Course at a glance


This Quality Assured, Level 3 Diploma in Family Counselling, is aimed at providing those with counselling experience and/or introductory qualifications, with a review of the fundamentals of counselling, while gaining specialist knowledge and application of counselling in family therapy.

The course will cover the five key perspectives of counselling skills that underpin the fundamental basis for all counselling. This theoretical foundation will form the basis for, exploring how strong families can be a source of support; care and protection. But, equally largely due to the development of new and variant typography; the family structure no longer seen as a ‘one model fits all’ as diversity now allows for: singleness and parenthood; same sex relationships and being parents and, the failure of parental relationships and the causal affect on childhood. At the other end of the age scale, elderly parents are frequently the norm in families, whereby caring and protection reverses the parent, child roles.

In the 21st century, the modern family is more prone to a greater impact of stresses upon the once tightly confined relationship, as ways are explored in ensuring good wholesome relationships are enabled and maintained. Therefore, the development of counselling skills that are used in ‘family therapy’ is changing. This course will explore these changes in the light of sometimes conflicting principles, theories and best practice; as relationship counselling continues to evolve.

The foundation of all good counselling practice begins with understanding the basic principles of theory; practices and case study models that provide that core of good skills any counsellor in this specialist area of family therapy seeks to maintain. Within this framework of theory and practice we will consider in the use of the following concepts: meta-communication, genograms, triangulation, open and closed systems, reframing, solution focused counselling, goal setting and reflective practice.

Learning Aims

The Learning programme for the student, offers choice and scope in regards to the wider study of the specialist areas of counselling the bereaved person. The core aims of the diploma are to:

  • Specifically offers student a theoretical academic approach to the study of this area of advanced counselling through a robust programme of learning that will enhance careers in the wider field of counselling settings in: child care; family dynamics; eldercare; spiritual/pastoral care and many other associated settings.
  • The Diploma Family Counselling encourages students to: develop their interest in, and enthusiasm for, a rigorous study of their subject at a specialist level and explores the core framework that is currently family counselling theory and professional practice.
  • To apply the subject as an academic discipline by developing knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to a very specialist area of Counselling, adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of family counselling.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will have an opportunity to study aspects of Counselling theory and practice that is current and informs the foundation for family counselling.
  • To undertake a broader study of the subject of family counselling through the selection of a variety of topics, although diverse, will complement each other. The following are examples: your enhanced role, as a family counsellor: understanding relationships; conflict; crisis counselling; emotional strategy; family wellbeing; family support networks and how the fundamental perspectives of counselling can be best applied in this specialist area of practice.
  • Some prior knowledge and experience of Counselling is recommended, in working with the families. However, the opportunity is provided for candidates who have studied a social science subject at A Level (either as a Full or Short Course) to build on knowledge, understanding and skills gained at that level. Or simply starting from a point of wanting to enhance professional skills.
  • The course encourages students to develop the critical, analytical and evaluative skills which will enable them to either go on to Higher Education to study a wide range of Social Science courses, including: Religious Studies, Philosophy, Law, Sociology, Psychology and of course, Counselling. Or, seek professional accreditation with an approved counselling body.

This course consists of Ten Units and is a qualification awarded by Oxford Learning College (OLC), in its own right; with the quality assurance of a leading awarding body Centre for Interactive Education and ABC Awards (CIE Global) that hallmarks this professional qualification.

Assessment Objectives (AO)

AO: 1

Students must select and demonstrate clearly relevant knowledge and understanding through the use of evidence, examples and correct language and terminology appropriate to the course of study. In addition, for synoptic assessment, students should demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the connections between different elements of their course of study. This assessment, involves two written assignments: one halfway through the course and following the final unit. Both are assessed and graded by the assigned tutor, according to college procedures.

AO: 2

Students must critically evaluate and justify a point of view through the use of evidence and reasoned argument. In addition, for synoptic assessment, students should relate elements of their course of study to their broader context and to aspects of spiritual human experience.

Quality of Written Communication (QWC)

In addition, OLC require students’ to produce written material in English, candidates must: ensure that text is legible and that spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPG) are accurate so that meaning is clear; select and use a form and style of writing appropriate to studying a complex subject matter; organise information clearly and coherently, using specialist vocabulary when appropriate and Harvard referencing of citation and sources. In this Specification, SPG will be assessed in all tutor marked assignments (TMAs)

To ensure that we maintain quality standards; all our students written assignments are subject to our plagiarism policy and procedure.

Key Features

OLC offer the opportunity to study Family Counselling as a professional level 3 validated diploma course. The student will learn and/or review the psychodynamic, cognitive behavioural and person centred approached that provide a greater understanding of advanced counselling in family therapy.

