Family Counselling

Family Counselling distance learning course. Understand problems faced by families and ways to resolve these. Professional training for support and social workers, counsellors, and others.

Course CodeBPS213
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

It's Easy to Enrol

Select a Learning Method

I am studying from...

Enable Javascript to automatically update prices.

All prices in Australian Dollars.

Click on Enrol Now to See Our Payment Plans Available. No Obligation.

Courses can be started at any time from anywhere in the world!

Family Counselling Training - study by Distance Learning

This distance learning course in Family Counselling can be started at any time to suit you - you can enrol today.

  • Develop a better understanding of family Dynamics, and a capacity to analyse and facilitate solutions to problems that emerge in modern families.

  • This course can be useful for anyone working with or interested in families. For example, social workers, teachers, counsellors, volunteers, family workers, support workers, carers, health and well-being workers, educational staff, parents and foster parents. In fact, anyone who would like to help families in distress.

The Focus of Family Counselling

Typically, the counsellor who is dealing with an individual will focus on the cognitive, emotional and behavioural problems of their client from the client’s perspective in order to understand, and perhaps diagnose, the problem. They will then work with the client so as to find ways to help the client to resolve those issues.

Given that the family systems counsellor is more interested in the client’s relationships and roles within the family, the focus of family therapy is to understand the client’s experiences and perspectives within this system and to try to change the way the client experiences the family system. The counsellor will still consider the client as an individual but will look to the interactions and relationships of the client within the family system, and perhaps community, to see how the client is influenced by, and indeed influences, the system. It is in this context that the counsellor will strive for interventions which lead to change.

It follows then that the family systems counsellor will address the client’s cognitive, emotional and behavioural problems but consider them in the way in which they affect the family system in terms of how they affect other family members. An individual’s functioning might be reflective of the whole family’s functioning. Whilst family therapists acknowledge that not all problems are indicative of problems within the broader family, the individual client’s problems will have an impact upon the family system because the family will have to accommodate those problems.

By bringing about change in a family system, it is considered that this will necessarily bring about change in the individual members of that system. One of the difficulties with the family systems approach is that families are often reluctant to change their perspectives for fear of the unknown. As such, bringing about change can be a long process. Strategies used may have to be more directional and educational. However, families which benefit from this approach may be better able to resolve problems which arise in the future.

As with individual therapy, there are many approaches to family therapy. Whilst some counsellors prefer a particular approach, it may be prudent to use techniques from a variety of approaches as and when the need arises. In some cases, you may find one particular approach is more useful.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Nature & Scope of Families
    • Different types of families
    • Traditional Family Structures
    • Family Systems
    • Cultural variations
    • Family Lifecycles
  2. Family Dynamics
    • Crises
    • Changing cultures (immigrant families)
    • Evolving Structures (Religion, new siblings, departing siblings, changing parents, incoming grandparents)
    • Breakdowns
    • Merging two families
    • Abuse
    • Violence
    • Death
    • Illness
    • Changing location (losing friends etc.)
    • Changing income (loss of job etc.)
    • Disintegration & Reintegration
  3. History
    • How are dynamics different & similar today to in the past.
    • How did we cope with family problems in the past in different places, cultures etc.
    • What can we learn from this? How can we draw strength from knowing all this is not new?
  4. Identifying Problems
    • Patterns
    • Critical incidents
    • Long standing incidents
    • Common problems for families
    • Common problems for couples
  5. Support Structures
    • What support services might be accessed
    • Extended family
    • Community services
    • Social networks
    • Religion
    • Types of counselling, -individual, Group Work etc (incl. problems with Group work) etc.
  6. Approaches to Family Therapy I
  7. Approaches to Family Therapy II
  8. Conducting Initial Interviews/Sessions
  9. Considering Solutions
    • Determining Roles
    • Establishing Rules
  10. Case Study
    • Consider a situation establish & consider alternative strategies & select a strategy.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Describe family diversity in terms of a variety of factors including structure and function.
  • Explain the interactions and motivations at work in different families.
  • Describe how we have dealt with family problems in the past; then evaluate the results of these past strategies, and learn from those results.
  • Determine precisely what problems exist in a family; and evaluate the relative significance of those different problems.
  • Identify and compare support options that may be available to a family with problems
  • Understand what is meant by a family systems approach to counselling and describe different theoretical perspectives.
  • Describe further theoretical approaches to family therapy and understand the usefulness of an integrated approach.
  • Plan the initial interview for a couple or for a family, in need of counselling.
  • Identify optional approaches for counselling a family or couple with problems.
  • Plan a program of counselling and if relevant, other strategies, to address a family or couple in crisis.

