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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

FAMT5340M Intermediate Course in Systemic Practice

30 creditsClass Size: 35

Module manager: Phil Arthington

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.
Association for Family Therapy accredited Foundation level training or equivalent via APEL
Applicants must be working in a setting suitable to undertake the Systemic Practice requirement of 60 hours of systemic practice during the year. The practice requirement must be supported by the agency and have suitable clinical supervision arrangements and facility to record with client consent one session (visual or audio) of clinical practice for assessment purposes.

English language requirements
IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.5 in any component.


FAMT5310MFoundation Course in Systemic Practice
FAMT5330MFoundation Course in Systemic Practice

Module replaces

FAMT5320M Intermediate Course in Systemic Practice

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module develops the student's understanding of systemic practice learned at Foundation level, with a particular focus on learning through the application of ideas in therapeutic practice. The module thus encourages the development of both theoretical knowledge and clinical skills.


Objectives of this module are that students:
- Are provided with knowledge of theories underpinning systemic family practice and their application to specific areas of work
- Develop critical reading and knowledge of the theoretical and research literature relating to systemic family practice
- Develop understanding of the links between systemic theory and practice and other therapeutic approaches
- Develop the ability to integrate the core principles of systemic family practice into systemic practice in the context of a therapeutic relationship with at least one client group; formulate a therapeutic plan; carry out systemic interventions and manage therapeutic endings
- Develop the ability to work systemically taking into account evidence based systemic practice models
- Develop a self-reflexive and ethical approach to systemic work
- Develop sound foundations of systemic knowledge and practice for those students wishing to undertake Qualifying Level and further training

Learning outcomes
At the end of the course, students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of a range of theories from systemic practice and family therapy including their theory of change and main interventions in current systemic practice
2. Critically discuss issues of power and difference in all aspects of systemic practice and describe responses to these issues informed by the AFT Code of Ethics and Practice
3. Articulate the theoretical basis, research and evidence base for systemic practice in their current professional practice
4. Effectively use supervision and take a reflective and pro-active approach to personal learning
5. Have a basic understanding of at least one manualised evidence based approach and the principles of its application to practice

Theory into Practice
At the end of the course, students will demonstrate abilities in systemic practice which include:
1. Convening systemic practice meetings with individuals, couples, families and other relationship groups including children
2. Working collaboratively to identify overall goals and the agreed focus for systemic interventions
3. Developing and maintaining the therapeutic alliance with more than one family member
4. Conducting a systemic assessment of presenting issues including identification of different perspectives, patterns of responses and meanings held in relation to the problem, the history of the presenting problem in relation to family relationships, family events, external contexts and wider social discourses
5. Helping clients to identify their own strengths and resources (including problem solving skills) and explore with clients how they may be of use and strengthen them
6. Developing a broad systemic hypothesis of the presenting problems in relationship to the individual/s or family and their context including their own observer perspective, and reviewing this throughout the work
7. Using visual presentations of relationships and contexts including family genograms, eco-maps and timelines in systemic practice
8. Gaining new perspectives through techniques including questioning, reflection, reframing, externalising and scaling
9. Tracking and working with behavioural processes and problematic communication patterns within the session
10. Understanding and managing ethical issues relating to systemic practice with individual/s or families including consideration of the impact of their own personal and professional issues on the work and issues of power and difference
11. Providing progress reviews using formal measures and in session review
12. Managing endings effectively including collaborative decision making about timing and reviewing of the work with the individual/s or family
13. Communicate practitioner 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

Skills outcomes
By the end of the Intermediate Course, graduates will be able to:
- Work in a way that is ethical, take account of difference and power and enable useful conversations around difficult topics
- Convene families or couples within their own area of practice, set joint goals and maintain a collaborative relationship, open to formal and informal feedback
- Assess the need for family work, understanding the appropriateness and limitations of the method and limits of their own expertise
- Use a range of interventions to assist families to reach their goals
- Use supervision, including the ability to think about personal and professional self as a resource and a possible constraint
- Have a developed understanding of systemic practice in at least one area of work
- Have an understanding of the application of systemic ideas to the wider context of their organisations of which they form a part


Students will use the current and historical literatures to explore the contributions of different schools of Family Therapy and Systemic Practice with an increased focus on the development of postmodern models of systemic practice and developments in Family Therapy. This exploration will include the study of how theory relates to practice and the course will place on emphasis on the development of clinical skills. Students will be asked to examine the implications of systemic theory to their own professional agencies through the systemic practice requirement as well as in consideration of wider professional, social, and political contexts. Students will also be encouraged to develop their own self-reflexivity in relation to practice.

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
- 40 hours: portfolio

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Each student's progress is monitored through attendance, participation in lectures, and performance within small group tutorials in which formative feedback is provided by their tutor. Progress is also monitored in feedback on written assignments and the learning portfolio which is reviewed as formative assessment twice during the year, as well as on the student’s progress in recording at least 60 hours of systemic practice during the course period.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,500 words33.30
Essay2,500 words33.30
PortfolioPortfolio length approximately 12,500 words in journal / note form completed through the year.33.40
PracticalSupervised systemic practice - evidence of 60 hours including one (minimum) recorded session0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Compensation permitted. Resit attempt capped at 50 and module grade capped at 50. More information about portfolio: The portfolio is to include - Brief (approximately 150 words per session) anonymised notes of clinical practice hours (9000 words in note form) - Brief (approximately 150 words per session) of anonymised notes of supervision hours (1500 words in note form) - Transcript of a (min 45 minutes) recorded clinical interview from clinical practice - A letter of confirmation of the use of clinical supervision from the Supervisor - A reflective learning journal commenting on the application of theory to practice and personal and professional development (minimum of eight entries of approximately 250 words each - 2,000 words in note form) Portfolio length approximately 12,500 words in journal / note form completed through the year.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

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


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