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Family Therapy and the Family of Therapies

Module titleFamily Therapy and the Family of Therapies
Module codePYCM015
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Mr Mark Rivett (Convenor)

Mrs Hannah Sherbersky (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Family therapy exists within a context in which other therapies are being practiced. At the same time there is an increasing convergence between the therapies. This entails similarities of approach around the therapeutic alliance, formulation and self-reflexivity. This module will provide an introduction to a range of therapies as they are currently practiced within the public and private sectors including psychodynamic therapy, CBT, body and creative therapies. It will then explore the range of distinct approaches and ideas within family therapy while relating them to the wider psychotherapeutic world.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of this module is to enable you to:

  • Develop an understanding of a range of therapies practised in public and private contexts;
  • Develop an ability to compare and contrast these differing models while assessing which are most useful for which presentations and families;
  • Understand how core common processes and ideas cross the differing therapies;
  • Develop a deeper understanding about systemic theories which provide the unique features of this form of therapy;
  • Understand how culture, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation are understood and respected within each therapy.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Summarise the key features of other therapies
  • 2. Compare and contrast different psychotherapies especially in relation to systemic therapy
  • 3. Critically evaluate some common features of various therapies
  • 4. Present unique theoretical ideas from within the systemic tradition

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Understand, critically evaluate and apply theoretical contributions
  • 6. Illustrate how different therapies address diversity and apply these in a relevant way to clinical work

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Select and organise material to produce a coherent written argument
  • 8. Monitor your own progress
  • 9. Link theory to personal and professional experience

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The module will run over term 1 of the first year. It will introduce you to a range of therapeutic modalities with the intention of broadening your knowledge and ability to work alongside other clinicians. It will deepen your understanding of the commonalities across therapies but also help you to recognise the variety of systemic therapeutic ideas that inform family therapy practice.

Indicative topics:

  • Formulation across therapies
  • Therapeutic alliance across therapies
  • Integrative practice across therapies
  • The variety of systemic theories from Bateson to Andersen
  • Social constructionism and Coordinated Management of Meaning
  • The family tree of family therapy

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching40Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching30Seminars/discussions within the whole group
Guided Independent Study20Reading and preparation for presentation
Guided Independent Study60Reading and preparation for case study


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Presentation of reading seminar paper10 minutes1-4Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
A podcast in which you present ideas about a common concept/ skill that crosses a number of psychotherapies505-10 minutesAllOral
Essay requiring you to take a common process and explore how two therapies address this process (this assessment must be passed; failure in this assessment will lead to failure in the module and the programme)503000 wordsAllWritten


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
PodcastPodcastAllFour weeks from the date feedback was provided
EssayEssayAllFour weeks from the date feedback was provided

Re-assessment notes

Two assessments are required for this module. In all cases re-assessment will be the same as the original assessment. Where you have been referred/deferred for any form of assessment detailed above you will have the opportunity to retake within four weeks from the date that feedback was provided.

If you pass re-assessments taken as a result of deferral, your re-assessment will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment and the overall module mark will not be capped.

If you pass re-assessments taken as a result of referral (i.e. following initial failure in the assessment), the overall module mark will be capped at 50%.

If you fail re-assessments taken as a result of referral (i.e. following initial failure in the assessment), you will be failed in the module and as a consequence you will be failed in the programme and your registration as a student of the University will be terminated.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Barlow, D (2001) Clinical handbook of psychological disorders. New York; Guildford.
  • Keeney, B. (1983) The aesthetics of change. New York: Guildford.
  • Lebow, J. (2013) Couple and family therapy: an integrative map of the territory. Washington DC; American Psychological association.
  • Sprenkle, D.; Davis, S. and Lebow, J. (2009) Common factors in couple and family therapy. New York: Guilford.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • ELE – (all resources will be made available on ELE, including additional material covered in the tutorials, the required readings, information about assessment and additional material (e.g., videos))

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Family therapy, evidence-based practice, manuals

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites

PYCM051 Psychological Therapies Research Methods

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date