No offerings have been identified for this subject in 2018

HCS543 Systemic Therapy Special Issues (8)


This subject introduces theoretical understandings of key issues in couple and family relationships therapy and develops student understandings of the implications for working from a systemic perspective. Issues introduced include but are not limited to, conflict, intimacy, domestic violence, same sex relationships, sexual difficulties, separation and divorce, parent-child difficulties, children and adolescents at-risk and single and step-parent families.

+ Subject Availability Modes and Location

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details prior to contacting their course coordinator: HCS543
Where differences exist between the handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject information

Duration Grading System School:
One sessionHD/FLSchool of Humanities and Social Sciences

Assumed Knowledge


Enrolment restrictions

Students enrolled in Master of Human Services Practice (Couple and Family Therapy)or Master of Social Work (Advanced Practice)(Couple and Family Therapy)
Related subject(s)
HCS541 This subject extends the students' understanding of concepts introduced in HCS541

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
- be able to demonstrate an understanding of, and articulate the theory underpinning a range of special issues that can affect couple and family relationships from a systemic perspective.
- be able to conceptualise special issues from other perspectives in addition to the systemic frame.
- be able to articulate the impact these issues may have on couple and family relationships.
- be able to identify appropriate intervention options and strategies for specific problems presented in this subject.
- be able to access appropriate services for the issues presented in the subject.
- be able to outline principles for deciding when to see individuals and other units in the family when dealing with the issues identified in the subject.
- be able to demonstrate ways of working with other professionals and organisations involved in cases being seen.


The subject will cover the following topics:
1. Introduction: Overview of the special factors that define the topics selected for inclusion in this subject. 2. Issues in love and intimacy that present difficulties for couples and how to deal with them. 3. Ways of understanding and working with domestic violence. 4. Working with same-sex couples. 5. Working with sexual difficulties. 6. Dealing with ambivalence in couple relationships. 7. Dealing with issues of separation and divorce. 8. Issues of parenting. 9. Blended families. 10. Dealing with child sexual assault. 11. Working with family secrets. 12. Working with larger systems.

Residential School

This subject contains a compulsory 2 day residential school. The aim of the residential school is to assist students to integrate the theory and understanding of the special issues covered in this subject, with opportunities to apply this knowledge to case study and client material. Further, the residential school will provide students with an opportunity to discuss and critique the subject material presented and the issues that arise in application to practice. Activities will include: role plays; group discussion; lecture presentations; video and electronic case presentations; live client work (where possible); case application exercises and provision of feedback.


The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: 16 February 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.