MSc in Family and Systemic Psychotherapy

The Institute of Family Therapy delivers an advanced clinical training in Family and Systemic Psychotherapy with an award of an MSc. Details of the current course are set out below. The course begins in September, runs for two years and is designed to enable participants to pursue their careers concurrently.

The course is inter-disciplinary and is designed for professional practitioners with at least two years post-qualifying experience who wish to develop their skills to the required level for registration with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy.

In Partnership with the University of BedfordshireThe course is accredited by the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice (AFT) and validated by the University of Bedfordshire.

Successful completion of the course enables students to apply for registration with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) to practice as a qualified Family and Systemic Psychotherapist within the UK.

Our next intake will be 2020.

Updated course information and the application pack will be available from October 2019.

Key information

  • Start date: September 2020
  • Course length: 2 years
  • tbc – fee for 2019/20: £5,712 pa
  • Venue: Institute of Family Therapy
  • Level: 7

The course is accredited by the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice. It is validated by the University of Bedfordshire.

Aims of the Training

To ensure that graduates of the course have developed sufficient knowledge and skills to enable them to practice effectively and ethically as independent family and systemic psychotherapists, equipped to work with a range of presenting issues and in a way that is sensitive to difference, culture, power differentials and the variety of ways that people choose to live their lives. The course specifically aims to equip therapists to work in health and social service settings as well as in voluntary and private settings, and draws on a wide range of theories and ideas.

Course Structure

The course is made up of 5 units over the two years:

Theory in context (30 credits)
Research methods (30 credits)
The developing therapist (30 credits)
The maturing therapist (30 credits)
Research, practice and the evidence base (60 credits)

1. Supervision Groups

These are held weekly for four hour and a half hours and provide the opportunity to develop skills as a therapist in a stimulating and supportive environment. The groups of four are led by an experienced therapist, qualified as a systemic supervisor. Groups are available in the afternoon or evening and meet either at IFT or at the Prudence Skynner Clinic in south west London.

Additional time is required for reviewing and preparing video tape and for personal/professional development sessions. Groups also meet as peer groups without the supervisor.

2. Academic programme

Academic blocks are held once a month in term time, on a Thursday evening and all day Friday. They consist of:

a) Lectures and presentations by visiting speakers
Topics include:

  • Developments in family and systemic psychotherapy
  • The application of different models
  • Working with couples
  • Addressing issues of power
  • Thinking about culture
  • Working with different groups of clients – the elderly, children, people with illness or disability
  • Divorce, separation and stepfamilies
  • Ethical issues
  • Gay and Lesbian families and relationships
  • Working with adult mental health issues
  • Sexuality and couple relationships
  • The therapeutic relationship

b) Tutor groups
These are held in every academic block and provide support in academic learning and in the completion of coursework.

c) Research teaching and dissertation development
There are regular teaching sessions on different aspects of research. All trainees have to submit a research protocol as one of the coursework assignments and most trainees take the opportunity to carry out a research project as the basis of their dissertation.

d) Power and diversity group
This group meets termly throughout the course with two external facilitators and provides students with an opportunity to develop self-reflexivity in relation to issues of ethnicity, power and diversity.

e) Workplace consultation groups
These groups provide an opportunity outside of the supervision group to discuss organisational issues and clinical work from the trainees’ workplace, and help to develop the ability to apply the course learning to various working contexts.

f) Personal and professional development
It is very important for any therapist to develop an awareness of personal and professional processes that interweave with their work and to reflect on their use of self in their work. Additional time in supervision groups is specifically allocated for personal/professional development sessions and usually commences with a full day at IFT in October of each year.


  • Theoretical essay
  • Case study
  • Fieldwork interviewing project
  • Critical analysis / literature review assignment
  • Evidence based practice assignment on a work-related topic
  • Research protocol
  • Dissertation of 12,000 words involving a research project or a review of an agreed clinical topic
  • Successful completion of clinical hours and satisfactory supervisor’s report
  • Learning portfolio
  • Research presentation (formative)
  • Presentation (including dvd of work) to the clinical assessment panel
  • A previous professional qualification in psychology, social work, psychiatry, nursing or education – please see notes on Prior Training Requirements.
  • A degree level education in the above or other area of academic work. If an applicant does not have a prior degree she/he must be able to demonstrate ability to study at MSc level.
  • Successful completion of foundation and intermediate levels of training in systemic practice or equivalent (nb. intermediate training must be no more than 5 years ago).
  • A grounding in child development and psychology.
  • The possibility of completing 100 hours per year of systemic practice outside the course

Criminal Records Bureau

Students will be asked to supply an Enhanced Certificate of Disclosure, which many will have through their work settings. If students do not already have one they will be required to obtain one and be responsible for the cost.

Course Chair: Judy Gray, MPhil, MSc, CQSW, BSoc (Hons)

Clinical Supervisors
Simon Shattock, BA, Dip SW, PGDip, MSc, PGCert CYIAPT.
Matthew Ganda: RN, MSc, TQSystSup
Judy Gray: MPhil, MSc, B(Soc) Sc, CQSW
David Pentecost: BA(Hons), MSc, DPsych
Annie Turner: BA(Hons), CQSW, DipFT, DipPST
Jeanne Ziminski: CQSW, MSc, MA, DPsych

Gwynneth Down: SRN, RMN, ENB603, MSc
Robert McCandless: CSM, DipSW, PGCE, BSc, MSc
Rabia Malik: BSc(Hons), MSc, PhD
Philippe Mandin: CQSW, MSc, Prof Doc Systemic Practice
Catherine Rodger: CQSW, MSc, DipSystSup
Jeanne Ziminski: CQSW, MSc, MA, DPsych

Fee for 2019/20 : £5,712 pa.
Fee for 2020 intake: tbc

Alternative method of payment for self payers only:

  • by direct debit in 8 monthly instalments
  • in 3 termly instalments
IFT Policy on Fees

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


What do our students say

“Thank you for a very inspiring course. I feel I have really benefited in terms of work and personal relationships.”

“Our work together has been exciting and inspiring and there is no doubt that the journey will continue….”

Overview of time commitment required of the course

The course, although part time, requires significant time input from students. It is important that applicants are aware of the time commitment required.

1. Introductory 3 days: Three full days at the beginning of the course, two full days at the beginning of the second year.

2. Clinical Supervision Groups: The clinical time is four and a half hours per week, during term time, over 11 weeks, although the groups have some flexibility as to how they meet the needs of work with families over the holiday period, for example some groups may take a half term break and extend the term by a week. This is open to each group to negotiate. Students will also need to make time for video review and administrative tasks associated with the clinical work.

3. Additional hours: Students also undertake 48 hours of peer directed learning with their supervision group colleagues over the two years (this equates to 8 hours per term), and Personal and Professional Development work of 25 hours minimum over the course (between 4 and 5 hours per term).

4. Academic Block: These take place monthly and consist of Thursday evenings 5.00pm – 8.00pm, and all day Friday (9.30am – 5.00pm).

5. Private study. Students will need to make time for private study, reading and writing assignments.

How to apply

IFT Training Prospectus 2019-2020
Download Training Prospectus

To be placed on a mailing list to receive information on the 2020 intake please contact Robyn Galloway giving your postal address as well as your email address.

  • Interviews will be held in February and March 2020.
  • Closing date for receipt of application: mid January 2020
  • Open Evening: January 2020

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