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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

FAMT5330M Foundation Course in Systemic Practice

30 creditsClass Size: 35

Module manager: Katharyn Hall

Taught: 1 Sep to 31 Aug (12mth) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

Graduate level professional training in a mental health or social care related discipline e.g. nursing, psychiatry, social work, clinical psychology or with a related professional qualification and experience via professional APEL route.
English language requirements
IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.5 in any component.

Module replaces

FAMT5310M Foundation Course in Systemic Practice

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

The module introduces the students to the theory and practice of systemic thinking with emphasis on the underlying principles of systemic ideas and their implications for practice in health and social care settings. Students are introduced to the skills, ethical and personal professional aspects of systemic practice.


The module will introduce students to:
- the basic theory and principles of systemic practice with families, couples and other systems
- an introduction to theories of change and 'schools' of systemic practice from structural and Milan through to post-Milan constructionist and narrative approaches
- basic practice skills and support them to apply these in their practice, including convening, engaging and working with families, couples and other systems
- key research into systemic practice and facilitate critical reading of practice and research texts

The module will also provide opportunities for students to examine their own personal history from a systemic perspective and will enable and support the development of students’ self-reflective practice

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
- 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 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 reflect on their own learning and their positioning in their professional system

Skills outcomes
Upon completion of the module, students will have a foundation in being able to:
- 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
- identify and consider how their own personal family experiences, beliefs and assumptions influence the work undertaken


This module will introduce participants to the concepts and techniques of systemic family therapy. Models of family therapy and the implications of systemic thinking for practice will be introduced. Ethical, legal and personal professional developmental aspects of practice will be introduced.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours234.00
Total Contact hours66.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

- 134 hours: Reading (approx. 6 hours per lecture)
- 60 hours: Essay preparation
- 10 hours: Porfolio
- 15 hours: Preparation for group project
- 15 hours: Reflexive learning journal

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student's progress is monitored through attendance, participation in lectures and tutorials, feedback on the presented group project and the student’s learning journal. Learning relating to clinical skills are formatively assessed throughout the course through role play and presentations.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2000 words40.00
Essay3000 words60.00
Group ProjectPass/fail0.00
Reflective logPass/fail0.00
Reflective logPass/fail0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Compensation permitted. Resit attempt capped at 50 and module grade capped at 50

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:42:19


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