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Foundation Course in Family Therapy

Key facts

Start date September 2017

Duration/mode 12 months part time

UK/EU fees £2,500 (total)

International fees £5,292 (total)

Additional cost information

Entry requirements Professionally qualified in health/social care discipline + in related employment.

Language requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.5 in any component


The Foundation Course in Systemic Practice introduces systemic principles, models of family therapy and their application to practice. You will be introduced to key theoretical approaches in family therapy and the skills and techniques associated with them. The course is multi-disciplinary and is delivered through a combination of lectures and practical teaching, followed by theoretical and application discussions and skills practice in small groups facilitated by qualified family therapists. It offers opportunities to observe and to practise key skills in a class room setting.

The course is available as a stand-alone module or as part of the Postgraduate Certificate in Systemic Practice and is suitable for professionals working in psychology, nursing, psychiatry, social work, counselling, voluntary organisations and related fields.

More information

The Leeds Family Therapy and Research Centre has been training therapists for over 20 years to help individuals, couples and families find ways of tackling their problems.

You can study this subject at other levels: Family Therapy (Intermediate), Systemic Practice PGCert, and Systemic Family Therapy MSc.


This course is accredited by the Association for Family Therapy and as such fulfils the training requirements for Foundation Level training in Systemic Practice. Read more on the Association for Family Therapy website.

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Course content

The course will introduce you to:

  • the basic theory and concepts of systemic family practice
  • theories of change and "schools" of systemic practice, from structural and Milan through to post-Milan constructionist and narrative approaches
  • family life cycles, developmental tasks and inter-generational patterns
  • approaches to systemic practice in different settings and with different client groups.

The course will also provide opportunities for you to examine your own personal and professional context from a systemic perspective and to acquire basic systemic practice skills.

On successful completion of this course you should be able to describe a range of systemic approaches to family and other relationships and give examples of their application, particularly in your own areas of work. You will be able to take a critical stance to systemic ideas and their value, and place systemic therapy in a historical context.

You will be able to use systemic ideas to promote anti-discriminatory practice and demonstrate an awareness of the impact of wider social context, with particular reference to race, gender and disability. You will demonstrate through role play, a range of systemic skills such as genogram construction, circular questions and offering reframes or alternative perspectives.

The course runs on approximately 20 Wednesday evenings (5pm to 8.30pm) in September-June, plus up to three full days. It takes place on the University's main Campus.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

For more information on typical modules, read Foundation Course in Family Therapy in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

You’ll be taught through lectures, practical classes, and group tutorials. We make extensive use of IT and a wide range of material to enable students to study at their own pace and in their own time to enhance and extend the material taught formally.


We monitor your progress through attendance, participation in lectures and tutorials, feedback on written assignments, a group presentation on an area of interest and a reflective learning log completed during the year of the course.

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Applying, fees and funding

Entry requirements

This course is specifically designed for graduate professionals with a first professional qualification in a relevant mental health or social care area such as social work, psychiatry, psychology, nursing, counselling, occupational therapy, art therapy or similar professions.

If you are a professional working in a mental health or social care setting without a first professional qualification, you are welcome to apply for admission via our professional accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL). Further details can be found in the APEL document.

International qualifications

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information contact the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences Admissions Team.

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.5 in any component.

How to apply

The application period for this course has now closed please contact the programme team to discuss the options currently available to you.

Documents and information you’ll need

  • A professional reference
  • An academic reference (or a 2nd professional reference)
  • You will have the support of your current manager to present case material from your place of work for case discussion and course work at the University of Leeds. We have enclosed a letter for your manager in the Application Pack which briefly outlines the training and asks for their support in this process. It you are unable to gain support at this stage, it is important that you contact the course team to discuss this as early as possible
  • If applicable, a sponsor letter (for students whose training fees are paid in full or part by your work agency) OR if you seek HEYH (Health Education Yorkshire and Humber) bursary (please refer to the Application Pack), you must upload to the "Funding Document Upload" area a scanned copy of signed HEYH bursary application form.
  • Before applying, please read the Application FAQs.


This link takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.
If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Selection principles

We select candidates on the basis of their professional experience and academic background.


UK/EU fees: £2,500 (total)
International fees: £5,292 (total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Additional cost information

Although there is no obligation to do so, students may wish to undertake systemic supervision of their clinical practice at this stage in their own work agency. In most situations the costs of supervision would be met by your employer, eg in NHS settings.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

Health Education Yorkshire and Humber (HEYH) funding through the University of Leeds

If you are employed by an organisation providing NHS services in Yorkshire and the Humber, you may be eligible for the funding through the University. Psychiatrists and GPs are not eligible but may contact the Deanery.

If you are eligible please upload to your online application a completed HEYH bursary application form (Please refer to the Application Pack).

This funding is limited and is allocated shortly after the application closing date. If you want to be considered for funding, please make sure that we receive your application well before the deadline.

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Career opportunities

Students who complete Foundation level training in Systemic Practice add theoretical knowledge and practical skills to their professional range, developing the extent to which they can work with clients in family and other relational settings. Past students have progressed to training on our Family Therapy (Intermediate) and Systemic Family Therapy MSc programmes. Students who complete the MSc in Systemic Family Therapy are eligible to register with the UKCP as Systemic Psychotherapists and to practice as qualified family therapists in the public and voluntary sectors, as well as privately.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

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