What is a family?

It is usually a group people who live together forming a social group. It usually consists of the parent(s)

and their children, living together. The members of the group are usually related by marriage, blood or adoption. However, in modern society, there are many different variations of family, to represent the different ways that families and society have changed. The family is still the basic unit within society.

Family Roles

In developed countries, roles within the traditional family have changed over recent years. For example, in the early 1900's, a man tended to be seen as the breadwinner, whilst the woman stayed at home to care for the children. This was not always obviously the case, but these are generalisations. Family roles have changed due to

  • Changes in child care, meaning that more options are available for the woman to work.

  • Legislation in many countries has given equal rights to women and men.

  • Children now have access to state education.

  • Maternity leave in some countries have meant that people can take time off work and still receive some income.

  • Perceptions of women and men working have changed and so on...

Family roles have changed, but it would be highly unlikely for a family to “fit” perfectly.

It may be that they are a mixture of both. It would be unusual for a family to fit ideally into one type or another. These are obviously just very wide generalisations.

Crises in Families

Within the life cycle of a family, many different crises can occur. The type of crises that occurs can depend on the family, where they are living, the time in which they are living, how religious they are, their class, education and so on and so on. In other words, there are many different factors that affect how a family cope with different situations and whether crises occur.

A crisis is a period of transition in the life of the individual, family or group, presenting individuals with a turning point in their lives, which may be seen as a challenge or a threat, a "make or break" new possibility or risk, a gain or a loss, or both simultaneously. Most crises are part of the normal range of life experiences that most people can expect, and most people will recover from crisis without professional intervention. However, there are crises outside the bounds of a person's everyday experience or coping resources which may require expert help to achieve recovery. A crisis can refer to any situation in which the individual perceives a sudden loss in their ability to problem solve and to cope. These may include natural disasters, sexual assault, criminal victimisation, mental illness, suicidal thoughts, homicide, and a drastic change in relationships and so on.

Sometimes counselling is an unfamiliar solution that is not readily embraced by a family; but if it is, it can help the family mend and adapt to a new dynamic both easier and faster.

What are the Benefits of this Course?

This course focuses on an area of counselling which is important for most counsellors to be familiar with. There are often times when all members of a family are affected by the behaviour of one member, or the family itself has become fragmented and non-functional. When this happens no amount of therapy for one family member will help heal the broader family bonds. Students of this course will become familiar with different approaches to family counselling and a range of techniques they can use in family situations.

This course is designed to appeal to people working in, or hoping to work in:

  • Family counselling

  • Psychology

  • Counselling

  • Psychotherapy

  • Social work

  • Psychiatric nursing

  • Caring roles

  • Health professions

  • Teaching

Enrol Today!

You can enrol on Family Counselling today, or if you have any questions or need help in choosing the right course for you, contact us by -

Phone (International) +61 7 5562 1088 or (in Australia) 07 5562 1088, or

Email us at, or connect with our specialist tutors - use our 


Need assistance?

Start Now!


Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head fo
Jacinda Cole

Psychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist. B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA Jacinda has over 25 years of experience in psychology, in both Australia and England. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psycholo
Tracey Jones

B.Sc. (Psych), M.Soc.Sc., Dip.Social Work, P.G.Dip Learning Disability, Cert Editing, Cert Creative Writing, PGCE. Member British Psychological Society, Member Assoc. for Coaching, Member British Learning Assoc. 25 years industry experience in writing,
Counselling Handbook
Discover: Where can counselling be used? How to see behind the mask. Emotions and attitudes. How to communicate better when all you have is words. Theory versus practice. Diffusing difficult situations. Golden rules or tips.
How Children Think
Anyone who has ever tried to make a child do anything (clean up their mess, desist from throwing mud, stop drawing on the walls) knows that children think differently to adults. This book attempts to provide the skills and knowledge to develop a greater u
How to be a Life Coach
Life coaching is a relatively new profession - although coaches have been around for a long time in the guise of trainers, instructors, managers and tutors for various professions and disciplines. Life coaching is not easily defined, but it is a type of m
Psychological Profiling
Psychological profiling is used to assess anyone from potential new staff and school children to serial killers. It helps you to determine someone’s personality, neuroses, mental health and career suitability. This book provides an excellent overview of p