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Family Counselling Level 3 Certificate Course


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Family Counselling Level 3 Certificate Course

Price: £325.00Course Code: BPS213
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Family Counselling Level 3 Certificate Course

Family Counselling course online. Develop a better understanding of family Dynamics. Learn to understand family problems better and analyze and facilitate solutions to problems that emerge in modern families. 


ACCPH accredited course logo This course is accredited by ACCPH and allows you to join as a professional member after completion. Membership allows you to add the letters MACCPH after your name (post-nominals).

CMA accredited course logo

This course has been accredited by the CMA - The Complimentary Medical Association. On completion of any qualifying module, you can join as a "Fully Qualified Practitioner" and be entitled to use the post-nominal latters "MCMA" after your name. CMA Full Membership is a privileged position and the fact that you have been accepted for CMA Membership demonstrates that you have a clear commitment to standards and professionalism. CMA Members in all categories are recognised as the elite in their field.


All important family unity can become strained when there are sharp disagreements between its members. In extreme circumstances, this can even lead to family break ups, with unresolved differences having a life long effect on all concerned. This accredited Level 3 course will help counsellors, social workers, other professionals working with families, or even Fathers and Mothers to understand the different approaches that can be used to help parents and siblings sort out their areas of conflict.

With so much pressure being put on the family unit, this course is ideal for those working in, or intending to work in the following occupations:

Family counselling
Social work
Psychiatric nursing
Caring roles
Health professions


Learning Goals:  Family Counselling BPS213
  • 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.


Lesson Structure:   Family Counselling BPS213
  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)
    • Disintigration & Reintigration
  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
    • What can we learn from this? How can we draw strength from knowing all this is not new.
    • How did we cope with family problems in the past in different places, cultures etc.
    • How are dynamics different & similar today to in the past.
    • 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.


Your learning experience with ADL will not only depend on the quality of the course, but also the quality of the person teaching it. This course is taught by Iona Lister and your course fee includes unlimited tutorial support throughout. Here are Iona's credentials:

Iona Lister course tutorIona Lister
Licentiate, Speech and Language Therapy, UK, Diploma in Advanced Counselling Skills.

Iona has been a clinician and manager of health services for fifteen years, and a trainer for UK-based medical charities, focusing on psychosocial issues, mental health disorders, and also the promotion of communication skills for people in helping roles. She tutors and facilitates groups via workshops and teleconferences, and now specialises in Sight Loss. As a freelance writer, she contributes regular feature articles for magazines, has written five published books, as well as published courses relating to personal development and counselling skills.


Iona has aslo written published books, courses and articles across a wide range of subjects, mostly in the areas of health, counselling, psychology, crafts and wildlife.

She has drawn experience from clinical and managerial experience within the NHS as well as medical and humanitarian subjects. She has been a regular feature writer and expert panel member of a national magazine for six years.

Books include: A Guide to Living with Alzheimer's Disease (and associated dementias), The Psychology of Facial Disfigurement; a Guide for Health and Social Care Professionals, When a Medical Skin Condition Affects the Way you Look; A Guide to Managing Your Future, Facing Disfigurement with Confidence, Cross Stitch: A Guide to Creativity and Success for Beginners.
Courses written include: Mental Health and Social Work, Counselling Skills, Understanding and Responding to Substance Misuse, Journalling for Personal Development, Guided Imagery, Stress Management.
Current work includes: Tutor: Courses associated with Creative Writing, Counselling Skills, Psychology, Holistic Therapy, Certified Hypnotherapist and Hypnotension Practitioner. 
Facilitator of Teleconference Groups: Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) 
Trainer (Skills for Seeing): Macular Society 
Reviewer of Books/Information: Macmillan Cancer Support 
Fundraiser: Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Embroidery/Art Groups Facilitator, Board Member
Website Manager: The Strathcarron Project, Coordinator (Delaware & Tennessee) Human Writes


Excerpt from the Course


Family Types

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.

Before considering the different types of families, let us consider WHY the family structure has changed –

  1. State education has meant that people tend to be more well-educated and knowledgeable and may want a better standard of living.
  2. The role of women has changed in that they have become better educated, more independent and able to leave home without necessarily being married.
  3. Families have generally become smaller – this is on average – of course there will always be families with larger numbers of children.
  4. People are more mobile in terms of their willingness to move to be nearer their jobs.
  5. People are more likely to work, which makes them more independent financially and able to afford their own homes.
  6. Family planning and contraception has meant that people can decide when or if to have children.
  7. Improved transport has meant that people can move away from their families.

Some Interesting Facts

The American Organisation, the Children’s Defense Fund found the following statistics about American children –

  • 50% will live in a single parent family at some point in their life.
  • 1 in 3 is born to unmarried parents.
  • 25% live with only one parent.
  • 1 in 8 is born to a teenage mother
  • 1 in 25 lives with neither parent.

The Nuclear Family

This is a family consisting of parents and their children. It is still a common form of family in most Western cultures.  Historically, one person would work and one would stay at home caring for the children. This has obviously changed, but the basic structure stays the same.  The parents will usually bring up their children with little or no help from their family, but they may use nurseries, day care and so on.  They are basically a separate household unit.

The Extended Family

The extended family are the other members of a family who may live close by or with the family. They consist of uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, brothers and sisters. This form of family is the norm within some cultures.

An extended family can be horizontally extended – where cousins, aunts and uncles live with the family. A vertically extended family is where grandparents live with the family.

Why are there fewer extended families?

