Study plan - Master in Family Therapy and Relational Work
The Master's program in Family Therapy and Relational Work is an interdisciplinary study where students will acquire in-depth knowledge of relational work with couples, families, and networks or relational work in organizations. The program builds upon an established further education in systemic family therapy and network work. It is an experiential-based master's degree with 120 credits. Completing the master's degree qualifies for applying to Ph.D. studies. The program is organized as flexible part-time education closely linked to the students' own work practice. The program has two specializations: family therapy and network work, and relational work in organizations.
Courses in the third and fourth years can be taken in a flexible order. The program also allows for the admission of new students to the master's program in the 2nd and 3rd years, for applicants with different relational, health, and social science further education of 30/60 credits.
Several courses from this program can also be taken as standalone individual courses for professionals who need in-depth knowledge in various topics related to couples, families, networks, and organizations.
The master's program aims to enable students to carry out skilled and professional relational work in various contexts. The specialization in family therapy and network work qualifies for therapeutic work, such as family therapy. The specialization in relational work in organizations qualifies for various types of relationship, communication, and dialogue work, such as counseling, guidance, group leadership, family support, conflict resolution, and collaboration at different levels.
The program builds upon and deepens aspects of theory and practical knowledge from basic education in various health, social science, and educational studies at the bachelor's level. The overarching goal is to further develop students' ability to understand challenges in interaction between people, both in families and in other social systems, and to provide knowledge and skills in varied approaches. The theoretical foundation of the master's program is rooted in relational and communication-oriented theories.
The program focuses on relational challenges in interpersonal interaction and aims to equip professionals to assist clients in solving these issues. Students in this education can learn various central conversation approaches and relational methods. They will learn about individual conversations, couples therapy, relationship-enhancing measures, parenting guidance, network work, relational work in organizations, and conflict management.
The program provides skills and knowledge to address people in various life crises, such as relationship breakdowns and new family constellations, grief and mourning in a family perspective, abuse issues, and violence in close relationships. Students can learn about mobilizing family and friend networks during crises and disasters and gain competence in family-based treatment approaches when children or youth become ill.
The education also introduces the theoretical and methodological basis for professionals who wish to qualify and specialize in consultation work related to other social systems with collaboration and/or interaction problems, such as in workplaces or schools.
Admission Requirements (Master's and Further Education, Standalone Courses)
Bachelor's degree in health and social sciences, psychological, or pedagogical fields.
Minimum of 2 years of relevant professional experience after completing education.
Applicants with other relevant education may be considered for admission.
It's possible to qualify for admission based on prior learning.
Additional requirements for applicants to the master's program extension
Minimum of 60 credits of relevant further education.
Relevant further educations:
For specialization in family therapy and network work:
At least 60 credits of further education in family therapy and relational work, systemic family therapy and network work, or family therapy and systemic practice.
For specialization in relational work in organizations, the requirement can also be met with other relevant further education, such as various relational, health and social science, psychological, or pedagogical further educations or university subjects.
See the list of approved further educations offered by HVL on the program's website on hvl.no.
The applicant is responsible for arranging an internship placement. The internship must fulfill the requirements for the chosen specialization. Students can complete their internship at their own workplace or as an observing internship at another suitable location. It is the students' responsibility to meet this requirement, which is an important part of the education.
For specialization in family therapy and network work:
Applicants must be able to carry out therapeutic practice during the study period. You must complete practice in therapeutic work with children, youth, the elderly, individuals, couples, parents, families, networks, and groups in contexts such as family counseling, parental guidance services, treatment centers, private family and couples therapy practices, or similar.
Hours (therapeutic) of practice required:
Master's (120 credits): 320 hours
Master's extension (60 credits): 160 hours
Further education (60 credits): 160 hours
Standalone courses (7.5-15 credits): No requirement for practice placement
For specialization in relational work in organizations:
Applicants must be able to carry out practice during the first four semesters in areas such as counseling, guidance, group leadership, teamwork, network work, educational work, leadership, and competence development. It may also involve various forms of crisis management, support conversations, facilitation, assistance, and family support.
