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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Programme Catalogue

MSc Systemic Family Therapy

Programme code:MSC-PSYC/SFMUCAS code:
Duration:24 Months Method of Attendance: Part Time
Programme manager:Marie McGovern Contact

Total credits: 180

Entry requirements:

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 Intermediate level training or equivalent via APEL.

Applicants must be working in a setting suitable to undertake the additional requirement of 200 hours of systemic practice during the course. The practice requirement must be supported by the agency and have suitable clinical supervision arrangements.

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

School/Unit responsible for the parenting of students and programme:

Institute of Health Sciences, School of Medicine

Examination board through which the programme will be considered:

School of Medicine Postgraduate Programmes Assessment Board

Professional Body Offering Accreditation:

The Association for Family Therapy & Systemic Practice

Programme specification:

The programme has been running since 1996. It is accredited by the professional body, the Association for Family Therapy & Systemic Practice. The MSc programme is preceded by the Foundation and the Intermediate level courses or equivalent by APEL, so that students can have theoretical knowledge, systemic practice skills and experience of the therapeutic approach to determine whether the systmic approach suits them and their area of work.

The MSc is a part time course and has one or two day teaching sessions per month, designed to reduce the disruption to work and enable people to travel from some distances. There are supervision clinics located in various parts of northern England e.g. Leeds, Bradford, Newcaslte, Manchester, Sheffield and Hull. Students are thus able to do the most significant amount of work closer to their own locale. The course is appropriate for a wide range of mental health professionals, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, teachers and counsellors. It is closely linked with the student's work based practice and management support is important.

The use of systemic family therapy for treatment of psychological difficulties is increasingly represented in NICE Guidelines and this is attended to in the course. It is designed for people who wish to work in the NHS, as well as for people who seek employment in other agencies or independent practice.


Graduates of this programme will be eligible to apply for registration with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy as Systemic Psychotherapists / Family Therapists. They should be able to have a level of responsibility as an independent practitioner in the NHS, Social Services or other mental health agencies. They will have a depth of knowledge of systems theory, cybernetics, constructivism, and social constructionism. They will have an understanding of therapeutic models contained in the systemic field (Structural, Milan, Solution Focused, Narrative, Collaborative and Dialogic) and the skills associated with them. They will have a wide range of approaches to draw upon and will work with client preferences and strengths. The graduate should be able to work with individuals and groups of people (and families) who hold different perspectives and may be drawn to different actions.

The family therapist should have the skills to work with more severe emotional, behavioural and situational presentations and with a range of mental illness presentations including cases that contain multi-disciplinary and agency complexity. The family therapist will have experience of working with difference and diversity including race, culture, class, age, ability and gender with and able to apply this to their practice in all therapeutic settings.

They will have an appreciation of individual psychological development and family life cycle and the way in which these stages impact upon and are influenced by significant others. People and their difficulties should be seen in the context of interpersonal relationships and wider institutional and cultural discourses. The family therapist will have a working knowledge of other psychological and psychotherapeutic theories (psychodynamic, attachment, cognitive behavioural) such that they may be incorporated in the systemic work or posed as an alternative.

Family therapists are able to work with teams and other professionals in a collaborative and coordinated manner. The student will have an appreciation of the code of ethics and practice within the profession and an awareness of the large scale and smaller operations of power and attend to these in practice. They will be responsive to issues of risk and safety for clients and legislative contexts for practice. The family therapist will have developed a capacity for self reflexive practice and see it as part of ongoing professional development.

The graduate should be aware of professional journals in the field and be able to critique current research in family therapy. They should have a high level of ability in articulating theory and practice in relation to case material. They will have skills in teaching others systemic ideas and some experience in the application of systemic theory and skills to supervision.

Year1 - View timetable

[Learning Outcomes, Transferable (Key) Skills, Assessment]

Compulsory modules:

Candidates will be required to study the following compulsory modules:

FAMT5211MTheories of Change and Practice I20 credits1 Sep to 31 May
FAMT5240MIntroduction to Research Methods15 credits1 Sep to 30 Jun
FAMT5450MFamily Therapy Skills I25 credits1 Sep to 30 Jun
FAMT5470MSystemic Supervision and Case Presentation I30 credits1 Sep to 30 Jun

Year2 - View timetable

[Learning Outcomes, Transferable (Key) Skills, Assessment]

Compulsory modules:

Candidates will be required to study the following compulsory modules:

FAMT5311MTheories of Change and Practice II20 creditsNot running in 202324
FAMT5360MAdvanced Research Methods15 creditsNot running in 202324
FAMT5460MFamily Therapy Skills II25 creditsNot running in 202324
FAMT5480MSystemic Supervision and Case Presentation II30 creditsNot running in 202324

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:34:44


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