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PS50157: Foundation in systemic theory and practice

[Page last updated: 04 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Psychology
Credits: 12 [equivalent to 24 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 240
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • In Class PBL (CW 25%)
  • Reflexive Log (CW 25%)
  • Case Study (CW 25%)
  • Diversity Homework Task (CW 25%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
* To introduce the student to the field of systemic theory, practice and research
* To introduce the student to basic practice skills, which can be applied to the work setting, including self-reflexivity
* To provide a basis from which the student may proceed toward the Intermediate Level of Systemic training.

Learning Outcomes:
* Describe the systemic approach to family and other relationships using a range of systemic models and approaches and give examples of their application to practice
* Place the development of systemic therapy into a historical context
* Critically evaluate Systemic ideas and their value
* Explore the implications of adherence to the Association of Family Therapy's Code of Ethics and Practice for both individuals and organisations
* Develop a commitment to anti-discriminatory practice, including an awareness of the impact of the wider social context especially in respect of race, class, religion, culture, gender, sexual orientation, age and disability
* Be familiar with a range of key literature relating to systemic practice
* Be familiar with some aspects of research in the field, including an appreciation of the need for client feedback and service evaluation
* Provide an account of personal learning over time
* Consider one's own personal family and cultural experiences from a systemic perspective.

* Demonstrate a range of practice skills (e.g. through role play) (T,F)
* Be able to construct a genogram (T, F, A)
* Develop an ability to use relational, circular thinking in relation to problems for individuals, couples and families (T, F, A)
* Understand and have experience of the use of sculpting (T)
* Understand the techniques used by Structural Therapists to restructure family alignment (T)
* Demonstrate the use of various types of interventive questioning (T, F, A)
* Describe and critique the concept of the family life cycle perspective and its application to different family forms (T, A)
* Describe how a 5-part therapy session is conducted (T)
* Demonstrate self-reflexivity (T, A)
* Understand and experience Reflecting Team use and membership (T, F)
* Understand the practice of therapeutic letter writing (T)
* Identify and reflect on how different schools within systemic therapy view the process of therapeutic change (T)
* Develop circular hypotheses/formulations (T, F, A)
* Develop the ability to convene a systemic therapy session (T)
* Appreciate how to adapt Systemic techniques to work with children and older adults (T)

Content: The following is a brief outline of the topics that will be covered:
* Systems Theory
* Genograms and Mapping
* Policy, Key Concepts, Code of Conduct, Research & Evidence Base
* Structural & Strategic Approaches
* Milan & Post Milan Approaches
* Narrative, Solution Focused, Social Constructionist Approaches
* Convening, Assessment & Formulation
* Working with Children
* Systemic Interventions with Older Adults.

Programme availability:

PS50157 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Psychology


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
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