Systemic Family Practice- An Introduction


What is systemic family practice?


Systemic Family Practice is similar to family therapy in its approach to supporting children, young people and their families overcome problems within the family system. A systemic family practitioner would provide this service to families and the title ‘systemic practitioner’ refers to a professional who has completed training in Family Therapy to intermediate level. Systemic Family Practice involves a shift to understanding problems within the family system from a relational perspective and promotes a non-blaming approach from family members.


A systemic family practitioner can facilitate discussions amongst family members with an aim to improve understanding of each other and find solutions to problems. Families can set goals together and collaborate with the practitioner to establish the best ways of working together and supporting each other. 
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What can it help with?

Systemic family practice can support families with a range of difficulties, some of these could include: 

  • Relationship difficulties 
  • Behaviour difficulties 
  • Self-harm
  • Depression 
  • Parenting issues
  • Separation, divorce and blended families
  • Eating disorders


What can I expect from sessions?


Sessions will usually take place with the practitioner and multiple members of the family system who want to attend, some sessions with individual family members can be arranged if required. Not all family members have to come long to sessions, although this is normally the most productive use of sessions, the practitioner can work with only the family members who want to attend.


Sessions last around 50 minutes to 1 hour and will begin with a catch up about the week since the last session. Sessions can involve talking about and listening to each member’s experiences, hopes and beliefs and exploring current challenges within family life. They can also include interactive activities such as drawing a genogram (family tree) or creative interventions. There is usually a focus on what the family do well, strengths and achievements. The session ends with feedback from the family regarding their thoughts about activities and discussions explored, the relationship with the practitioner and their overall views on the suitability of the session. This supports the practitioner in producing therapeutic sessions that are the best fit for the family. 


More information on Systemic Family Practice

To find out more about Systemic Family Practice and Family Therapy visit the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice (AFT) website: 




Contact our office on 01642 505580