Families and beyond: an introduction to systemic thinking (eCPD94)

Find out about systemic ideas and their influence on the contexts in which we all live and work

We all live our lives in and through our relationships, both past and present, and we are all shaped by the social and cultural contexts in which we are embedded.

Systemic ideas, which form the basis for family therapy, have become hugely influential in recent decades and their application has developed beyond the family and beyond therapy to provide invaluable ways of exploring the contexts in which we all live and work.

Aims and learning objectives

You’ll gain the following from this course:

  • a shift in thinking – moving from a focus on individuals to an ability to think about families, organisations and networks
  • tips for translating new ways of thinking into action
  • an understanding of the influences from previous generations on our current families and other close relationships
  • a fresh perspective on ‘stuck’ patterns or difficulties in the workplace, including the effects of organisational change
  • an opportunity to think and talk about identities and positions within a diverse and multicultural society
  • input on the complexities of contemporary political conflicts and their representations in the media
  • creative ideas to aid your understanding of the arts

Who is this course for?

This course is an awareness course and is open to those from all walks of life and ages. It is for parents, carers, students, teachers, managers, professionals and all those who would like to find out more about systemic thinking and practice, whether for career purposes, as a precursor or taster for further study, or out of general interest.

Course details

The next cohort will start on 9th September 2024

This is an online self-study course delivered through our virtual learning environment, Moodle. It utilises video clips of clinician-trainers talking through concepts and examples, interviews/discussions available as audio podcasts, interactive tasks and full text online reading.

A discussion forum is provided, and you are encouraged to share your thoughts and ideas as you progress through the course.

A self-study course is arranged to provide flexibility of time management as you are not required to connect to the optional live online meetings. It is an excellent way to get acquainted with a subject.

This course incorporates the following elements:

  • directed online study – you are given access to study resources such as video lectures, interviews, podcasts and discussion forum activities
  • a reading pack – you are also given access to full online texts such as eBooks, case studies, conference papers and journal articles

A new unit is released weekly and will require a minimum of two hours study (one hour per video lecture, one hour for additional reading, discussion forum activity), although many delegates will choose to go into considerably more depth taking up to four hours per week.

Once open, units remain available for the duration of the course and three months afterwards to allow you to flexibly schedule your time.

There will also be three optional live online seminars – at the start, midpoint and end of the course – where the course tutor will discuss further concepts and course content and where you will be able to feedback your experiences of studying this course.

Optional live meetings

These are held in approximately the second, sixth and tenth weeks of the course.

The dates and times (UK times) for the next cohort are:

SeminarDateStart timeEnd time
Start-of-courseSaturday 21 September 202412:0013:30
Mid-courseSaturday 19 October 202412:0013:30
End-of-courseSaturday 16 November 202412:0013:30

Please note that the live meetings are optional; the course can be fully completed without attending. They are intended to be interactive, so are not recorded; they are offered to provide you the opportunity to clarify concepts and share your learning.

The live seminars will be delivered remotely using Zoom.

You will need a device with a microphone and camera together with a suitably fast internet connection. Although mobile devices and tablets can be used, we recommend the use of a laptop or desktop PC for the best experience. Some devices provided by employers may have restrictions in place. Please use this Zoom test link to check your set up before booking.

You will be sent the necessary login link about a week before the course start date. Should you have any concerns about the accessibility of remote delivery please contact us to discuss how we can best help you.

The course is arranged as ten units. Each unit covers a particular theme and is delivered through a combination of video lectures, reading activities and reflective tasks.

Unit themes include:

  • what is systemic thinking?
  • contemporary system ideas
  • systemic ideas in action
  • the social GRRAACCEES
  • diversity and family forms
  • organisations and the workplace
  • surviving change
  • literature and the visual arts

Library membership

Included in your course fee, you will receive online membership to the Tavistock’s internationally-renowned library for the duration of your course.

Our friendly and knowledgeable library team will help to support you through your specialist CPD course, whatever your level of professional or academic experience. You will have access to an extensive range of eBooks, online journals, all the relevant key databases and our specialist audio-visual collection, plus reference access to all our print books.

Our information skills trainer has made lots of material available on Moodle to help you navigate our comprehensive electronic collections. PCs and photocopiers are available for your use (charges apply for printing and copying), as well as various online resources including audio/video playlists.


“The team have been brilliant, it is a very empowering course that I would recommend for many others to undertake. The knowledge the professionals have amazed me all way through to the end of the course. I will enrol myself for another one.”

Book your place today

You can book a place at any time. You’ll receive confirmation by email, and we will be in touch approximately one week before the course starts with detailed joining instructions.

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