of research on family and couple therapy especially in current areas of practice, including client feedback and service evaluation
- some basic understanding of systemic approaches and an ability to critique their application in the light of research
- a knowledge and awareness of the influence of the wider social context (including gender, race, age, ability, culture, education, sexuality) on self and clients, with an ability to consider how inequalities and power differentials impact on people’s lives and systemic practices
- a knowledge of the AFT code of ethics and an ability to use ethical decision making, especially in relation to safeguarding, confidentiality and consent
- an understanding of the practice skills and knowledge required to convene a systemic interview, and to make a good therapeutic relationship
- confidence to effectively interview more than one person in the room using a range of questioning techniques
- capacity to make use of systemic theory to draw together a systemically informed intervention plan based on a systemic hypothesis/ formulation
- the skills to construct a genogram in a way that leads to better understanding the complexities of family relationships, strengths and vulnerabilities
- communicate foundation level systemic theoretical and practice concepts in oral and written formats for client groups across age and abilities and to professionals from systemic and other professional groups
- an ability to describe and critique the concept of the family life cycle perspective and its application to different family forms
- an ability to identify and work with individual and family strengths
- an ability to begin to consider their own personal family and cultural experiences from a systemic perspective, and to explore how these influence their professional practice
- an ability to reflect on their own learning and their positioning in their professional system

Transferable (key) skills

Foundation Course in Systemic Practice students will have had the opportunity to acquire the following abilities as defined in the module specified for the programme:

- use systemic ideas to think about and contribute to current practice
- convene more than one person within the client system within their own area of practice and interview in a way that pays attention to the therapeutic relationship with family members
- show an awareness and an ability to describe working in way that is ethical and takes account of difference and power
- apply a systemic perspective to an assessment of the problem and the need for family work, understanding the limitations of the method and limits of their own expertise
- use a range of systemic questions and techniques (such as hypothesising and circular questioning) to clarify goals and gather systemic information
- use basic interventions including verbal and non-verbal methods to improve communication and help families to achieve their goals
- construct a genogram with clients, using this to identify patterns of relationship, historical influences and stressors on the family, and to consider how these may impact on the problem/ difficulty referred
- to communicate foundation level systemic theoretical and practice concepts in oral and written formats for client groups across age and abilities and to professionals from systemic and other professional groups
- identify and consider how their own personal family experiences, beliefs and assumptions influence the work undertaken


Achievement for the Foundation Course in Systemic practice will be assessed through a combination of formative and summative assessment. Two written assignments focus on summatively assessing learning outcomes relating to theoretical knowledge and application to the student’s practice. Learning outcomes relating to clinical skills are formatively assessed throughout the course through role play and presentations. Students are required to complete a reflective learning journal in which they discuss and critique their personal and professional development and skills as related to the learning outcomes and will receive formative feedback on this.


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