Working with Families

Subject SCWK50012 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 5 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

March, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 contact hours (8 x 1 hour lecture, 8 x 2 hour seminar)
Total Time Commitment:

24 contact hours

16 hours of class preparation and reading

24 hours of assessment related tasks

= 64 hours total time commitment

= 8 hours total time per week
Prerequisites: A pass in the following subjects prior to enrolment:
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
November, Summer Term, Semester 1, Semester 2
Summer Term, Semester 1, Semester 2
Not offered in 2011


Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the University’s courses. Students who think their disability will impact on meeting this requirement are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Course Coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Dr Menka Tsantefski


Social Work
Melbourne School of Health Sciences
The University of Melbourne
Level 5, 234 Queensberry St
Carlton Victoria 3010 AUSTRALIA
T: +61 3 8344 9400
F: +61 3 9347 4375

Subject Overview:

This subject critically examines the relationship between contemporary social work practice with families and family therapy. It explores the benefits and limitations of a selected range of theoretical frameworks and practice tools relevant to assisting families with their various problems in living across the family life course. Emphasis will be placed upon students’ capacity to critically evaluate these theoretical approaches and to examine their relevance for varied organisational contexts and diverse presenting issues in family social work.


On successful completion of this series of lectures and seminars, participants should be able to:

  • Identify the key elements and logic of several theoretical approaches to social work with families.
  • Take a critical and inquiring approach to selecting, evaluating and applying these models of family intervention within contemporary social work practice, in the light of family diversity, gender issues, and presenting psycho-social issues.
  • Select practice approaches appropriate to particular practice settings with attention to the mandate for intervention and issues of consumer choice.
  • Independently and competently make a written differential psycho-social family assessment from given data and informed by theory.
  • Independently and competently make a feasible plan of family intervention, which flows logically from the psycho-social assessment and which is sufficiently operationalised to permit outcome evaluation.
  • Critically reflect on and discuss the implications of theoretical stances for worker–client relationships, working arrangements and ethical practice.
  • As part of a team focussing on a particular method of practice, make a competent demonstration of particular practice strategies, and engage peers in active learning with respect to the theory and practice of the strategies.
  1. Class presentation and submission of written syndicated class material totalling 1500 words (40%) - due during semester
  2. A case study of 3500 words (60%) - due at the end of semester.
Prescribed Texts:

Nichols, M.P. (2010). The Essentials of Family Therapy, 5th Ed. Boston: Pearson, Allyn & Bacon.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • critically analyse texts and practices;
  • understand recent developments in social work contexts of practice;
  • link theory to practice;
  • competently communicate in ways relevant to both academic and practice contexts;
  • engage in reflective practice.
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Social Work

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