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Course content

  • Build on the foundation knowledge gained from your first year of systemic training, and enhance your systemic practice skills 
  • Study a course accredited by the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice at Intermediate Level, potentially leading to study at MSc level and professional Qualifying Level training in systemic psychotherapy/family therapy
  • Equip you with skills in appraising research and applying evidence to practice
  • Our staff are qualified practicing psychotherapists and they're up to date with what's going on in practice. They'll use lots of clinical examples in their teaching, ensuring that what you're learning will help you in your workplace, and will keep your career moving forward

Systemic practice emphasises the importance of relationships. It considers the interactions of couples, families, other relationship groups and their patterns of behaviour and dynamics. It recognises the way in which social interactions shape a person’s life and addresses these relationships both directly and indirectly.

The ideas are also applied to working with individuals. If you’d like to develop your knowledge in this aspect of therapeutic practice, this course is for you.

Professionally Accredited course

This course is accredited by the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice at Intermediate level, so you can be confident that you’ll gain the skills you need in the field of systemic practice.

If you’ve already completed the Advanced Diploma in Systemic Thinking and Practice or you’ve passed an equivalent introductory level course, this is the ideal next step for you. As it’s a part-time course studied over on 17 days over one year, You will have the flexibility to continue your professional development without taking a break from your career.

During the course you are required to complete 60 hours of systemic practice, therefore you must be working in an area where you can apply the ideas you are learning.

Opportunities for networking

We have close links with Derbyshire Association for Family Therapy (DAFT) and twice yearly, course participants join the local family therapy and systemic practice network for a day conference. These opportunities mean that we can ensure course staff and students are informed of contemporary practice developments and this can also provide you with continued professional development opportunities beyond your formal study at the University of Derby.

You will cover theoretical principles of working with systems which can be immediately applied to your thinking about your current practice. You will be expected to complete 60 hours of supervised systemic practice in your practice setting, developing your skills directly within your practice role.

What you will study

The course aims to synthesise theory, practice, and reflective skills as well as extending your knowledge in the development of research in the field. We pay careful attention to ethics, power and difference and these themes are explored across all aspects of your learning. We aim to model key systemic practice ideas through teaching and opportunities for skills practice.

There’s an emphasis on creating a safe group context in both the academic and clinical aspects of the course. This will help your learning, your application of ideas, and your ability to be self-reflexive. Our teaching is focused on enhancing your learning experience, so you’ll take part in workshops, small personal and professional development groups and undertake skills practice exercises.

You’ll study modules such as:

  • Systemic Theory and Practice 1
  • Systemic Theory and Practice 2
  • Systemic Personal and Professional Development 1

How you will learn

Our teaching team works in a variety of agency settings and many are active researchers too. The team will help you to apply the theory to practical situations. You will study alongside professionals from a range of disciplines, so you can share challenges and learn from one another’s experiences.

You'll learn in different ways:

  • Lectures and seminars
  • Experiential exercises
  • Skills practice work
  • Small group and professional development work
  • Self-supported study.

How you're assessed

You'll complete assignments to demonstrate learning and application of ideas.


This course is suitable for you if you wish to extend your knowledge and practice of systemic theory and family therapy ideas in the workplace. It's suitable for people who work in a variety of agency settings in statutory and non-government projects and across all age groups.

It can be studies as a standalone course or as the second year of a four year programme. If you have a host profession and wish to become a qualified family therapist/systemic psychotherapist, it can lead to an MSc. In Systemic Psychotherapy and practice as a Family Therapist.

Visit the Systemic Thinking and Practice (PGCert) page on the University of Derby website for more details!






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Recipient: University of Derby

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