Northern Ireland Counselling Forum

Saturday 22nd April 2023

Relationships matter! 

An introduction to Systemic Practice & Family Therapy – what can this modality offer individual counselling?

By Dr Suzanne Mooney, PhD

Senior Lecturer (Social Work) & Systemic Practice and Family Therapy Programme Director, Queen’s University School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work. Belfast 

 What does it mean to work systemically with individuals? Is it possible? Is it different to what you already do? Have you ever noticed the therapy room is very crowded with others the client has virtually brought with them? Alternatively, have you had clients who have struggled to tell their story? And how do we navigate the “blame game” in the therapy room? 

“When we meet with an individual, we meet with their networks” (Lang 2004)

Ubuntu  – “I am because we are” (often quoted by Desmond Tutu & Nelson Mandel)

The contemporary systemic approach emerged from the development of family therapy as a distinct therapeutic modality. Systemic theory understands the problems in people’s lives as connected to their lived experience, relationships, beliefs and societal discourses (i.e. social inequalities, gender, race, class). This relational and interactional frame of reference understands the client and their relationship network as a key resource. It places central importance on building purposeful relationships with individual clients (and their significant others when safe and appropriate) to promote shared understanding of difficulties and generate unique ways forward.

This presentation/workshop will introduce central systemic principles, concepts and techniques. There will be opportunities to consider a shift of focus from locating emotional distress at the level of the individual to introducing a systemic frame of reference by exploring important relationships, interwoven stories and ascribed meaning. We hope you will gain insight into the value of working with individuals using a systemic framework and come away with some new ideas to bring to your counselling practice.  

Date: 22nd April 2023

Time: Tea/coffee available from 9.30am
Workshop 10am – 12.30pm approx.

Venue: Friends’ Meeting House
Frederick Street
Belfast BT1

Limited parking available  

Contact: 07775947991 for further details
Cost: £5 NICF members £10 Non-members
CPD Certificate Supplied