Systemic psychotherapy (M6)
Join the UK’s longest-running systemic family therapy qualifying course
Taught in a highly regarded NHS setting by experienced clinicians, this course was the first of its kind in the UK.
Successful completion provides you with a professional qualification accredited by the Association of Family Therapy (AFT) and enables you to register with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). If you are applying for a Health Education England funded place, please see the fees and funding section below.
Please note: you may see the M6 course also referred to as SYMATP002 in communications from our application system.
About this course
This course is a rigorous and intensive programme. It will extend your understanding of theoretical concepts in systemic psychotherapy and fully develop your clinical skills as a systemic family therapist. You will learn through clinical supervision, clinical work, personal and professional development, research, teaching and consultancy, lectures and seminars.
You will provide family therapy to clients/service users while supervised live by a trained systemic supervisor in clinical supervision groups. You will meet in the group for up to five hours per week throughout the course. You will work with families across the life cycle stages, either in a child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) or an adult setting, taking a range of referrals and presenting problems.
Consulting relationships between peers are encouraged as part of the clinical supervision process (and in other contexts). The consultation role that you take within your consulting partnerships will develop your capacity for leadership. This part of the course we arrange for you.
You will also need to set up your own clinical work and systemic supervision in your external agency or placement and keep a log of your hours and learning. This is required by the Association of Family Therapy (AFT) to enable you to practise new skills and theoretical learnings.
We will only be able to accept you on the course if you have set up your own clinical work and you will need a systemic supervisor for this work. The supervision does not need to be live but can be retrospective as long as it is conducted at least once a month.
Personal and professional development
As a therapist you will be required to reflect upon your own personal life experiences and share these with other students in order to understand the connections between you and the clients you work with. Much of this activity will take place in groups.
This is an important reflective space where you will be encouraged to think about your contribution to group dynamics and the wider organisational system being created in this learning environment. Attending a group relations conference is a requirement of the course.
As part of your application, you are required to write a personal statement which should include reference to your family of origin and incidents in your personal life that you feel are connected to why you would like to be considered for the master’s training.
The research aspect of this course is designed to help you develop a research ‘frame of mind’ by introducing you to quantitative and qualitative research paradigms and a number of research methods. You will either complete a research portfolio or a research dissertation.
Teaching and consultancy
You will be offered the opportunity to embed your systemic knowledge by teaching and offering consultation to groups of professionals externally. One of your assignments will be setting up a short piece of teaching usually in your work context.
Lectures and seminars
More information will be added shortly regrading the frequency and time commitment for these sessions (five hours per week for supervision groups, for example).
Who is this course for?
This course is for professionals who have completed the foundation and intermediate levels of systemic training and are currently working in the field of mental health, social work/care or education.
In order to undertake this course, you need to:
- hold a professional qualification in social work, teaching, psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy, nursing or an affiliated discipline, or equivalent
- hold an undergraduate degree or are able to demonstrate that you are able to meet the demands of a master’s level course
- have completed an AFT-accredited intermediate level systemic/family therapy training course. Please note that this is a mandatory requirement – we can only accept applications from those who have completed or are in the process of completing an intermediate level training such as our Systemic approaches to working with individuals, families and organisations (D4I) course
- be currently working in the field of mental health, social work/care or education, where you have regular contact with families and are able to practice systemic psychotherapy for a minimum of 100 hours annually while attending the course
In addition, as part of your application, you are required to submit a short essay of 1,500 words, discussing one of the following subjects:
You may venture as widely as you wish or stay close to the subject of therapy in your deliberations but aim to include personal reflections and any systemic ideas that you connect to the theme. Your grasp of theoretical ideas and the ability to be self-reflexive will be considered.
Please note that applicants are required to use Harvard referencing.
In addition to the essay, applicants are required to write a personal statement including personal information about your family of origin and how this connects to your development so far. Please write about your relationships from your early life as well as present day, and any significant episodes that you feel connect to your learning about yourself. Please let us know about your aspirations for your future career.
This section does not need referencing and should be a maximum of 500 words.
If you do not have an undergraduate degree or have completed your intermediate level training more than four years ago, please see below as you will have to complete a longer essay in place of this. You will only need to complete one essay as part of your application. If you are unsure what you need to complete then please contact us for confirmation.
