Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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4 points, SCA Band 3, 0.0833333 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitSchool of Psychological Sciences
OfferedNot offered in 2015
Coordinator(s)Dr Colin Reiss


This unit covers family based approaches in mental health management and treatment. Understanding theory; development of practice skills and exploring practical applications of systems; and narrative based work with families are emphasized. Seminars cover development and application of family work in mental health systems, the central and fundamental issue of engagement of families in management and therapy, conceptual framework of the various family therapy approaches, post structural approaches, narrative therapy and solution focus.


On completion of this unit, students will be able:

  1. To recognise the complex role that the family and other carers play in the life of individuals with a mental illness develop and apply family sensitive practice principles in the context of mental health services and management.
  2. To describe the history of 'family-based' approaches in psychiatric management and psychotherapy, the principles of general systems theory, the major structural practice models and theories in family therapy, 'post structural' theory and the derivation of narrative and solution focus practice models in family therapy, the legislation concerning confidentiality and its impact on family and carer involvement and outcome research regarding family involvement in mental health treatment approaches and family therapy.
  3. To recognise the influence of therapist's personal, ethnic, gender, professional and work contexts in the shaping of any therapeutic encounter with individuals and families including their own personal values and belief systems as they arose from their own families of origin.
  4. To describe and apply the principles of conducting conjoint family sessions in regard to joining engagement, assessment, interventions and recognise the factors which affect engagement and treatment outcome.
  5. To demonstrate the ability to work to assimilate and integrate the various modalities of family based work covered in this series with the rest of their psychiatric training and knowledge and be able to use the skills necessary using approaches based on systematic and post structural principals in family therapy to implement family based interventions as a part of total patient management and treatment.


Critical literature review (1,500 words) (60%)
Linked oral presentation (40%)

Hurdle requirement: 75% attendance.

Workload requirements

Seminars and practice clinical sessions.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)