Masters Level Clinical Training in Systemic Psychotherapy

About the Programme

Thank you for your interest in applying to the Northwest MSc in Family & Systemic Psychotherapy course run by The Greater Manchester Mental Health (GMMH) NHS Foundation Trust Psychological Therapies Training Centre (PTTC). This is a two-year part time qualifying level (MSc) in Systemic Family Psychotherapy training based in Manchester.

The PTTC has been running postgraduate training since 2000, has been at the forefront of the CYP Psychological Trainings initiative since its inception in 2011, and is nationally recognised as a centre of excellence. We are now in our eleventh year of providing high quality training and supervision to the CYP workforce across the North of England.   The PTTC is already a successful, established provider of systemic training, being the first institute to be accredited with AFT for our CYP Systemic Family Practice training which we have been running since 2015. We also run a successful AFT accredited Systemic Supervisor Training and a CYP Psychological Trainings Systemic Supervisor training. The course is being delivered by an experienced team of systemic trainers and supervisors.

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 AFT accredited systemic clinical supervisor, for 5 hours a week over the two years. This course will also include a new element of mandatory Systemic Personal Learning Therapy for students to support their development.

This course is validated academically with The University of Manchester Division of Psychology and Mental Health, within the School of Health Sciences. Professional accreditation is being sought with the Association for Systemic Therapy and Family Practice, but this can only be sought once the first cohort has been completed (summer 2022), as is standard practice for courses.


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 CYP Psychological Training 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.and receive systemic supervision of their practice by ideally an Approved Systemic Supervisor or a registered Systemic Family Psychotherapist.

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

Training Component

Students are required to attend teaching days 2 – 3 days a month during term time on a Wednesday or Thursday (some weeks will have two-day blocks). Students are required to complete 200 hours of systemic practice in their own agency over the course of the two years under the supervision of a qualified and registered Systemic Family Psychotherapist who ideally is also a registered Systemic Supervisor.

The teaching will take place in Manchester and will be mainly in person with some online teaching (subject to Covid restrictions). 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 Development (PPD) learning groups will be facilitated several 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 PPD component of the training.

During term time in both year one and 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. During the first cohort these live family therapy team placements were within NHS CAMHS services (specialist and generic) across the Northwest (including Greater Manchester, Warrington and Knowsley) and we also had a satellite placement in Nottingham. We are anticipating having similar placements next cohort including some new placements within the North West.

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


Programme Fees and available funding

For information the fees for the 2023-25 cohort was £7250 per academic year (£14,500 for the 2-year course), please be aware these fees may change for the next cohort in 2025-27 and will be updated on this website towards the end of 2024.

Potential limited national funding

A limited amount of funding for this training nationally is available from Health Education England (HEE) for course fees. This funding is obtained via employers (mainly NHS Trusts) and is likely to be dependent on employers identifying gaps in provision for family therapy and employers guaranteeing that they will offer a permanent family therapy post for applicants on successful completion of the course. Agencies who did receive HEE funding received this via their Regional NHS Chief Psychological Professions Officer. Further information may be available via the HEE website:

Other funding/self-funding

Previous students were funded by their employers either full or part funding and some students also self-funded (payment plans are available over the duration of the course).



How to Apply

The course is currently closed for applications as the 2023-25 course is now in progress. We will be opening applications for the 2025-2027 cohort at the end of 2024.

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 our course lead Karen Wright: 

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