Foundation course in family therapy

This course involves one year's part-time study and builds upon a participant's knowledge, theory and practice from their chosen professional background. Its key focus is on developing professionals as 'self-reflexive thinkers' and enhances their therapeutic skills when working with vulnerable individuals, families and couples.

This exciting programme examines the theory, evidence base and practical application of Family Therapy across a range of different work contexts.

Teaching is provided by a team of motivated and highly experienced trainers and therapists in the field of Family and Systemic Psychotherapy.

Completion of the course will enable students to up-skill their therapeutic abilities, whether they will be working in health, social care, education or voluntary sector settings.

Further Information

The course is up to 30 participants.

The venue for the course: in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the need for social distancing, this will now be predominantly taught online with up to four days face-to-face teaching at Hellesden Hospital, Drayton High Road, Norwich NR6 5BE if applicable and/or possible.

Each teaching day will include five hours of direct contact with course staff. Participants attend training days and are required to attend at least 80% of teaching sessions.

Between the monthly sessions, participants are expected to participate in an additional 5 hours of reading and preparation.

The course will meet monthly with blocks of two days during September (as an introduction), January (as a mid-year review) and July (as a conclusion). In addition to this each candidate will also be a member of a tutor group, which serves as the anchor point for their learning. These generally last two hours.

Study Structure

This course will involve a total of 180 study hours which will include:

  • 60 hours of direct teaching from course staff whilst on the training days. The training days provided being equally balanced between theory and case discussion, and there will again be a strong emphasis on the application of theory to clinical practice, as well as development of clinicians/therapists as self-reflexive practitioners.
  • 120 hours of independent study throughout the eleven-month duration of the course. This works out at approximately 11 hours per month that will need to be set aside for reading, completion of assignments, and portfolio preparation.

Essential Workplace Requirements

Throughout the duration of this course we are keen for participants to apply systemic thinking to their daily practice in their place of work. Although not a specific Association of Family Therapy requirement, at Foundation Level students are encouraged to participate in face to face family work throughout the duration of the course.

Although the absence of this experience will not inhibit graduation from the course, previous course participants have repeatedly voiced the added value to their learning of having done this. This may involve joining a family therapy screen team or participating in therapeutic work alongside a family therapist. Importantly, the Association for Family Therapy stipulates that this is family work not family therapy.

Course Aims and Objectives

This introduction to systemic practice aims to:

  • Enable participants to become familiar with a range of key literature relating to family therapy and systemic practice.
  • Promote an awareness of systemic practice across a range of settings.
  • Introduce a range of different family therapy models within a historical context.
  • Facilitate the development of basic systemic practice skills through role play, systemic consultation on participants' ongoing practice, as well as opportunities to observe and participate in live systemic sessions.
  • Create an awareness of how participants' own personal history, their organisational contexts and their training all impact on their practice.
  • Provide opportunities for appreciating the value of up to date research in the field of systemic family therapy, and its relevance for clinical practice.
  • On completing the course, participants should be able to demonstrate the following core competencies:
  • A basic understanding of the systemic approach and its application to the difficulties encountered by families and the professionals working with them.
  • A familiarity with a range of systemic models within a historical context and their current application to practice.
  • An ability to recognise and apply basic systemic practice skills within a range of clinical settings, and across a range of referred difficulties.
  • An awareness of the need to be self-reflexive in their learning and their practice.
  • An ability to consider their own family, cultural and professional experiences from a systemic perspective and give an account of their personal learning process.
  • A developing ability to critique therapeutic ideas.
  • An ability to understand the concept of 'the family life cycle' and apply their thinking to different family forms.
  • An awareness of the impact of the wider social context, especially in relation to race, class, religion, culture, gender, sexual orientation, age and disability, and a commitment to anti-discriminatory practice.
  • A recognition of the importance of client feedback in shaping future services, alongside basic familiarity with a range of different research methodologies.

An awareness of Association of Family Therapy Code of Ethics and its relevance for both individuals and organisations.

Teaching Methods

  • Reading materials
  • Power-point and lecture style presentations
  • Workshops facilitated by teaching staff and visiting tutors
  • Small and large group discussions anchored by course staff and assistants
  • Role-plays primarily informed by case material
  • Case consultation including the use of reflecting teams
  • Personal/professional mapping of the mutual influence of systemic ideas

Course Evaluation

  • Informal, ongoing group review during each session
  • Structured mid-way and final session individual and group review and feedback
  • Written individual evaluation forms for each session
  • Written evaluation forms at the end of the course

Apply to do a family therapy course

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