Module code: NURM123

Module Overview

The is the first of two modules which form a Foundation Course in Family Interventions for Adults. Successful completion of both modules as specified for that course (Introduction to Family Interventions & Applying Family Interventions to Practice for Psychosis, Dementia and other Health Challenges) achieves accreditation for the student by the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice at Foundation Level). It is jointly owned and delivered by the university and Sussex Partnership Foundation NHS Trust.

The module will introduce systemic family therapy and family work/management approaches to understanding the difficulties that families face where one or more members experiences psychosis or dementia, and the interventions that derive from those perspectives. It will enable the students to reflect upon and analyse their understanding of family, in client care and other life experiences, and to use this to develop and evaluate their helping approaches to families at the generic practice level.

Module provider

School of Health Sciences

Module Leader

BIRTWELL Robert (Health Sci.)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 120

Lecture Hours: 10

Seminar Hours: 20

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Applicants will need to be employed in a NHS secondary care setting to work with people who experience psychosis or bipolar disorder and have at least two years’ experience in such work. They must have the support have the support of their employer and professional lead to complete the module

Module content

Indicative content includes:


Understanding mental health in a social constructionist framework, including medical, trauma-based, and resilience models.

Role of diagnosis and psycho-education

Family life cycles

Family stories


Cultural genograms


Power, difference, BAME awareness and cultural competence;

Using interpreters

Family Intervention approaches: systemic, behavioural; cognitive-behavioural; multi-family group practice. Development and integration between approaches. NICE guidance

Self-reflexivity and reflecting processes

Neutrality and curiosity


Working from strengths

Family inclusive and carer supportive practice/groups, non-engagement.

Confidentiality, capacity and consent

Preparing the work

Circularity and circular questions. Questions as interventions. Interaction cycles. Hypothesising with the family

Eliciting feedback from families, incl outcome measures

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ASSESSMENT 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to

  • Allow students and teachers together to assess the student’s academic and learning needs for this and later modules in the Family Interventions for Adults course (principally to be met formatively).

  • Assess knowledge, reflexivity and ability to understand familiar experiences of family through systemic frameworks as a preparation for changed practice.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of one component: a reflective essay of 3,000 words.


Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive formative feedback via:

  • a 1000 word essay reflecting on current personal and professional experience of family, to be timed so that feedback is received at east 1 month before the summative submission date.

Module aims

  • This module aims to: Prepare students for later practice modules in the use of family interventions. Introduce family interventions models and skills. Enable use of those models to reflect on current practice with families

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Use a range of systemic and family interventions theories, and associated therapeutic approaches, in the context of psychoses, and use to analyse current and past practice with family KCP
002 Demonstrate through critical analysis of current practice an awareness of the influence of the wider social context (including gender, race, age, ability, culture, education, sexuality) on self and clients, with an ability to consider how inequalities and power differentials impact on people¿s lives KCPT
003 Analyse the skills and practical usefulness of interviewing approaches using a range of questioning techniques. KCP
004 Demonstrate through reflection on self and module learning, an understanding of family relationships, including intergenerational and life cycle considerations, and awareness of ways in which their own experience influences their understanding and practice KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:


Enable students to develop a systemic philosophical and therapeutic stance, self reflexivity, knowledge of family interventions theory and a preparedness to use approaches informed by these to engage with families.


The learning and teaching methods include:

  • lectures

  • reading

  • class discussion

  • small group work for reflection and discussion

  • role play

reflective log

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: NURM123

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.