Hours of relational practice required:
Master's (120 credits): 160 hours
Master's extension (60 credits): No requirement for practice placement
Further education (60 credits): 160 hours
Standalone courses (7.5-15 credits): No requirement for internship
A student who completes the qualification should have the following overall learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills, and general competence:
- possesses professional and self-reflective knowledge within the field of work with couples, families, and networks, as well as relational work in organizations
- can analyze academic research questions based on the field's history, traditions, uniqueness, and societal context
- possesses in-depth knowledge within the field's scientific theories and methods
- possesses extensive knowledge about communication and interaction processes, and evidence-based relational work with couples, families, networks, and organizations
- possesses extensive knowledge of scientific theory, research methods, and research processes in general and related to the field of work with couples, families, and networks specifically
- can analyze existing theories, methods, and interpretations within the field and work independently with practical and theoretical problem-solving
- can critically assess various sources of information and use them to structure and formulate professional arguments
- can use relevant methods for research and/or artistic development work independently
- can apply their knowledge and skills in relevant areas
- has insight into and can convey self-reflection
- can gather relevant knowledge about couples, families, and networks, and critically evaluate sources
- can carry out an independently defined research project in line with fundamental ethical and methodological principles to address current issues in practice
- can analyze relevant professional, occupational, and research ethical issues
- can communicate independent work and master the field's forms of expression
- can communicate about professional issues, analyses, and conclusions within the field, both with specialists and the general public
- can contribute to innovative thinking and innovation processes
- can communicate current research, critically evaluate sources, and contribute to the implementation and application of research in practical work
- can critically reflect on their own professional competence and development, and apply their field's distinct contributions in relational work
- can identify political guidelines and frameworks for the field and analyze and convey how these influence practice in the field
The study program spans four years and is organized into compulsory and elective courses, with a total of 13-16 sessions. The master's, extension program spans two years. Each session lasts from two to five days. One of the courses is web-based. Courses from the third year onwards are conducted flexibly, and some courses can be taken at one's own pace. External clinical supervision required in connection with the study should be conducted in parallel with the study. Individual courses in the study program are open to professionals who seek further expertise. An elective course will only be offered if there are enough registered master's students.
In the third semester, an international course is offered: MARV531 Cultural Competences in Relational Work with Couples, Families, and Networks.
The teaching is designed with varied and student-active teaching and learning methods. The academic content is conveyed through lectures and self-study, with illumination and processing of the specified topics, analyses of practical demonstrations, video recordings, and more. Additionally, through practical exercises and demonstrations like role-play and group work. The teaching is structured to move conceptually between overarching ideas and theories to methods, practice, and reflection on one's own role as a professional practitioner. The study includes both mandatory and self-selected literature.
The student chooses literature related to their specialization and master's thesis. The student must take responsibility for selecting relevant literature. Throughout the teaching, students will be introduced to what is considered overarching ideas and practices related to the literature in the subject. Some topics will be recurring and will be addressed in most sessions.
In addition, the student must have passed the courses MARA540 Research and Research Dissemination and MAMET500, Scientific Theory, Ethics, and Method.
Questions related to scientific theory and academic prerequisites will be approached in various ways during the presentation of other topics.
External clinical supervision and practice constitute a process where the student acquires understanding and in-depth knowledge and competence related to their own practice as a professional practitioner.
Students work between study weeks and carry out practice to the extent specified in the specialization or courses. Practice can be conducted at the student's workplace or as observation at other relevant locations. Students practice by incorporating ideas and methods from the literature and course weeks.
External clinical supervision required in connection with the study should be conducted in parallel with the study. Important sub-goals include that the student has developed competence in:
Integration of theory, method, and practical skills
Further development of personal style and professional position
Development of self-reflection
Development of reflection skills
Systematic analysis of presented cases
Practice in conversation processes
In the specialization in family therapy and network work, students must complete a total of 320 hours of supervision. Supervision is an ongoing mandatory learning activity throughout the study program and is described in the relevant courses. Supervision is conducted between and during sessions. 220 hours of supervision take place between sessions in supervision groups organized by the students themselves. Supervisors must be approved by the program director, and students pay for this supervision. 100 hours of supervision take place in groups during sessions and are included in the tuition fee.
In the specialization in relational work in organizations, students must complete a total of 180 hours of supervision. Supervision is an ongoing mandatory learning activity throughout the study program and is described within the relevant courses. Supervision is conducted between and during sessions. 120 hours of supervision take place between sessions in supervision groups organized by the students themselves. Supervisors must be approved by the program director, and students pay for this supervision. 60 hours of supervision take place in groups during sessions and are included in the tuition fee.
Supervision consists of process-oriented and direct guidance. Process guidance takes place in groups and involves guidance on materials that students bring in the form of narratives from practice. Direct guidance takes place individually or in groups and involves guidance on the student's own practice, with the supervisor present as a co-therapist, in the room, or behind a one-way mirror, observing the practice. Supervisors can also view practice on film/DVD.
The study program employs various assessment methods. These are described under the description of each course. Assessment is carried out in accordance with the University College's regulations on studies and examinations.
The following assessment methods are used in the study program:
Home exam, which is time-limited with a given problem statement/shared task set.
Assignments, which span longer periods with submission deadlines for specialized tasks, reflection notes, and opinion pieces
The grading is either a letter grade A-E for pass and F for fail, or pass/fail
Before starting the master's thesis, the student must have passed the following:
A. Passed the 1st and 2nd year in the Master's in Relational Work program or
B. Passed the further education in Systemic Family Therapy and Network Work (60 ECTS) or
C. Passed another relevant health and social science or pedagogical further education (60 ECTS)
Opportunities for exchange have been provided in the 3rd semester.