Advanced Family Systems

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.

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


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School of Arts, Letters, and Sciences
Jackson M., Class of 2021, Military Veteran