This unit will focus on the underpinnings of family and systemic practice. Students will develop knowledge and understanding of the main theoretical frameworks, and will begin to conceptualise the application of family counselling practice that is specific to these approaches. The process of integration into one’s own professional formation as a Counsellor will also be emphasised. Several issues pertinent to the presentation of families will be explored, and the application of intervention will be determined; including a Christian perspective as relevant.

Unit code: DZ3132S

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Professional Counselling

Proposing College: Stirling College

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Learning outcomes


Determine one’s own family of origin; the implications for practice, and conceptualise the use of the genogram as a tool for assessment and treatment in family related presentations.


Identify a range of presenting issues to be addressed from a systemic viewpoint.


Analyse and evaluate the diversity within family structures from inclusive, culturally aware, and social context perspectives.


Apply skills and theory in family counselling practice.


Critically examine a range of systemic theoretical positions including principles, working assumptions, and techniques of family systemic practice.

Unit sequence

This is an elective unit within the Bachelor of Counselling. Core counselling units in the Advanced Diploma in Counselling must be complete to enrol in this unit.


This Unit of Study is intended to be delivered weekly, in online mode throughout the duration of the Semester. It will include structured lectures and group interaction, and will utilise a range of additional instructor-led material, analysis and discussion.

Indicative Bibliography

Required for all students:

Goldenberg, I., & Goldenberg, H. (2016). Family therapy. An overview. (9th ed.). Brooks/Cole.

McGoldrick M., Gerson R., & Petry S. (2020). Genograms, assessment and intervention. (4th ed.). Norton and Company.

Other resources:

Figley, C., & Kiser, L. (2013). Helping traumatized families. (2nd ed.). Routledge.

Gehart, D. (2016). Theory and treatment planning in family therapy. Cengage Learning.

Patterson, J., Williams, L., Edwards, T., Chamow L., & Grauf-Grounds, C. (2018). Essential skills in family therapy. From the first interview to termination. (3rd ed.). Guildford Press.

Reiter, M. (2018). Family therapy. An introduction to process, practice and theory. Routledge.

Richardson, R. (2002). The family ties that bind. (3rd ed.). Self-Counsel Press.

Thomlinson, B. (2010). Family assessment handbook. An introduction and practical guide to family assessment. Cengage Learning.

Williams, L., Edwards, T., Patterson, J., & Chamow, L. (2014). Essential assessment skills for couple and family therapists. The Guildford Press.

Yarhouse, M., & Sells, J. (2017). Family therapies: A comprehensive Christian appraisal. (2nd ed.). Intervarsity Press.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Reflection - Written Assessment - Genogram Construction and Personal Reflection. 1500 30.0
Essay - Written Assessment - Essay on Theories of Systemic Family Practice 2000 40.0
Oral Presentation - Group Project & Oral Class Presentation 1500 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 18 Sep, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2020-09-18 15:32:40 +1000