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

Course overview

The course will provide you with a well-developed understanding of systemic theory and practice which will underpin your work with diverse families and organisations. It is the most advanced pre-qualifying course in systemic approaches and constitutes the best preparation for the clinical training in the UK. This course is accredited by the Association of Family Therapy.

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 is offered at foundation and intermediate level.  Students who successfully complete the foundation, will progress to the intermediate level.

This courses will provide you with a well-developed understanding of systemic theory and practice which will underpin your work with diverse families, couples and organisations. 

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
  • peer group projects
  • 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. Preparatory work will be carried out in consulting partnerships and presentations will be made to groups.

You will attend a whole-day workshop run by a well-known systemic clinician, author or occupational therapist. You’ll also attend a day conference 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 two or more generations, either in a professional role or as part of a reflecting team:

  • Eight 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 apply systemic theory to practice through role play, consultations, tape review and supervision of work carried out in your placement or work setting. This will also include completing a genogram interview with a clinical family from your placement.

We offer a high level of training delivered in an NHS setting by experienced clinicians and supervisors who work in child, adolescent and adult mental health services, and social care settings. We have been delivering systemic training for over 30 years. 

If your eventual aim is to progress on to the intermediate course, and subsequently our MA in Systemic Psychotherapy, then this course will help to prepare you by giving you more exposure to clinical work from an earlier stage.

The foundation course is for you if you are a professional who is working with or 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. 

Join us for a course specific open evening on: 

  • Tuesday 13th March, 6–7.30pm 
  • Tuesday 22nd May, 6–7.30pm 
Please book your place at

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.

The annual fee for this course is 2690 for Home/EU students and £5380 for International students. 

We are happy to 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 / Diploma
Course length:
1 year
Tuesday evenings
Admission status:
Course lead:
Rukiya Jemmott

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

We offer this course at two levels – foundation and intermediate. Each course is one year long and students who successfully complete the...

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