Systemic approaches to working with individuals, families and organisations (D4) – foundation

Course overview

You will develop an understanding of systemic theory and practice which will underpin your work with diverse families and organisations. It is the most advanced prequalifying course in systemic approaches and constitutes the best preparation for the clinical training in the UK it is validated by the University of Essex and accredited by The Association of Family Therapy (AFT).  This course is also delivered in Sussex and in Kent.

This course is offered at foundation and intermediate level.  Students who successfully complete the foundation, can consider progressing to the intermediate level.

Systemic family therapy involves working therapeutically with individuals together with their families and/or significant others, and enables the use of individuals’ relationships as a resource. It can sometimes include relational work with individuals, psychoeducational approaches and multiple family groups.

This course will allow you to develop an understanding of systemic ideas and skills which can be applied to your work context.  You will learn how to reflect on the personal and professional dimensions and start to identify and understand multiple contexts. This will widen your perspective when thinking and reflecting on your clinical practice.

The course consists of the following elements:

  • theoretical seminars
  • application seminars
  • whole-day events
  • personal tutorials
  • clinical work.

Theoretical seminars combine theoretical and experiential learning with an emphasis on interactional learning. In smaller application groups, you will be expected to present your own experience using systemic theoretical concepts.

You will undertake presentations on personal and professional issues, illustrating an aspect of systemic theory. You will attend two full day events which includes presentations and workshops by systemic clinicians.

For successful completion of the foundation year it is necessary to have completed the following required clinical work with families/couples of three or more generations, either in a professional role or as part of a reflecting team:

  • Six sessions of work with families of two or more generations, and/or couple work, in a setting where you are able to use and/or apply systemic ideas.
  • Two case presentations from your clinical work setting/placement.

Over the course of the foundation year, you will study the following:

Term one

You will reflect on yourself in relation to your family of origin, your present family, and your relationships with family members and those outside the family. Genogram theory and practice will be introduced in order to help you develop skills and knowledge which you will link to a number of social differences in order to explore your understanding and experience of difference.

Term two

You will focus on the development of systemic theory and practice, and are encouraged to critically evaluate different schools of thought and different theoretical positions. You will explore your own positioning in relation to these and the application of theoretical ideas to individuals, families and organisations.

Term three

You will begin to focus on specific client groups such as working with adults, working with a family where someone has a disability etc. This will also include completing a genogram interview with a clinical family from your placement.

Across the year you will apply systemic theory to practice through role play, consultations, audio and DVD review and of work carried out in your placement or work setting.

We have been delivering systemic training for over 30 years. We offer a high level of training delivered by experienced clinicians and supervisors. If you want to progress on to the intermediate course, and subsequently our MA in Systemic psychotherapy (M6), then this course will prepare you by giving you more exposure to clinical work from an earlier stage.

This course is for professionals working with or who would like to work with couples, families or other organisational systems in mental health trusts, social and health care or voluntary agencies. You may be a social worker, teacher, psychologist, psychiatrist, nurse, learning mentor, GP, counsellor or researcher. You will need to have opportunities to work with couples and families of two or more generations either in your professional role or as part of a reflecting team.

In order to be eligible for this course, we ask that you:

  • Have a first degree in social work, psychology, medicine, nursing, education or any allied field, or are able to demonstrate an equivalent level of relevant experience. 
  • Are working or volunteering in a setting where you have the opportunity to work with families and/or couples of two or more generations, either in a professional role or as part of a reflecting team.


Tuesday evenings from 5.30 - 8.30pm.


This course has three assessments which are assignments:

  1. 1000 word ‘Difference’ presentation essay in advance of your presentations, followed by a presentation. This will be a 10 minute presentation followed by 10 to 15 minutes of questions from an examiner
  2. 2500 word theory essay
  3. 2500 word Genogram essay.


£2950 per annum


£5900 per annum

We are happy offer a range of ways to pay your fees, as well as some funding for specific courses.  

Please contact us if you have any questions. 

Graduate Certificate
Course length:
1 year
Tuesday evenings
The Tavistock Centre, London, Kent, Sussex
Admission status:
Course lead:
Rukiya Jemmott

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Systemic approaches to working with individuals, families and organisations (D4) – intermediate

This course will provide you with a well-developed understanding of systemic theory and practice which will underpin your work with diverse...

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