General Course Information for PSY617B: Advanced Family Systems

Course: PSY617B - Advanced Family Systems
Textbook: For the correct edition of the textbook assigned to a specific class, go to:

Course Prerequisite(s):
Course Description: Part two of a two-part sequence. Examines the various structures and roles of families, and explores what kinds of supports families need to optimize their successful functioning. Students increase efficacy in utilizing genograms as a clinical assessment and intervention tool in helping to strengthen families. Students examine cultural context in which relationship problems are understood and from which solutions emerge. Emphasis will be on creating, selecting, and applying appropriate intervention tools from across the micro-macro spectrum, including those developed in other parts of the world.
Course Learning Outcomes:
  • Demonstrate understanding of the application of functionalist theory to families in light of contemporary knowledge about families.
  • Assess the roles and common needs of all families, regardless of composition
  • Demonstrate understanding of the Eight Principles of Bowen Theory as the foundation for Family Systems therapy and the development of genograms
  • Articulate how social rules, social roles, power and privilege, or lack of privilege, provide the social context in which both practitioners and clients live
  • Articulate how the family therapist's own social location affects the development and maintenance of the therapeutic relationship in working with families and problematic relational patterns
  • Articulates the changing nature of families, and demonstrate ability to analyze family interactions systematically.
  • Correlates research findings relevant to maximizing family functioning and interprets American family policy in context with current and historical political environments.
  • Appraises model interventions, programs and policies that maximize family functioning
  • Articulates implications of family systems theories as applied to assessing and working with vulnerable populations
  • Compiles genograms as a collaborative assessment and intervention tool in clinical work with families

Students with Disabilities:
Students seeking special accommodations due to a disability must submit an application with supporting documentation, as explained under this subject heading in the General Catalog. Instructors are required to provide such accommodations if they receive written notification from the University.

Writing Across the Curriculum:
Students are expected to demonstrate writing skills in describing, analyzing and evaluating ideas and experiences. Written reports and research papers must follow specific standards regarding citations of an author's work within the text and references at the end of the paper. Students are encouraged to use the services of the University's Writing Center when preparing materials.

The following website provides information on APA, MLA, and other writing and citation styles that may be required for term papers and the like:

National University Library:
National University Library supports academic rigor and student academic success by providing access to scholarly books and journals both electronically and in hard copy. Print materials may be accessed at the Library in San Diego or through document delivery for online and regional students. Librarians are available to provide training, reference assistance, and mentoring at the San Diego Library and virtually for online or regional students. Please take advantage of Library resources:


Contact the Library:

  • (858) 541-7900 (direct line)
  • 1-866-NU ACCESS x7900 (toll free)

Use the Library Training Tools (on the Library Homepage) for additional help

  • Recorded class presentations
  • Tutorials & Guides (APA/MLA, Peer-Review, and more)

Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else's ideas or work as one's own. Students must give credit for any information that is not either the result of original research or common knowledge. If a student borrows ideas or information from another author, he/she must acknowledge the author in the body of the text and on the reference page. Students found plagiarizing are subject to the penalties outlined in the Policies and Procedures section of the University Catalog, which may include a failing grade for the work in question or for the entire course. The following is one of many websites that provide helpful information concerning plagiarism for both students and faculty:

Ethical behavior in the classroom is required of every student. The course will identify ethical policies and practices relevant to course topics.

Students are expected to be competent in using current technology appropriate for this discipline. Such technology may include word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software. Use of the internet and e-mail may also be required.

Learning to work with and value diversity is essential in every class. Students are expected to exhibit an appreciation for multinational and gender diversity in the classroom.

As a diverse community of learners, students must strive to work together in a setting of civility, tolerance, and respect for each other and for the instructor. Rules of classroom behavior (which apply to online as well as onsite courses) include but are not limited to the following:

  • Conflicting opinions among members of a class are to be respected and responded to in a professional manner.
  • Side conversations or other distracting behaviors are not to be engaged in during lectures, class discussions or presentations
  • There are to be no offensive comments, language, or gestures