2016 Course description - Advanced Level



Selection Criteria

Duration of Training


Training Venue

Times for 2016


Key aspects of the advanced level

Theoretical Foundations and Content

Application Form


Course Description - Advanced Level

 This is the advanced level of an accredited ( AAFT) 2-year training program in systemic psychotherapy. It is aimed for clinicians possessing introductory levels of knowledge and skills in systemic practice and who have completed an introductory level of systemic study. This level is for counsellors who are currently working with systemic ideas in their clinical practice.

 The intention of this year is to increase competence and confidence in systemic practice whilst encouraging the development of the participant's individual styles and identities as therapists.

 Selection Criteria

 Applicants for the 2-year Graduate Course in Systemic Therapy must have already established knowledge and skills bases in the social and health sciences and have completed a foundation level of study in systemic family therapy.  The course will build on these already acquired skills and extend them into competence with systemic therapy.  Normally this means that applicants should have bachelor's degree qualification in the social and health sciences, or an equivalent qualification.


 At the discretion of the Director, applicants with different qualifications or equivalent qualifications in an unrelated topic may be admitted to the course. They must be able to satisfy the Director that they have sufficient work experience and training and are able to demonstrate a sufficient level of ability in developing therapeutic relationships. This level of ability would normally be established through an interview and through references.

 Duration of Training.

This course has duration of 40 weeks, 5 hours per week. The total hours per year are 200 hours.

 The course will accept a maximum of 8 trainees per year.

2015 Fees: $4,145.00 (GST included) inclusive of individual annual subscription to the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy

 Training Venue: Tresillian Centre, 21 Tyrell Street, Nedlands, WA 6009

Tuesdays 4:30pm 9:30 pm

Wednesday: 1.00pm to 6.00pm


 Key aspects of the Advanced Level

 The advanced level examines 3 models throughout the year: Post -Milan systemic therapy, narrative therapy, and solution focused therapy. There will be a continued focus on the ideas of postmodernism and social constructionism and their influence on systemic therapy.

 Theoretical Foundations and Content

  •  Post-Milan Systemic Therapy
  • Narrative Approaches
  • Solution-Focused Therapy
  • Position of the Therapist
  •  Principles of Ethical Practice
  • The place of Research in Clinical Practice
  • Systemic Practice in the Public Sector
  • Single-Session Therapy

Course Format

  • The course will meet weekly for 5 hours over 40 weeks, from February to December 2016.
  •  Learning will be facilitated via: weekly article seminars, theoretical presentations, observation of live demonstration interviews of clinical work, simulation of clinical interviews, skill development exercises.
  • Live supervision and video analysis of clinical practice will form a major component of the course.
  •  Participation on a reflecting team during live clinical interviews
  •  Position of the therapist interviews: The course explores the influences of the participants' beliefs and context on the therapist/ client relationship.  

Main Aims for the Advanced Level

  • To increase understanding of the different approaches developed within the systemic and social constructionist frameworks and to be able to evaluate the application of these models in varying clinical contexts
  •  To understand the theoretical underpinning of the social constructionist approach
  • Enhance awareness of systemic processes and the social construction of meaning
  •  Increase understanding and skill development in systemic therapy, narrative therapy, and solution focused therapy
  •  Bridging earlier cybernetic approaches within the more contemporary developments in practice.   
  •  To appreciate the recursive nature of beliefs, language and interactions
  • To appreciate and evaluate the influence of social context and dominant discourses on meanings ascribed to problems 

 To gain clinical skills in :

  • The practice of solution focused thinking and questioning: paying attention to the family's ways of describing problems, exploring their ideas of preferred outcomes, developing a future orientation
  • To understand and employ in clinical practice the narrative ideas of deconstruction, relative influence questions and listening for possible unique outcomes
  • To assist clients to consider their preferred actions and links with their beliefs and values 
  • To participate and evaluate the reflecting team process
  • To understand ethical issues in therapy, and the key ethical postures
  • Apply Single Session Therapy within the course's low fee counseling service- implementing the pre: session questionnaire and follow up
  •  Increased understanding and application of the reflexive nature of therapeutic relationships

Program Overview

Term 1 Theory: Contemporary Ideas of Postmodernism and Social Constructionism: their influence on systemic practice

  •  Review of systems principles and practice across the 3 historical periods
  •  The Post - Milan Approach
  •  Overview of Research studies

