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Family Counselling

Course CodeBPS213
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Study Family Counselling for Professional Development or to understand more about the difficulties families experience.

Family counselling can be required when families are experiencing difficulties.

Study the Family counselling course to 

  • Develop a better understanding of family dynamics, and a capacity to analyse and facilitate solutions to problems that emerge in modern families.
  • Understand more about the factors that lead to family disintegration and reintegration.
  • Study common problems and how to identify them.
  • Study support structures for families.
  • Supporting families through crises and much more

This course is suitable for -

  • parents
  • carers
  • counsellors
  • anyone interested in supporting families as part of their work or home life
  • teachers
  • educators
  • youth workers
  • care workers
  • social workers
  • community workers etc.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Nature and Scope of Families.
    • Different Types of Families.
    • Traditional Family Structures.
    • Family Systems.
    • Cultural Variations.
    • Family Lifecycles.
  2. Family Dynamics.
    • Crises - Changing Cultures (immigrant families).
    • Evolving Structures (Religion, new siblings, departing siblings, changing parents, incoming grandparents).
    • Breakdowns, Merging two families, Abuse, Violence, Death, Illness, Changing location (losing friends etc.).
    • Changing Income (loss of job etc).
    • Disintegration and Reintegration.
  3. History.
    • How Are Dynamics Different and Similar Today to in the Past.
    • How Did We Cope With Family Problems in the Past in Different Places, Cultures etc.
    • What Can We Learn From This? How Can We Draw Strength from Knowing All This is Not New?
  4. Identifying Problems.
    • Patterns, Critical Incidents.
    • Long Standing Incidents, Common Problems for Families; Ccommon Problems for Couples.
  5. Support Structures.
    • What Support Services Might be Accessed.
    • Extended Family, Community Services, Social Networks, Religion.
    • Types of Counselling - individual, Group Work etc. (incl. problems with Group work) etc.
  6. Approaches to Family Therapy I.
  7. Approaches to Family Therapy II.
  8. Conducting Initial Interviews/Sessions.
  9. Considering Solutions.
    • Determining Roles, Establishing Rules.
  10. Problem Based Learning Project.
    • Consider a situation establish and consider alternative strategies and select a strategy.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Describe family diversity in terms of a variety of factors including structure and function.
  • Explain the interactions and motivations at work in different families.
  • Describe how we have dealt with family problems in the past; then evaluate the results of these past strategies, and learn from those results.
  • Determine precisely what problems exist in a family; evaluate the relative significance of those different problems.
  • Identify and compare support options that may be available to a family with problems
  • Understand what is meant by a family systems approach to counselling and describe different theoretical perspectives.
  • Describe further theoretical approaches to family therapy and understand the usefulness of an integrated approach.
  • Plan the initial interview for a couple or for a family, in need of counselling.
  • Identify optional approaches for counselling a family or couple with problems.
  • Plan a program of counselling and if relevant, other strategies, to address a family or couple in crisis.

Different Strategies for Family Counselling

In the past, there have been many different strategies of dealing with family problems, some of these may have been with professional support, whilst others would have been dealt with within the family. For example, in the past, if a child had stolen something, they may have been smacked by a parent. In this course we will consider professional treatments that have been using in the past. Saying this, there are so many different treatments that have been used, varying over time and from country to country and culture to culture, that it would be impossible to consider all of them, so we will look at some.  
Group Dynamics
In the 1920s, social psychologists studied small group dynamics to try to understand political problems and group structures. Kurt Lewin carried out research and argued that a group is more than sum of its parts and suggested that group discussions were more effective then lecturing to encourage changes in behaviour and ideas. Interdependence between group members also develops, which he argued, seemed to stabilise any maladaptive patterns of behaviour.  He also argued that because of the independents twinning group members changes in group behaviour could only be brought about after disrupting the accepted habits and beliefs of the group. This research on group dynamics was relevant to family therapists who are able to work with individuals and entire family systems.
Family therapy was influenced by two important concepts of small group dynamics. These were - role theory and distinguishing between the content and process of group discussions. Therapists needed to understand what was being said (content) and how ideas were communicated (process). If they focused on the process of discussions, therapists were able to improve the way the family communicated and then therefore the way they dealt with their own problems.
Satir also looked to the concept of how individuals behave and communicate in groups by looking at family roles. For example if a child is troubled they may take on the role of rebel child, a sibling may take on the role of good child to alleviate some of the stress on the family.
This concept of role reciprocity is helpful to understanding family dynamics because of the complementary nature of roles makes behaviours more resistant to change. Other aspects of group dynamics also helped to develop family therapy such as acting out family conflicts in the group instead of discussing them, instructing group members to imagine that the group is their family, which then allows the person to resolve family in emotional issues and deal with them in objective setting.
Family Counselling is a useful course for anyone who is interested in helping and supporting families who are experiencing difficulties in their lives.  
  • Learn more about family difficulties and how you can support them with this course.
  • Study in your own home with support from our experienced and highly qualified tutors.
  • Enrol today to start finding out more about family counselling.


Choosing the right course and the right options is important.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with our specialist tutors using our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE.

They will be more than happy to help you make the right choice for you.

Meet some of our academics

Lyn QuirkM.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head for TAFE, she brings a wealth of skills and experience to her role as a tutor for ACS.
Tracey JonesWidely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience. Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).

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