Applicants without an undergraduate degree and/or who have completed their intermediate training more than four years ago can demonstrate equivalency by:
- completing a 3,500 word essay discussing and critiquing a systemic theoretical idea of your choice. Your ideas must be up-to-date theoretically and you should demonstrate self-reflexivity. Please note that applicants are required to use Harvard referencing
- providing us with details of any relevant CPD courses you have undertaken, if you have completed your intermediate training more than four years ago
Applicants who do not have a professional qualification
If you do not have a previous professional qualification, you may still be eligible to apply for the master’s programme. However, you will need to complete a portfolio detailing a body of clinical work and training that demonstrates equivalence to a first profession.
You are required to upload your portfolio at the time of application. Please provide this in CV style, and specify where you have worked, your responsibilities and the duration of each post. In addition, please tell us about any further training or CPD that you have completed.
Please provide as much information as you can; the more detailed the portfolio, the easier it is for the tutors to assess an applicant’s suitability for the course.
Examples of suitable professions are:
- social worker
- counsellor (accredited to a professional body)
- teacher/pastoral worker with substantial experience working with families
- music/drama therapist
If you are unsure about your clinical experience then please contact us to arrange a conversation with a member of our course team.
Application timings: please note these may be subject to change
- 1 December 2022 : Course applications open
- 6 February 2023: Applications to be considered for the first round of interviews must be submitted by today
- 8 – 10 March 2023: Interviews will be conducted and places offered
- 30 March 2023: Induction day for successful applicants who have secured Higher Education England (HEE) funding
May 2023: If the course has not filled from the first round of interviews, and we have a number of new applications, we can do another round of interviews in May. Please note that this is not guaranteed.
£ £7,700 per year
£ 15,400 per year
For more information about financing your studies and your fee status, please see our fees and funding area.
Please note that course fees are subject to an annual uplift of 3% or the Consumer Price Inflation as at 1 September, whichever is the greater. At its discretion, the Trust may determine a figure between these two rates.
We are happy to offer a range of ways to pay your fees, as well as some funding for specific courses.
Funded places for 2023
Health Education England (HEE) has not yet confirmed funding for 2023. Please register your details below to be kept up to date with developments.
Postgraduate loans available
This master’s course qualifies for a government postgraduate loan.
There are various ways that students will be assessed throughout the two years of training.
Students’ skills will be assessed by their clinical supervisor on the competencies set by the course and AFT. Students need to pass their first year to go on to the second year.
There will be several written assignments during the first year and a dissertation in the second year (students are able to resubmit if necessary, under the guidelines of the University of Essex). Students will also have a viva.
- Sessions will take place on Thursdays and Fridays on the dates shown in the table below
- Timings for Thursdays are 9am to 5.30pm
- Timings for Fridays are 9am to 4.30pm, except for the final sessions of each term which will finish at 5.30pm
|Autumn 2022||Induction days||22 and 23 September 2022|
|Autumn 2022||1||6 and 7 October 2022|
|Autumn 2022||2||3 and 4 November 2022|
|Autumn 2022||3||1 and 2 December 2022|
|Winter 2023||4||5 and 6 January 2023|
|Winter 2023||5||2 and 3 February 2023|
|Winter 2023||6||2 and 3 March 2023|
|Spring 2023||7||20 and 21 April 2023|
|Spring 2023||8||11 and 12 May 2023|
|Spring 2023||9 (Endings)||15 and 16 June 2023|
Upon successful completion of this course, our graduates will hold the professional qualification of systemic psychotherapist that can be used to practice within the NHS, private practice or a combination of both.
With our master’s at the Tavistock being the first qualifying course in the UK our reputation for providing high-quality training is well-known and reflected in the huge number of applications received every year and the swiftness with which our graduates are offered employment very soon after qualifying.
We have an amazing community of systemic psychotherapists, who, depending on their interests, go on to work in a range of contexts with individuals, couples, families, organisations, both nationally and internationally and in voluntary, statutory and private settings.
Apart from clinical practice, our graduates also make substantial contributions to the systemic field as researchers, supervisors, trainers, academic writers and in the virtual space offering podcasts, blogs and videos.
Why study with us?
This course has been running since 1975 and was the first in the UK. It will provide you with a professional qualification that enables you to register with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). It is highly regarded and will fully develop your clinical skills to provide family therapy as well as consultation, and teaching to the wider system.
Systemic Psychotherapist and Course Lead
Validations and accreditations
This course is validated by the University of Essex.
Register your interest
Applications are now closed. Register your interest and be the first to hear when this course reopens.
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