Families and beyond: an introduction to systemic thinking (Online)

Course overview

We all live our lives in and through our relationships, both past and present, and we are all shaped by the social and cultural contexts in which we are embedded. 

Systemic ideas, which form the basis for family therapy, have become hugely influential in recent decades and their application has developed beyond the family and beyond therapy to provide invaluable ways of exploring the contexts in which we all live and work.

What will you gain from the course?

  • a shift in thinking - moving from a focus on individuals to an ability to think about families, organisations and networks.

  • how to translate new ways of thinking into action

  • an understanding of the influences from previous generations on our current families and other close relationships.

  • a fresh perspective on 'stuck' patterns or difficulties in the work place, including the effects of organisational change

  • an opportunity to think and talk about identities and positions within a diverse and multicultural society

  • input on the complexities of contemporary political conflicts and their representations in the media

  • creative ideas to aid your understanding of the arts

This is an online self-study course delivered through our virtual learning environment, Moodle. It utilises video clips of clinician-trainers talking through concepts and examples, interviews / discussions available as audio podcasts, interactive tasks and full text online reading. 

A discussion forum is provided, and you are encouraged to share your thoughts and ideas as you progress through the course.

A self-study course is arranged to provide flexibility of time management as you are not required to connect to the optional live online meetings. It is an excellent way to get acquainted with a subject.

This course incorporates the following elements:

  • Directed online study - you are given access to study resources such as video lectures, interviews, podcasts and discussion forum activities.
  • Reading pack - you are also given access to full online texts such as ebooks, case studies, conference papers and journal articles.

The course is arranged as ten units. Each unit covers a particular theme and is delivered through a combination of video lectures, reading activities and reflective tasks. Unit themes include:

  • What is systemic thinking?
  • Contemporary system ideas
  • Systemic ideas in action
  • The social GRRAACCEES
  • Diversity and family forms
  • Organisations and the workplace
  • Surviving change
  • Literature and the visual arts

A new unit is released weekly and will require roughly 2 hours study (1 hour per video lecture, 1 hour for additional reading, discussion forum activity etc). Once open, units remain available for the duration of the course and a short period afterwards to allow you to flexibly schedule your time.


There will also be three optional live online seminars - at the start, midpoint and end of the course - where the course tutor will discuss further concepts and course content and where you will be able to feedback your experiences of studying this course.

This course is an awareness course and is open to those from all walks of life and ages. It is for parents, carers, students, teachers, managers, professionals and all those who would like to find out more about systemic thinking and practice, whether for career purposes, as a precursor or taster for further study, or out of general interest.

Course start: Monday 14th September 2020, for 10 weeks.

Further cohorts are planned for January and April 2021.

Start of Course: Thurs 24th Sept - 2.00PM to 3.30PM 

Mid Course: Thurs 22nd Oct - 2.00PM to 3.30PM 

End of Course: Thurs 19th Nov - 2.00PM to 3.30PM 

Please note that the webinars are optional; the course can be fully completed without attending. They are intended to be interactive, so are not recorded; they are offered to provide you the opportunity to clarify concepts and share your learning.


Please use the green ‘Apply’ button on the left of the screen to book you place using our MyTap booking system. 

Upon successfully booking you will be sent an automated acknowledgement. You will then be sent login instructions approximately one week before the course is due to commence. If you are applying within a week of the course starting, logins will be sent within two working days of booking.

Included in your course fee, you will receive online membership of the Tavistock’s internationally-renowned library for the duration of your course.Our friendly and knowledgeable library team will help to support you through your specialist CPD course, whatever your level of professional or academic experience. You will have access to an extensive range of eBooks, online journals, all the relevant key databases and our specialist audio-visual collection, plus reference access to all our print books. Our Information Skills Trainer has made lots of material available on Moodle to help you navigate our comprehensive electronic collections. PCs and photocopiers are also available for your use (charges apply for printing and copying).Library staff curate various online resources, such as Audio/Video Playlists, and regularly share helpful news and research on Twitter and Facebook. Find out more on the Library website:  https://library.tavistockandportman.ac.uk

Certificate of attendance
Course length:
10 weeks
Theoretical approach:
Admission status:
September 2020 to November 2020

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