There are many reasons, these are some suggestions –

  • Increased opportunities in care have meant that there are other opportunities for older relatives rather than living in the family home.
  • The increase in divorce and relationship breakdowns has meant that children may lose contact with members of their own extended family.
  • Families are more mobile, so move within a country and from country to country, again losing contact with their own extended family.
  • Grandparents are healthier, so may live longer and remain independent for longer, so will live longer in their own homes.
  • There has been an increase in female employment, so women, who were traditionally the carers of children, are more likely to work. This means that grand parents are not necessarily available to care for grandchildren, resulting in parents using paid childcare.
  • Women may have children later, which can mean grandparents are older and less able to help out with childcare.

Extended families are still common in some cultures, for example, families from Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin, but they are not necessarily the norm in cultures where they once were, such as the UK, America etc.


A matriarchy is a form of society, where the women and mothers of a community take the leading role.  This form of society is very rare and even evidence from the past which has been used to support the existence of these forms of cultures has been limited or discredited.


This is where the family unit is based on a man as the father figure. It also refers to the role of men in society as a whole, where they take the responsibility for the welfare of the community.  Patriarchy is the dominant mode of organisation in society throughout history. 

The Modified Family

Nowadays, many families do not necessarily fit neatly into these categories anymore. These families are known as modified families, in that they are structured differently to the traditional nuclear family. There has been an increase in the number of modified families, due to single parent families and reconstituted families (to be discussed shortly).

Step Families or the Reconstituted Family

Reconstituted families are known more commonly as step families, where two separate parents (alone due to divorce, bereavement, separation etc) may start a new relationship with another parent. This means that the two parents may marry or cohabit forming a new family. A stepfamily will exist when a child is the biological offspring of one parent, but not the other. For example, a man with a son marries a woman with a daughter. The girl would be the father’s stepdaughter. The son would be the mother’s stepson.

Belonging to a step family can lead to issues for the children involved in the family –

  • They have to come to terms with another parent in their life. They may still have contact with their biological parent but not actually live with them anymore. E.g. they may live with their mother and her new partner (their step-father), but still see their biological father.  This means they have to come to terms with another parental figure living with them.
  • This can lead to difficulties if there are differences in ideas of child rearing between the parent and step parent.
  • There may be jealousy between step-siblings.
  • There may be animosity between step-siblings.

This is not to say that step-families are always negative situations. A new family may mean a new, and positive, start for the family members, the parent has an adult relationship and may feel happier, the children have two adult role models, they may have a better quality of life etc.

Single/Lone Parent Families

This family usually consists of one parent and their children.  The majority of adults in single parent families are women, but this is not always the case.  People can become lone parents due to divorce, separation, bereavement, choosing to remain single, illness or prison.

More Statistics

  • 68.7% of American youth live in non-traditional families.
  • 4.4% live with their biological father.
  • 23.3% live with their biological mother
  • 1% live in foster families
  • 30% live in Step-families

The Family Life Cycle

Families move through a life cycle, the same as individuals.  In each stage, a family faces changes and challenges.  Not all families pass easily through stages; there may be difficulties, such as death, divorce and so on. 



Link to Counselling Handbook eBook Counselling Handbook

by the Staff of ACS

Counselling Handbook eBook course online. Full of interesting case studies, this ebook is a wonderful introduction to the complex world of the human psyche. Expand your mind and learn about what makes people tick.

Are you a good listener? Hone your skills by learning popular counselling theories and techniques. 

You will learn about: 

  • Listening skills
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Influencing skills
  • Defense mechanisms
  • Our perception of others
  • Attributions
  • Convariance theory
  • Lay epistemology

(and many more such things that may not make sense now but will by the end of the book).


1. Where can counselling be used?

2. How to see behind the mask.

3. Emotions and attitudes.

4. How to communicate better when all you have is words.

5. Theory versus practice.

6. Diffusing difficult situations.

7. Golden rules or tips.

8. Appendicies.

Extract from book:

We don’t know for sure how much of our communication is non-verbal. Estimates vary from 50% to the 80%. Non-verbal communication becomes more significant, the more mixed the messages are. So if a person is saying one thing, but their body is saying something else, we will tend to pay more attention to what their body is saying to us. Most of us are aware that this is a sign of attempted deception.
Meharabian (1971) carried out a study to see how people decide if they like each other. They looked at facial expressions and spoken words. Participants had to listen to a recording of a female saying one word “maybe” in three tones of voice – neutral, like and dislike. The subjects were then shown photographs of a female face with three expressions – neutral, like and dislike. They were asked to guess which emotion the person in the photograph, the person on the recording and both together were experiencing.

The participants were more accurate in guessing the emotion of the photographs than the voice at a ratio of 3:2. Meharabian also carried out another study where participants had to listen to nine words. Three showed liking (dear, thanks, honey), three showed disliking (brute, terrible, don’t) and three showed neutrality (oh, maybe, really). The words were spoken in different tones. The participants were asked to guess the emotions behind the words. They found that tone carried more meaning than the word.

They concluded that:

■Without seeing and hearing non-verbal messages, there can be more chance of misunderstanding.
■A lot of communication does come through non-verbal communication, but we are still unsure as to the exact amount.
■When we are not sure about a particular word, we pay more attention to non-verbal communication.
■When we do not trust a person, we pay more attention to non-verbal communication.

There are many myths about body language. For example, crossing your arm means defensiveness, covering your mouth means you are lying and so on. But we should rely more on other factors such as:

■Clusters of factors (showing more signs of non-verbal communication).
■Non-verbal behaviour at the time a question is asked, particularly if the question is embarrassing or difficult.
■Situations where the other person may not be trying to control their non-verbal behaviour.

As we said above, it is important to consider your own non-verbal communication. BUT not to such an extent that you try to control it all the time, which can make it appear false or give mixed messages from you.


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