Publication Details

Hill, H. R. M. (2014). Transitions to systemic practice for a clinical psychology trainee. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy: innovative and contextual approaches to human problems, 35 (3), 277-290.


This article provides an individual perspective on encounters with systemic and family therapy ideas during the transition from university training to professional practice as a Clinical Psychology Registrar. Clinical psychology training provides a solid grounding in individually focussed, cognitive and behavioural models of psychotherapy. What may be less developed on entry to practice are the knowledge, procedural skills and reflective competencies needed to understand and respond to challenges in family-based therapy and in working within complex caregiving systems. Systemic ideas can provide important resources for facilitating these transitions. Trainees may need support not only in gaining knowledge of family therapy models, but also in making a challenging 'epistemological shift' (Cullin, 2014) from internalised models of psychopathology to systemic ways of thinking about problems and change. Systemic concepts and support in developing a position of 'hospitality' (Larner, 2003) towards competing therapeutic models can also help the trainee be more effective in complex caregiving environments. This article provides examples from my learning as well as reflections on what may help trainees make the transition to professional practice and make use of systemic ideas.



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