Postgraduate Diploma in Systemic Practice in Psychotherapy

There is an increasing demand for Systemic Family Therapists. The Postgraduate Diploma in Systemic Practice in Psychotherapy will develop the particular skills and knowledge required to work with families, couples and individual adults and children in the context of their life circumstances.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Systemic Practice in Psychotherapy is for counsellors, psychiatrists, practitioner psychologists, social workers, nurses, occupational therapists and teachers as well as medical doctors who wish to develop systemic practice in their work setting or who wish to embark upon the first stage of a psychotherapy education.

Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Part-time 2 Years September Glyntaff A

This Psychotherapy course comprises two modules delivered over two years.

In Year One, you will study Foundation in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice.

In Year Two, you will study Using Systemic Practice in the Work Setting.

You will study the following themes and content:

  • The story of Systems Thinking: New paradigm and impact on Psychotherapy and Counselling.
  • Communication Theory: From Hypnosis to Interactional Analysis.
  • Ericksonian Brief Therapy, Interactional Therapy, Structural Family Therapy, Milan Systemic family therapy.
  • Therapy Session Analysis from Video Archive.
  • Culture and Diversity: Interpersonal Process and Context.
  • Research and Critical Analysis of Manualised Therapies: Eating Disorder, Depression and Self Harm.
  • Practice-based evidence and consultation.
  • Convening Family Sessions.
  • Feminist critique of Systems Thinking.
  • Gender, Violence and Social Control.
  • Narrative and Dialogical Approaches.
  • Rituals as Therapeutic Intervention.
  • Social Constructivism, Power and Discourse.
  • Organisations: Opportunities/Constraints.
  • Core concepts in Systemic Practice expanded.
  • Psychosocial Contexts of Psychotherapy, Health and Social Services.
  • Communication Theory and Co-ordinated Management of Meaning.
  • The Psycho-Biology of Cognition, Language and Social Construction of Reality.
  • Personal and Professional Development.
  • Trans- Cultural Project.
  • Consultation to agency-based cases.
  • Skills Development: Interventive Interviewing, Case Conceptualization, Interactional Analysis, Language and Metaphor, Therapist Use of Self, Recognizing Transformative Possibilities.

Observation of live therapy sessions is also possible in year two.


Year One

5th to the 9th November (five day block); 31 January; 1 February; 4th to the 8th March 2019

Year Two

10,11 October; 15 November; 6 December 2018

17 January; 14 February; 4 March; 7 March; 4 April; 2 May; 23 May; 13 June 2019

*Student Conference – 4 March 2019




Year One assessments

Essay (6000 words) – You will critically analyse the development of core concepts underpinning systemic practice and relate this to personal epistemology within the practice setting. The essay should demonstrate your ability to link theory and practice.

A case study based on analysis of a feature film (6000 words) – You will demonstrate your ability to analyse family processes, critically formulate interactions in the context of life cycle transitions and wider social and cultural dimensions.

Critically analyse a key piece of research on psychotherapy with families or couples with reference to current discourses of evidence base. (6000 words)

Year Two assessments

Essay on a choice of key concepts in systemic theory relating these to practice (5000 words). You will describe and compare these concepts in the context of relevant literature reviewed.

  • Critique a manualised approach of their choice demonstrating knowledge of its application in practice. (3,600 words)
  • Agency project: Reflect on the systemic organisation of your agency and the potential impact of implementing a new practice in the organisation.(5,400 words)
  • Session Analysis (1000 words)
  • Intercultural Project (3000 words)


The Family Institute is a Training Institute Member of the European Family Therapy Association and a member of the Confederation of Family Therapy Training Institutions UK.


You will train in The Family Institute.


Applicants will normally hold a prior professional qualification in the following professions: Counselling, Clinical Psychology, Social Work, Medicine including Psychiatry, Nursing, Occupational Therapy and Teaching.

Two references uploaded with your application


Applicants must hold an Honours degree in Psychology and be pursuing a portfolio route towards BPS accreditation as a Chartered Counselling Psychologist

Two references uploaded with your application

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2019 - July 2020 Fees

  • Part-time UK and EU: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

Apply directly to the University if you are applying for a part-time, professional or postgraduate course, an Erasmus/Exchange programme, the Legal Practice (part-time) course, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution.    

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Admissions statement 

Students on this course will already be employed in their current professional capacity. This is a prerequisite to study the course. Students who continue to study and then graduate from the MSc Systemic Psychotherapy course, (the modules on this course are prerequisites for the MSc) will have opportunity to negotiate pay scale on the basis of dual qualification within the NHS structures.

In England and Scotland there is an increasing demand for Systemic Family Therapists. In Wales currently the student market is focused primarily on knowledge and skills development within their current employment role. There are a number of posts that have been created recently in addition to the few psychotherapy posts within the NHS. Local Authority Social Services are currently developing their child care practices in line with the Hackney Model to bring their practices in line with Systemic approaches and are in a process of discussing training and consultation for staff. Many graduates will be in private practice which is the case for most UK psychotherapists.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.