Certificate in Systemic Practice – Year 1 Introductory (Families and Couples or Child Focused)

We offer the Certificate in two separate courses leading to the same qualification.  It is accredited by the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice (AFT).

Please note – from September 2019 this course will no longer be validated by the University of Bedfordshire.

Key information

  • Date: September 2020
  • Course length: 1 Year (18 teaching days, twice a month)
  • Fee for 2020: £2,600 pa
  • Venue: IFT

The course is constructed in two different formats from which candidates must choose. They are:

The courses are equivalent and cover the same basic systemic tools and approaches. Therefore there is considerable overlap in which the two groups are taught together, but they differ in the emphasis that they place on how to apply those ideas to specific client groups. Students are therefore required to indicate at the point of application which course they wish to attend. All successful students are awarded a Certificate in Systemic Practice and can apply for entry onto the Postgraduate Certificate in Systemic Practice (Year 2 of the four year training programme).

Both courses employ a mixture of lecture-style presentation, experiential small-group work, workshops and presentations by visiting speakers. Lectures make use of audiovisual illustrations and other active teaching techniques. There are opportunities in both courses to hear external speakers that enable participants to follow particular avenues of interest. Throughout the course students’ current practice (working with children, couples or families) is related to the theoretical ideas they are studying. There is an emphasis on reflective and anti-oppressive practice both in terms of the students’ use of self and in the development of the students’ understanding of power differentials.

On successful completion of the introductory year candidates are eligible to apply for continuing training in systemic practice at postgraduate level, on either of our post graduate courses (families and couples or child focused practice) subject to meeting other entry criteria.

Both courses run twice a month on Mondays, and include lectures and tutorial group work. The work in groups will help participants to understand and explore the practice implications of what has been learned in the lectures, including the development of different interventions useful for their work. A number of external speakers will present their specialist areas of interest, such as thinking about sex systemically and working with refugees.

At the end of the year participants will be expected to give a short presentation to their tutorial group about one aspect of their systemic learning over the year.

Each course consists of two units: theory and skills. Both are assessed by two pieces of coursework. On obtaining a pass-level for each element of the course assessment, participants will be awarded a Certificate in Systemic Practice by IFT.

There is an 80% attendance requirement.

Course work

The two units are assessed by two different pieces of work, making a total of four over the year.

There is also a completed component of a Reflective Journal which does not count towards the final mark but which must be completed to a pass standard.

Assessed components:

Theory unit:
Essay of 1,500 words due December (30%)
Essay of 3,500 words due April (70%)

Skills unit:
Essay of 3.500 words due January (50%)
Presentation to small group in June (50%)

The foundation level course aims to meet the needs of a broad range of participants who have a relevant professional background, such as nursing, social work, psychology, psychiatry or teaching.Participants must be working with families and couples / children and their families within the context of their profession.In some circumstances people without a helping professional background may be accepted, but will only be eligible to receive the Certificate if they have arranged regular ongoing direct (i.e. face to face) and relevant work during the period of the course. Entry on this basis will be at the discretion of the course chair.

No previous training in systemic work is required.

If your intention is to pursue your training to MSc level, you must be aware that a prior professional qualfication will be a requirement for entry. Please see IFT prior professional qualifications and APEL Policy for further details of MSc entry criteria.

Tutor information

Course Director and Tutor: Hendrix Hammond  MSc, BSc
Course Tutors: Cath Jones  MSc, Syst Sup, BSc

Fees for 2020/21 – £2,600

Payment in instalments available to self payers.

A non returnable administration fee of £40 is payable to the Institute of Family Therapy on application.

IFT policy on fees

Once registered with IFT, students (or their employer/sponsor) will be liable for the full course fee. In the event of students failing to complete a course for any reason (including voluntary withdrawal on notice), they will remain liable for the full fee.


What do our students say

“I have found the quality of teaching of the team, their experience of practice, and their sensitive and encouraging approach, hugely inspiring.”

“Learning has been a wonderful experience and it’s been good to be a student again.”

Open evening

We run open evenings every spring, where prospective students have the opportunity to find out more about the Institute of Family Therapy’s training programme. The evenings commence with a welcome from our Director. During the evening there will be an opportunity to speak with IFT teaching staff.

The date for the Certificate Open Evening is 10th February, 2020 at The Space Centre,
94 Judd Street, London WC1H 9NT, from 6.00pm – 8.00pm

Please email Robyn Galloway to reserve your place.

How to apply

IFT Training Prospectus
Download Training Prospectus

The closing date for applications is 30th June. This is a popular course and early application is advised. Late applicants are advised to contact the training department after the closing date to check availability of places.

Selection for the course is made on the basis of the application form. Applicants will not normally be required to attend an interview.

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