This unit examines contemporary theory and practice concerning the role and function of the Australian family and its interaction with wider society. Students will examine a range of systems approaches for working therapeutically with families. Theories and practical issues related to working with families will inform the development of skills in family counselling.

Teaching periods
Start and end dates
Last self-enrolment date
Census date
Last withdraw without fail date
Results released date
Semester 2
Start and end dates
Last self-enrolment date
Census date
Last withdraw without fail date
Results released date

Learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:

  • Demonstrate familiarity with a range of systemic theoretical positions, which they can apply to understand family functioning
  • Demonstrate an understanding of family life cycle changes and issues relevant to modern families
  • Conduct an assessment of a family using a systems-oriented interview with a family to identify problematic areas of functioning
  • Indicate a range of appropriate interventions to assist the family to remediate patterns of interaction
  • Write an assessment report identifying systems within the family that contribute to the difficulties experienced and which also identifies treatment interventions

Teaching methods


Type Hours per week Number of weeks Total (number of hours)
Face to Face Contact (Phasing out)
3.00 12 weeks 36
Specified Learning Activities (Phasing out)
2.00 12 weeks 24
Unspecified Learning Activities (Phasing out)
Individual Study
7.50 12 weeks 90


Type Task Weighting ULO's
Interview AssignmentIndividual 25% 
Report 1Group 25% 1,2,4,5 
Report 2Individual 50% 1,2,4,5 


  • Introduction to the study of the family, definitions of the family, variations in family structure 
  • Family formation and functions; the family life‐cycle and intergenerational trauma
  • The major theories of family therapy  
  • Therapeutic strategies and skills from the various systemic approaches to family therapy
  • Consideration of a systemic approach to treating families when issues related to gender, culture, sexuality, relational trauma and separation arise

Study resources

Reading materials

A list of reading materials and/or required textbooks will be available in the Unit Outline on Canvas.