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Overview

AFT-accredited foundation level training in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice.

Summary

Study Family Therapy and Systemic Practice at Ulster University in the United Kingdom.

This course provides an introduction to systemic ideas and their relevance in helping us gain a better understanding of individuals, families and the organisations in which we all function. In particular it will appeal to all those working in the caring professions who have an interest in developing their practice in terms of working with families. Moreover this type of training offers a broader perspective and understanding of how crucial family dynamics are in the development and maintenance of problems. At the same time it provides creative ways of involving the family in finding solutions to their difficulties.

The programme is fully accredited for Foundation Level Training with the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice. It therefore forms the first step in training to become a fully qualified Family Therapist. Graduates of the course can go on to undertake the next stages in this training - that of Intermediate Level and Masters Level. In addition to this, students working in a variety of work contexts will also benefit from supplementing their own professional skills with the systemic theory and skills learned on the course. Given the broad appeal and applicability of systemic therapy principles, this course will inform and enhance students' understanding and approach to supporting individuals, couples and organisations, as well as families.

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About this course

In this section

About

The course aims to:

  • Introduce the participants to the field of systemic theory, practice and research;
  • Introduce the participants to the basic skills, applicable to their work settin;
  • Increase participants’ awareness and acceptance of the need for professional practice to be characterised by respectfulness and reflexivity;
  • Provide a basis from which the student may proceed towards intermediate level training.

At the end of the course, successful students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the development of systemic theory in the context of other therapies
  • Evaluate the various schools of thought pertaining to family therapy
  • Identify how stages in the family life cycle can impact on family dynamics
  • Reflect on the impact of culture on families
  • Define and apply the theories underpinning the Milan/ Post-Milan school of family therapy
  • Reflect on their personal and professional stage of development and the impact of systemic theory on these
  • Identify ways in which systemic theory/ practice can be used in other settings

Structure and content

The course is composed of two modules:

Family Therapy and Systemic Practice 1 (30 credits)

In this module, students are introduced to the major models of family therapy and systemic practice and are given the opportunity to learn and practise specific skills and techniques from systemic psychotherapy. The module offers a broader perspective and understanding of how crucial family dynamics are in the development and maintenance of problems, while also providing creative ways of involving the family in finding solutions to their difficulties. Material is covered via lectures and Peer Groups, where students will have the opportunity to put theory into practice through role play and group discussion.

Family Therapy and Systemic Practice 2 (30 credits)

This module builds on students’ knowledge of the main schools of family therapy, to incorporate considerations of working in different therapeutic contexts, working with bereavement, domestic abuse, and child-focused practice. Students engage in full-day teaching workshops, exploring and experimenting in further systemic principles and techniques. This is cemented in ongoing Peer Groups, where students will expand on experiential learning through associated group tasks.

Attendance

Duration

The course runs from September to June.

Mode of Attendance

The course is taught as two modules:

Module 1 is conducted as one full day (Thursdays) of teaching and seminar work per week across Semester 1 (September to December).

Module 2 runs in Semester 2 (January to June). It is composed of 6 teaching/workshop days (10.00am – 4.30pm), and 5 Peer Group/seminar days (9.30am – 12.30pm). The teaching days and Peer Group days alternate each week (on Mondays).

Start dates

  • September 2016
How to apply

Modules

Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand.

In this section

Year one

Family Therapy and Systemic Practice 1

Year: 1

In this module students will be introduced to family therapy and systemic practice theories and will be able to understand how problems, mental ill health and distress may be explained through the lens of systemic thinking. The main models of structural, strategic and Milan theories, along with their historical development will be explored. The process of systemic psychotherapy will be explained with opportunity to practice a systemic assessment, hypothesising and use the relevant intervention techniques, with example case studies. Issues relating to culture, the therapeutic relationship, power and gender in systemic practice will be discussed, along with case examples of how family therapy and systemic practice can be applied in various clinical settings.

Family Therapy and Systemic Practice 2

Year: 1

In this module students will be introduced to family therapy and systemic practice theories and will be able to understand how problems, mental ill health and distress may be explained through the lens of systemic thinking. The main models of structural, strategic and Milan theories will be reinforced, and key practice-related issues will be explored. The process of systemic psychotherapy will be explained with opportunity to practice systemic skills and use the relevant intervention techniques, with example case studies. Issues relating to bereavement, domestic abuse, and child-focused practice will be discussed, along with case examples of how family therapy and systemic practice can be applied in various clinical settings.

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

In this section

Entry Requirements

Applicants must hold a degree or equivalent (either an existing health and social care qualification, or have completed a psychology degree) or demonstrate their ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior learning. In order to maximise access to training in systemic practice, entry requirements for foundation level training are kept to a minimum. They are:

  • a relevant professional training, or equivalent
  • an opportunity to apply systemic ideas to a current work setting, either voluntary or paid – students must arrange this for themselves

Applicants are required to provide two satisfactory references, outlining their suitability to undertake the course.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Teaching and learning assessment

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, workshops, and student-led peer groups. The peer groups promote experiential learning on the programme via role-play and group tasks, designed to develop students' clinical skills and understanding.

Assessment takes the form of essays, reflective diaries, and presentations. There are no written examinations on the programme.

Exemptions and transferability

Applicants may be exempt from certain elements of the course if they have already undertaken some professional training in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice. Any application for the accreditation of prior learning can be discussed with the course team.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Career options

This course is fully accredited for Foundation Level Training with the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice. It therefore forms the first step in training to become a fully qualified Family Therapist. Graduates of the course can go on to undertake the next stages in this training - that of Intermediate Level and Masters Level. In addition to this, students working in a variety of work contexts will also benefit from supplementing their own professional skills with the systemic theory and skills learned on the course. Given the broad appeal and applicability of systemic therapy principles, this course will inform and enhance students' understanding and approach to supporting individuals, couples and organisations, as well as families.

Work placement / study abroad

The clinical placement associated with this programme is arranged by students themselves. The training presents a number of opportunities to connect clinical placement with studies on campus, through exploring and assessing students' clinical experiences in this area of practice.

Academic profile

The staff group responsible for delivering the programme includes staff with professional qualifications in clinical psychology (1), counselling psychology (2), social work (1) and probation work (1). Professor Gerry Cunningham (previous Director of Psychology Services for the Western Health and Social Care Trust, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Registered Family Therapist), leads the course, and has extensive experience in running family therapy training over the past 15 years. Jim Wilson (Consultant Systemic Psychotherapist, Independent Trainer, and International Speaker) also teaches on the course.

Apply

Interested candidates should make a direct application using the University's online application system, which can be accessed via the University homepage or by using the following link:

http://www.ulster.ac.uk/apply/how-to-apply

The closing date for applications is the 31 July.

Please note that, when you apply for the course, you will be contacted by the Faculty Office regarding the supporting documentation that you need to provide.

How to apply

Start dates

  • September 2016

Fees and funding

In this section

Additional mandatory costs

Travel Expenses associated with placement – placements are arranged by students themselves on this MSc route (as opposed to being arranged by the course team), and so travel costs will depend on where their placement setting is located.

Contact

Faculty Office

T: +44 (0) 28 7167 5027

E: flhsmg@ulster.ac.uk

Course Director: Professor Gerry Cunningham

T: +44 (0) 28 7167 5589

E: g.cunningham1@ulster.ac.uk