In the Family Therapy Research Group, teaching is closely interwoven with research and clinical work. The IoP is the only centre in the UK that offers family therapy training on a full-time basis and students enrol from across the world.
Both courses are accredited by the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice (AFT) and the UK Council for Psychotherapy. The Graduate Certificate and MSc courses lead to a professional qualification and are available either full or part-time, though the part-time option is for employees of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) (both courses) and Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust (Graduate Certificate).
The Programme Leader for the family therapy training courses is Judith Lask
, an experienced trainer and systemic family therapist. She is a past Chair of AFT and is currently the organisation’s Chair of Registration and representative to the European Family Therapy Association
Students undertake all their supervised clinical training in NHS services, including the Adolescent Eating Disorders Service, which is run by Professor Ivan Eisler, who heads Family Therapy. The Adolescent Eating Disorders Service is well known for its evaluation of family therapy for eating disorders, and for the development of an innovative intensive multi family therapy treatment programme which which received the Positive Practice Award from the National Institute for Mental Health in England in 2004.
The main research focus of the Group has been the evaluation of psychological treatments for eating disorders, drug addiction, depression, chronic pain and adolescent self-harm. The group works in close collaboration with the Eating Disorders Research Group (
in the Department of Psychological Medicine) on the development of treatments for children and adolescents. The emphasis is on family therapy but some projects evaluate other psychological treatments – web-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for adolescents with bulimia nervosa, for example.
The Health Technology Assessment programme of the National Institute for Health Research is funding the Group’s current main study – a multi centre evaluation of family therapy for adolescent self harm. Other funders of research have included the Medical Research Council, Health Foundation, the Leverhulme Foundation, the European Union and the Department of Health (DoH).
The Research Group is collaborating with the Eating Disorders group on a £2 million programme grant funded by the National Institute for Health Research to improve knowledge of anorexia and translate that understanding into treatment. As part of this programme the Family Therapy team is completing a service evaluation of treatment provisions for child and adolescent eating disorders in London to see the extent to which specialist outpatient services can improve earlier identification of problems, reduce hospital admissions and provide more cost effective and clinically effective treatments.
The Group is headed by Ivan Eisler, who is Professor of Family Psychology and Family Therapy. He holds a joint appointment within both the Department of Psychological Medicine, and the Department of Psychology. He is a past editor of the Journal of Family Therapy and a past Chair of the Institute of Family Therapy. Potential PhD students interested in carrying out research in the Section should contact him, email@example.com
Section of Family Therapy
Division of Psychological Medicine and Psychiatry, PO73
Institute of Psychiatry
De Crespigny Park
London SE5 8AF
Contact: Marlene Ure
Phone: 020 7848 0926
Fax: 020 7848 0205
For more information about training courses in family therapy
Phone: 020 7848 0693
For information about training in family therapy for Eating Disorders (including multi-family therapy)
Contact: Pennie Faibairn
Phone: 020 3228 2545
Directions and maps
Family Therapy is Located in Denmark Hill in South East London.
Portacabin on the Green
Institute of Psychiatry Building
De Crespigny Park
How to find us:
If you are coming to visit us, we would recommend using public transport. Nearby parking spaces are limited, and our local traffic wardens are very efficient.
Transport for London
has an excellent facility which will allow you to plan your route – enter your starting point and our postcode (SE5 8AF) to see the best route using public transport.
Our nearest train station is Denmark Hill which is a 7 minute walk away (see map). The nearest tube stations are Brixton and Oval but please note that these are 20-30 minutes walk away.
The following maps should help you to get your bearings when you arrive:
The Denmark Hill Campus - A detailed view of our part of the campus. Portacabin on the green is at letter K on the map.
Family Therapy Grad Cert (opens in new window)
Family Therapy is for professionals working in a mental health setting, including: nurses, GPs, paediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists who wish to complete an intermediate level programme in family therapy, or aim to incorporate systemic work in existing clinical practice.
Family Therapy MSc (opens in new window)
Comprehensive clinical training in family therapy leading towards registration with UK Council for Psychotherapy as a systemic family therapist. Includes supervised clinical work with families in both adult and child mental health settings; strong focus on training professionals to work within multidisciplinary environments.