Family Psychology (251028)

Learning Outcomes

1.    To understand the family according to a systemic epistemology. 
2.    To approach the theoretical concepts of Family Psychology, and to explain the functioning of the family system. 
3.    To understand the importance of family systems in the interaction with social systems and their forms of operation / interaction throughout the life cycle.
4.    To construct a complex view of the concept of family that includes the unique nature of each system and its possible configurations. 
5.    To know the fundamental / historical models and theories of Family Psychology as well as their basic themes. 
6.    To construct a developmental approach on the familiar system, seeing it as a system in transformation with points of balance and imbalance.

Study Program

1.    Scientific-clinical context of development of systemic theory. 
2.    The theoretical tripod of Family Psychology - General Theory of Systems, Cybernetics and Theories of Human Communication. 
2.1.    The General Theory of Systems: definition of system and properties. 
2.2.    The Cybernetics (s): Self-regulated system and self-organized system. 
2.3.    The Theories of Human Communication - Ecosystemic Theories of Communication. 
3.    The Systemic model in Family Psychology. Importance of Systemic Family Therapy for the development of Family Psychology. 
3.1.    "Birth" and evolution of Family Psychology as an autonomous discipline.
1.    Family definitions: the lack of a universal definition. Types of families, "traditional" configurations and "new" forms of family. 
2.    Contemporary family issues: gender and family issues, the role of women in the family and contemporary family structures. 
3.    Family as system: 
3.1.    System concepts: sub-system, supra-system, ecosystem. 
3.2.    Family structure: 
3.2.1.    Definition of structure: definition of limits - clear, diffuse and rigid limits; sub-systems, functions and their organization. 
4.    Stress and family crisis: definition of crisis, accidental and normative crisis; crisis as context of change / blockade of the system; sources of stress.
5.    The genogram. Graphical representation of family life: Symbology; registration of information, structure and family relations. 
6.    Family communication: the axiomatic of human communication and its distortions. 

1.    The concept of family life cycle: inter and intra-systemic perspective of family development, utility of the concept of life cycle, potentialities and limitations. 
2.    The life cycle of the "intact nuclear" family: stages, main characteristics, normative tasks, difficulties and potentialities. 
3.    The life cycle and other forms of family: divorce and the family after divorce, single-parent families, reconstituted families, adoptive families, homosexual families. 
4.    Death and life cycle of the family.

1.    Parenting: definition and types of parenting.
2.    Information and Communication Technologies in the family. 
3.    Gender roles in the family.



Alarcão, M. (2000). (Des)equilíbrios familiares [Family (un)balances]. Quarteto Editora.
Relvas. A. P. (1999). Conversas com famílias: Discursos e perspectivas em terapia familiar [Conversations with families: Discourses and perspectives on family therapy]. Afrontamento.    
Relvas, A. P. (2000). Por detrás do espelho: da teoria à prática com a família [Behind the mirror: from theory to practice with the family]. Quarteto Editora. 
Relvas, A. P., & Alarcão, M. (2003). Novas formas de família [New forms of family]. Quarteto Editora.