TeacherDr. T. Gorbacheva
SemesterSpringDuration8 Weeks
FrequencyEvery three years
Credits5 ECTSWorkload125-150 Hours
Module formatIntensive
This Module is subject-specific, but the systems approach is applicable to marriage and family studies, psychological disorders, and cultural aspects.
Course structureSee module and courses
Contact time35-45 HoursSelf-Study105-125 Hours
Participation requirementSee access to the program
Phase 15020%
Readings & Preparation
Phase 24050%
Focused Presentations and Discussions
Phase 36030%
Research Paper
Content of the ModuleThis is an introduction to general systems theory. Special attention is given to the history of marriage and family therapy and the basic theories of and models of family interaction. Implications for interactional patterns, functional and dysfunctional systems, life cycle issues, and ethnicity are discussed.
This course is designed to assist the student in gaining an understanding of the basics of marriage and family systems approaches. It will consist of an introduction to basic concepts and ideas and an exploration of family of origin issues. Special attention will be given to the application of this material to educational settings and marital and family therapy.
Learning Objectives

A. General Learning Objectives (Course Goals):
This course seeks to:

  1. Develop the student’s understanding of family system approaches.
  2. Present family systems approach to conceptualizing problems.
  3. Assist students in the exploration of the effects of their own family on their personality development.
  4. Explore counseling techniques that are employed from various systems perspectives.
  5. Explore the strengths and limitations of systems theory in working with diverse populations.

B. Specific Behavioral Objectives (Learning Outcomes):
As a result of the activities and study in this course, the student should be able to: 

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of family system approaches.
  2. Discuss how various systems approaches conceptualize problems.
  3. Describe how his/her personality development has been affected by experiences within his/her family of origin.
  4. Explain the use and purpose of counseling techniques from various systems perspectives.
  5. Discuss the historical development of general systems theory.
  6. Outline the contributions of major personalities within the field (both historical and current).
  7. Discuss family and individual life cycle issues from a systems perspective.
  8. Demonstrate an awareness of his/her present involvement in various systems.
  9. Discuss psychopathology from a systems perspective.
  10. Discuss the strengths and limitations of systems theory in working with diverse populations.
OutlineA. Introduction to the Course
B. Introduction to Marriage and Family Systems
C. History of Systems Theory and MFT
D. Bowen and Systems
E. Structural and Systems
F. CBT and Systems
G. Experiential and Systems
H. Contextual and Systems
I. Strategic and Systems
J. MRI/Milan and Systems
K. Systems and Faith
ExaminationSee Evaluation
Core LiteratureBergman, J. (1985). Fishing for barracuda: Pragmatics of brief systemic therapy. New York: Norton.
Bowen, M. (1978). Family therapy in clinical practice. New York: Jason Aronson.
George, R..L., and Cristiani, T. S. (1995). Counseling: Theory and Practice (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Madanes, C. (1990). Sex, love, and violence: strategies for transformation. New York: Norton.
McMahan, O. (1995). Scriptural Counseling: A God-Centered Method. Cleveland, TN: Pathway.
Meier, P.D, F.B. Minirth, F.B. Wichern and D.E. Ratcliff. (1991). Introduction to Psychology
Patterson, C. H., & Watkins, C.E. (1996). Theories of Psychotherapy. (5th ed.). New York: Harper Collins.
Trent, J. (1994). Lifemapping. Colorado Springs: Focus on the Family.
Other information