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FTHY608 Live Supervision and Reflecting Team Practice 1

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Psychotherapy research is increasingly demonstrating that family and systemic therapy (FST) delivered thoughtfully and precisely is a highly effective and enduring means of generating change. To deliver FST and effectively utilise the complex array of models, processes and practice you will need to undertake live-supervised practice and deliberate extended reflection and evaluation of your practice. This unit builds on FTHY605 Live Supervision and Reflective-Team Practice 1 and aims provides you with higher level live supervised practice while continuing to use the reflecting team process in order to further develop your practical knowledge, core FST competencies and your clinical decision-making with more complex clinical presentations. You will re-establish your reflecting teams and learn to distinguish between complex and straightforward presentations, develop more detailed assessments of family functioning, and systemically conceptualise and generate treatment-relevant formulations. You will learn to establish a balanced alliance with highly-conflicted relational systems, develop an agreed plan of treatment and conduct a sequence of session with an imbedded feedback and review process. You will learn to focus on ethics throughout your FST practices; managing secrets, privacy and confidentiality, and you will become fluent in using formal and informal treatment feedback and outcome measures. You and your team will generate and review your learning plans, and meet to review the recording of sessions, reflect on your decision-making, evaluate the process and quality of outcomes, and discuss your emerging FST competencies.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe and reflect on the precision of the delivery of FST reflecting team session, evaluation of the quality of the balanced alliance, the monitoring micro-change in systemic dynamics in the room and between sessions. (GA4, GA5, GA8) 

LO2 - Describe and reflect on the quality of their comments to the family while they are in the reflecting-team. (GA1, GA5, GA8) 

LO3 - Describe their current FST competencies and identify their specific challenges and the competencies they wish to learn. (GA4, GA5, GA7)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


Topics will include:

  • Supervision in real-time or with participants' own recorded session, and a reflecting team process.
  • Advanced Reflection & self-reflection and Open Dialogue
  • Focused generative feedback to clients and colleagues,
  • Application of feedback & outcome measures
  • Monitoring micro and macro changes  
  • Effectiveness in clinical work with complex client systems

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

In this unit, a supervisor-guided reflecting-team of no more than 6 members is re-established. The reflecting team is a well-established and effective clinical supervisory format that is designed to be of benefit to both clients and therapists. Because of the reflective process and discussion of both the clients’ experience and the therapist’s practices, new understanding emerges and provides you with higher level live supervised practice. This unit builds on FTY605 Live Supervision and Reflective-Team Practice 1, and is delivered concurrently with FTHY606 Research informed frameworks of Family & Systemic Therapy, which provides you the research informed systemic constructs and descriptive language to generate systemic conceptualisation and useful formulations. This unit involves 35 hours of reflecting-team supervised practice, delivered in an intensive mode of 2-3 day workshops. You and your reflecting team are supported and guide in identifying your process of acquiring and integrating FST competencies and in using research-informed conceptual frameworks. The reflecting team process includes detailed feedback to you when you are the therapist, and feedback to your reflecting team. You and your team will review in detail the recorded session, identify generative moments and the challenges you and your team faced with that particular client system. After each client session when you are the therapist, you will write a reflective review of your session identifying the competencies you are developing and the challenges you face.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The three assessment procedures used in this unit are consistent with University assessment requirements, meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes. The first assessment is a hurdle task, and the other two assessments are ungraded tasks with feedback.

Task 1, Journal Keeping: Personal-Professional Journal, Hurdle

The Journal is an essential and comprehensive record of your thoughts and experiences which you will use in Tasks 2 & 3.  You need to make this journal an emotionally honest and safe personal recording of your reflections, self-reflections, ideas, feelings, emotional responses which emerge in the course of the interaction in the reflecting-team or while viewing a video recording of a family session. This journal builds your capacity for generative and precise reflection and self-reflection as an acquired tertiary skill. By writing and discussing with your lecturers, supervisors and reflecting-team your observations and emotional responses, you develop your capacity to manage your emotional reactions and improve flexibility, manage anxiety and improve your emotional self-regulation, and thus develop your clinical decision-making. The journal keeping task contributes to improving your cognitive-relational functioning, developing your capacity to manage your attentional and memory process, so that you can notice and recall sequences of interaction and place your attention on important relational episodes. This task also builds your confidence in your unique personal knowledge, and your capacity to share your expertise and skills in collaborative engagement in systemic process. This task has been found to facilitate development of the complex constellation of cognitive–affective competencies which underpin development of automaticity of therapeutic responses, and sound clinical decision-making in the heat of the moment.