 Term 2 Theory: Systemic Models for Change: Narrative Frameworks

  •  Linguistic views: problem determined systems
  •  Narrative Therapy Theory and Practice: White and Epston Narrative Therapy: Theory and Development
  • Reflecting Teams: Theory

 Term 3 Theory: Solution Focused Therapy

  • The Solution Focused Approach: Principles and Practice
  • Single Session Therapy

Term 4 Theory: integrative Systemic Practices and their Implications

  •  A critique of social constructionist and post-modern ideas
  • Systemic practice in the public sector
  • Systemic Consultation and Supervision

 The structure of training sessions is organized as follows:

 Article seminar theory presentations

The course provides the trainees with articles for reading each week. Each trainee takes it in turn to present the key aspects of the article, its influence on their thinking and practice with references drawn from their clinical experience. In this year, the trainees are also asked to design an exercise that engages the group with the reading material.

 The course director follows this with a theoretical presentation on the theory discussed.

 Journal reflections

Trainees are asked to maintain a training journal throughout the course. This journal includes the trainee's personal reflections on the systemic ideas and skills learnt, from any part of the course. The journal is used to assist with the final assignment for each year.

 Skill development exercises- Learning by Doing

 One of the key aims of this aspect of the course is to provide opportunities for participants to become observers of the learning and therapy process.  In addition, skill development exercises are designed to reflect both the theory being covered and the needs of the training group.

 Live supervision and Video Reviews

 The clinical work is provided by the course's low fee counselling and consultation service. This training program takes place in a venue with video recording and observation facilities. Therapists will work directly with individuals, couples and families using live supervision and reflecting team methods. During this year, tranees will also undertake sessions without a reflecting team, in order to gain confidence in working without teams.

 There will be an emphasis on developing skills in systemic, narrative, solution focused interviewing and forming collaborative relationships with clients

Working in reflecting teams.

Learning is facilitated from either participation in the team or by being the therapist. 2 œlearning tools' are used to track and identify the skills used during the session and to reflect on learning after the session.

 Reviews of videotapes are used to further learning and awareness of the reflecting team processes in developing therapist/team/client relationships.

Clinical Practice

Training participants will work directly with individuals, couples and families using live supervision

 The year will explore the application of systemic practice in the public sector and examine ways in which systemic ideas can be applied in work contexts, such as, family violence, child protection and mental health.

 Single Session Therapy will form a component of the year's study.

 The Position of the Therapist

Therapists will have opportunities to develop awareness of their influence in constructing meaning and particular episodes of interaction in their relationships with clients. The course therefore examines the influences of family of origin and socio/cultural themes on therapists' perceptions and actions in the therapy process. This area of work involves understanding the importance of ethical standards and behaviours in systemic practice.

 The trainee is required to participate with specific exercises, which demonstrate the influence of his/her own self on the clinical work as well as demonstrating how ideas and actions can emerge and evolve in social interaction with clients and families.


 Theory- Research project

 Trainees form research groups for this year and undertake research in a particular area of clinical work from the low fee counseling service. Guidelines for the progress reports and the final report are given to the trainees.

  • Progress reports are presented to the training group at the end of each term.
  • The final research findings are presented fully at the end of the year.
  • Trainees are encouraged to consider submitting their research for publication or to contribute towards a conference presentation.

 Assesment- Clinical Skills

  • The Course Director uses live supervision of trainees' clinical sessions to develop an assessment of the trainee's performance.
  • With the client's permission, sessions are videotaped and replayed for team analysis.
  • Trainees are requested to review each tape of their clinical work and to highlight segments of interaction which they found challenging. These are reviewed in the training group. Role-plays are then used to experiment with alternative ways of responding.
  • The discussions held during mid and end of session breaks are videotaped in order to track the trainees' and team's thinking as session's progress.
  • The Course Director uses these times to provide feedback on the trainees' current practice and areas for future development.

 Accreditation and eligibility for clinical membership and Year 3 of the Course

The Australian Association of Family Therapy has accredited this course.

 Following the completion of the course, trainees complete the AAFT  supervision requirements (50 hours post training) .For those seeking accreditation, this component forms the 3rd year of the course. Supervision groups of  6 are formed.

 The trainees are instructed in making a post training supervision contract and in the keeping of a log such that is acceptable for submission to AAFT for Clinical Membership.

Enquiries: Please contact Roxanne E: rgarven@iinet.net.au  M: 0423165971

 Application Form


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