Family Therapy UK

Training to become a Family Therapist


A list of establishments offering training in the UK can be obtained from AFT (Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice in the UK). AFT set guidelines for the different levels of training listed below:

Foundation Level

Open to relevantly qualified practitioners, such as teachers, social workers, psychologists and other people working with families and children. These courses aim to provide a general theoretical background and explore the application of family therapy/systemic ideas into practice.

Typically, such courses develop awareness of systemic therapy, its practice, its research base and ethical practice. There may be reading groups and professional and development groups as part of the course programme.

At the end of such a course you should have a general understanding of family therapy/systemic approaches.

These courses are typically over a period of a year and include at least 60 hours direct study on the course and 120 independently.

The foundation level is a spring-board to more advanced training, if you want to take it

Intermediate Level

Open to relevantly qualified practitioners, who have completed the foundation level.

At the end of the course you should have knowledge of a broad range of family therapy/systemic literature and theory and how this is applied to practice.

Courses at this level will include at least 60 hours direct teaching on the course, 60 hours of systemic practice and 180 hours of independent study.

The training institution will have to assess whether you are suitable for qualifying training before you can be accepted for it.

Qualifying Level

This is at post-graduate level, though there are paths into these courses without having a first degree. Typically, these courses are two years long, but can be up to five. It will include clinical group supervision (300 hours), direct work with clients (40 of the 300 hours), 200 hours of working systemically outside of the course and include personal and professional development (in direct teaching and in supervision groups).

At the end of the course, students should be up to date with current systemic and ethical practice and be able to practice independently. This will be assessed by a variety of means such as supervision, dissertation and presentation of clinical work.

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