Masters Level Clinical Training in Systemic Psychotherapy

About the Programme

The Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust Psychological Therapies Training Centre (PTTC) is offering a new two-year part time qualifying level (MSc) Family Therapy training, based in Manchester, and commencing in April 2021. The course will provide high quality training in the key skills required to be a systemic psychotherapist, drawing on a range of theory, models, and research, with an emphasis upon adult learning principles, evidence-based practice and creative approaches within systemic family therapy. This will include individual, couple and family systemic therapy and will feature working within a live family therapy training team, supervised by an Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice (AFT) accredited systemic clinical supervisor, half a day a week over the two years.

The training will also incorporate learning in relation to systemic facilitation, consultation, group work and supervision theory and techniques. Trainees will be introduced to research theory and practice skills and will be supported to complete a systemic research project during the second year of the course.

As is the norm with new courses, Academic validation is now being sought with The University of Manchester Division of Psychology and Mental Health, within the School of Health Sciences. Professional accreditation is being sought with AFT which will enable students to qualify for registration as systemic psychotherapists.


Programme Aims

This programme will deliver a professional training at postgraduate level in Family and Systemic Psychotherapy leading to UKCP registration. This professional qualification will be accredited by AFT and assure that graduates are fit for safe and effective practice as Systemic Psychotherapists in NHS, social care, voluntary or independent practice. It will equip graduates to undertake systemic psychotherapeutic work with individuals and people in family and relational groups in accordance with the AFT and UKCP Codes of Ethics and Practice.

Family therapists are employed as a core part of multi-disciplinary teams, within a range of agencies. Specialist systemic family therapy services have an established evidence base for working with a wide range of presenting issues. Trainees will be taught the necessary knowledge and skills to work effectively with evidence-based models across the age range.  They will need to evidence their knowledge, skills and attributes through the specified assessments and clinical practice requirements.

By the end of the course students should be able to demonstrate a range of skills including:

  • An understanding of some of the key developmental processes within individuals, families (in diverse forms) and social systems.
  • A commitment to anti-discriminatory and culturally sensitive practice.
  • An ability to elaborate and critically evaluate a range of theoretical frameworks in relation to family therapy and systemic practice and their relationship with other therapies and theories of change.
  • Knowledge of a range of possible problems presented by clients coming for therapy (including examples of more serious mental health issues, knowledge of relevant research findings and clinical understanding from inside and outside of the psychotherapy domain sufficient to enable therapists to identify problems that can be helped by other methods as well as those outside their own limits of expertise).
  • An ability to develop effective therapeutic relationships with a range of clients
  • An ability to use a range of techniques to help clients to make changes in their lives
  • An understanding of wider systems and their impact on individual and family life, and an ability to include this perspective in work with clients.
  • A capacity to use the supervision and consultation processes.
  • An ability to consult constructively with colleagues.
  • An ability to take an active role in the development of personal learning and be able to identify areas of personal strength as well as areas for future professional development.
  • An awareness of personal development processes and an ability to use them in therapeutic, reflexive ways.
  • An ability to critically evaluate relevant research findings.
  • Sufficient knowledge of research methods to be able to plan and carry out a piece of research relevant to the field.
  • An ability to organise work and manage organisational tasks and liaison efficiently and effectively.
  • An ability to communicate the process of therapy in both oral and written forms to psychotherapy colleagues as well as other professionals.
  • An ability to apply the AFT Code of Ethics and Practice to clinical work and an awareness and ability to consider and respond appropriately to ethical dilemmas.

Who Can Apply

Who is the training for?

AFT require any candidate for this qualifying training to have a first degree or have evidence of ability to study at a postgraduate level and to have completed an AFT accredited Intermediate Level systemic training course, (this includes SFP CYPIAPT graduates) and have a professional qualification in one of the following:

  • Psychology: clinical psychology, educational psychology or counselling psychology
  • Social Work
  • Psychiatry and other medical specialities
  • Teaching: individuals should have substantial experience of working with pupils and families in a counselling capacity.
  • Nursing: mental health nursing and other nursing specialities which require counselling skills.
  • Art Therapy: art, dance and movement and music therapists, qualified and registered through the Health Professions Council
  • Counselling: Three-year minimum training, full BACP accredited membership and experience either in the public or voluntary sector
  • Occupational Therapy: qualified and registered with the Health Professions Council
  • Speech and Language Therapy: qualified and registered with the Health Professions Council

Applicants without one of these recognised core professions will be considered for eligibility via the Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes (KSA) framework based on that developed by the BABCP.  The KSA requirements for this training programme will be sent out to applicants.  An example of KSA requirements can be found on the BABCP website Knowledge Skills and Attitudes (

Applicants must have a work context within which they can apply their systemic learning in working with families over the two-year training period.

To discuss the training please contact our course lead Karen Wright: 

Training Component

The first two weeks of training will comprise of 3 block days of teaching and workshops.  Following this, students will generally attend twice per month (on a Thursday) for 3 terms during the first year.  In the second year students will generally attend once per month (on a Thursday) for 3 terms, enabling one day a week to focus upon and complete their research project. Supervision will also be carried out in the student’s agency by a systemic accredited family therapist throughout the two years.

Teaching methods will include workshops, tutorials, large and small group experiential learning. This will include videos of lecturers and trainers engaging in therapy with children and young people and parents (with consent), lecturers modelling (role play) to demonstrate techniques/skills; student role play, self-experiential work, discussion and individual and group exercises to promote skills acquisition and reflection. Students will use private study and research for assignments.

Personal and professional learning groups will be facilitated six times a year. Trainees will also be required to undertake six sessions for themselves (and significant others) of systemic family therapy with a UKCP registered family therapist as part of the Personal and Professional development component of the training.

During term time in both year one year two trainees will work within a weekly live family therapy team, with three other trainee colleagues and a qualified systemic therapy supervisor, who will support and assess their practice.

Students will undertake this 2 year programme alongside employment within an agency within which they are able to apply their learning.  They will be trained to work with a variety of presenting difficulties and a diverse range of children, young people adults and families. They will also work in collaboration with a range of different professions, organisations and networks.  The programme will develop students' decision-making abilities and enable them to use supervision and to recognise when and where it is appropriate to seek further advice, to refer to a specialist service, including working in relation to safeguarding and risk issues.

In Summary the minimum number of expected hours of teaching, clinical practice and independent study over the two years will be as follows:

  • Face-to-face clinical work with clients seen with live supervision in a supervision group: 40 hours
  • Clinical Practice within a supervision group: 300 hours (this does not include the required 200 hours of clinical practice in own organisation)
  • Clinical practice hours in own organisation/agency/workplace (health and/or social care setting): 200 hours
  • Direct teaching hours and Personal and Professional Development: 180 hours. Of this direct teaching time 25 hours will be dedicated to PPD
  • Independent study and research time: 1175 hours

How to Apply

We are currently unable to accept applications for this course.  We will update the website as soon as we are in a position to do this.

To discuss the training please contact our course lead Karen Wright: 

Contact Us

If you have any queries regarding this course not covered in the information detailed in any of the sections above or in the FAQ section of this website, please email:  In the Subject Line please ensure you put the full title of the course to enable us to forward it to the appropriate programme team.  We will not be able to forward or respond to any emails received without this.

We are happy to answer questions related to the course itself, but unfortunately are unable to provide any general career advice.