Task 2. Folio of clinical reviews and evaluation of recorded reflecting team session, Ungraded with Feedback

The task of preparing a folio of clinical reviews and evaluations of each live reflecting team sessions where you are the therapist specifically focuses you on observing, noticing and evaluating your own clinical work in detail, and recognising the themes of strengths and challenges you have as a family and systemic therapist. Learning to apply appropriate evaluation instruments such as The System for Observing the Therapeutic Alliance (SOFTA) provides research informed support to your evaluations of your clinical work. The rationale here is that this process, including the evaluation instruments, alerts you to the core elements of excellence in delivery of FST treatments. The clinical review is a 500-1000 word piece which requires you to succinctly summarise your analysis of the sessions from multiple perspectives and coherently report it as reflection and self-reflection.

Task 3, Major written report (3,000 words), Ungraded with Feedback

The rationale for this assessment task is that the process requires you to look for themes emerging from your journal, as you need to do for client families. This systemic theme-recognition and reflection process is a fundamental FST competency. Succinctly summarising and integrating these themes into a written piece of this length, is a cognitive-affective discipline and generates growth in precision of expression, thoughtful selection of what you wish to say and how you say it. This consequently improves your self-awareness and self-reflection on core themes that you find in your journal.  These fundamental competencies need deliberate extended practice and are known to contribute to the quality of the therapeutic alliance and effectiveness of FST practice.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

1.   Personal-professional Journal

Develop a continuation of your Personal-Professional Journal that provides you with a multi-layered record of your experiences and inner conversation generated in the collaborative-learning relational system.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8 

2      Folio of clinical reviews and evaluation of recorded reflecting team session (500-1000 words per case)

Analyse and evaluate your live therapy session. Comment on what you noticed and attended to in the session, how you responded to your clients, your use of interventive interviewing methods and what you would do to develop greater precision in working with more complex client systems. Use the System for Observing the Therapeutic Alliance (SOFTA) to evaluate the balanced alliance.


LO1, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA5, GA8 

3.   Major report (3,000 words)

Based on the material collected in your personal-professional journal, your experiences as therapist, your readings of the FST research literature, your case work and your conversations with your colleagues, prepare a major report on how and what you have learnt about yourself as a family and systemic therapist. Focus on what were the specific experiences and moments that changed your practice and your understanding of what is systemic relational processes. Produce a coherent and succinct narrative that illustrates your integration of the systemic concepts and the relational language practices of FST. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7,


Representative texts and references

Anderson T., (1987), Reflecting Team: Dialogue and Meta-dialogue in clinical work, Family Process, 26, 4: 415-427

Anderson, H. & Gerhart, D. Eds., (2007), Collaborative Therapy: Relationships and Conversations that Make a Difference, NY, Routledge

Gerhart, D., (2014), Mastering Competencies in Family Therapy: A Practical Approach to Theory and Clinical Case Documentation 2nd Ed, Belmont, CA, Brooks/Cole

Gilbert, P., (2005), Compassion: Conceptualisations, Research and uses in Psychotherapy, Routledge, London.

Holmes, S. & Cantwell, P. (1994), Social construction: A paradigm shifts for systemic therapy and training. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 15(1).

Cantwell, P. & Holmes, S. (2004), 'Cumulative process', Journal of Systemic Therapies, 15, 123-129

Lambert, M.J., (2010), Prevention of Treatment Failure: The use of Measuring, Monitoring and Feedback in Clinical Practice, Washington, APA

Lipchik, E. (2002), Beyond technique in solution focused therapy. Guilford, New York

Minuchin, S., Reiter, M.D., & Borda, C., (2014), The Craft of Family Therapy, Routledge, NY.

Seikkula, J. & Trimble, D., (2005), Healing Elements of Therapeutic Conversation: Dialogue as an Embodiment of Love, Family Process, Vol 44, December, 461–475

Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Snyder, W.M., (2002), Cultivating Communities of Practice, Harvard Business Review Press, Boston

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