This course has several features:

  • To develop an empathy and coherence for the centric study of family counselling and its contextualisation as a specialist group therapy.
  • To treat the subject as a professional discipline, providing the academic knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate for specialist study.
  • To teach students an enquiring, reflective and critical approach to the study of family therapies through the discipline of counselling.
  • To encourage students to reflect on their own professional practice, the norms, perceptions, values and opinions in the light of their study.

Accredited Level 3 Family Counselling Diploma Entry Requirement

Entry to this Accredited Level 3 Family Counselling Diploma requires that potential students have gained GCSE/IGCSE or equivalent qualifications and have, good English oral, reading and writing skills.

Advice on enrolment and guidance of prior learning (APL) can be obtained through out contact centre. The course is a rolling programme and can be started at any point in the year. Successful students can go on to Higher Education, including remaining as students at OLC to complete courses in our portfolio of higher awards.

All students must be aged 16 or over.


The coursework is assessed through continuous assessment with no formal exit examinations.

Study Hours

Approximately: 200 hours of personal study time for the entire course is recommended. All of which is supported by the OLC Course Tutor, who we greatly encourage students to access support from throughout their course.

Quality Assurance

This course has been developed by the College’s professional team of tutors to meet the needs of sector based employers and employees. It is also part of the College’s validated level three Diplomas’, recognised internationally, as verified and moderated by awarding body. Further details of our accreditations are provided on our website.

Accredited Level 3 Family Counselling Diploma Course Length

1 Year.

Awarding Body


Accredited Level 3 Family Counselling Diploma Course Content

The whole level three diploma has TEN (10) specific units of study, which are sub-divided into topic areas these are:

Accredited Level 3 Family Counselling Diploma Unit 1: Re-appraisal, Approaches & Theories of Counselling

In this unit, the student has the opportunity to review their knowledge of counselling theories that are, the foundations for family counselling practice. In particular, consideration will be given to the concept “family cycle” which will draw on the psychological approaches of: Freud, Rogers, Skinner, Ellis, Jung and Egan. These approaches are fundamental in understanding the psychology of the practice good counselling.

Accredited Level 3 Family Counselling Diploma Unit 2: The Psycho-dynamic Approach Relevant to Family Counselling

The unit explores how the psycho-dynamic approach in psychology is a founding concept in counselling. How it works? How it is use and applied in family therapy.

Accredited Level 3 Family Counselling Diploma Unit 3: The Cognitive Behavioural Approach to Family Counselling

The unit helps the student to re-explore cognitive behavioural therapy an approach that is a frequently applied in counselling. In doing so, the application of this approach to a variety of family presenting circumstances: relationships, dynamics and reasons for therapy, will be carefully explored.

Accredited Level 3 Family Counselling Diploma Unit 4: The Person-centred Approach

This unit helps the student re-explore person-centred therapy an approach that is a crucial foundation for family counselling. We will specifically consider the work of Maslow; Piaget and Fraud. The wider application and conceptualisation of this approach in a variety of family presenting circumstances, is explored.

Accredited Level 3 Family Counselling Diploma Unit 5: Ethics, Consent, Counsellor Responsibilities and Historical Background

This unit will enable the student to explore some of the many practical aspects of ethical good practice. What are ethical responsibilities; boundaries and limitations? Consent and informed consent; signposting and closure.

Accredited Level 3 Family Counselling Diploma Unit 6: Main Concepts

Having explored the foundations for good counselling and practice; this unit now focuses on the concepts that define the family: – shape, size, dynamic, life cycle, evolving nature and future. All of which, impact on the very nature of family counselling.

Accredited Level 3 Family Counselling Diploma Unit 7: Processes in Family Counselling (Part: 1)

Building on the former units, this unit, focuses on the ‘how to’ aspects of good practice in family counselling. It will explore: good assessment techniques, session planning, group dynamics; problem solving/solutions; construction of interventions, monitoring of interventions and good outcomes.

Accredited Level 3 Family Counselling Diploma Unit 8: Process in Family Counselling (Part: 2)

This unit continues the themes in unit 7. In doing so; the focus move towards: reasoning for interventions strategies; hypothesising of potential outcomes; the crucial tool of the feedback loop – other professional involvement and case conferencing and disclosure issues.

Accredited Level 3 Family Counselling Diploma Unit 9: Focus on Specific Problems (Part: 1).

In this unit we concentrate of specific problems that are the reasons for the referral or self-referral for therapy. These are: family dynamics; psychological disorder, alcoholism, illnesses. How these have been flagged up by the sessions and how they are approached and how they can be resolved or better managed.

Accredited Level 3 Family Counselling Diploma Unit 10: Focus on Specific Problems (Part: 2).

In this final unit we continue to explore specific problems that are the reason for family counselling. The frequently ‘taboo’ areas of abuse: substances; violence, psychological and sexual; are explored and considered.


This Accredited Level 3 Family Counselling Diploma can be used to gain entry to a Level 4 Diploma or higher.