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Academic Year 2023/2024 - Teacher: Elena COMMODARI

Expected Learning Outcomes

The course presents the main theoretical and methodological issues relating to family psychology. It promotes knowledge of study approaches to family relationships and the basic principles of psychological intervention in relational and family contexts. In particular, the student will have to know the main theoretical currents in the field of family psychology with attention to the origins of family psychology and systems theory, the new forms of family, and the most relevant application implications, with notes on psychotherapeutic intervention. The pragmatics of human communication in relation to intra-family communication will also be explored in depth.

Course Structure

lesson and exercises

Changes will be introduced should teaching be carried out in mixed mode or remotely.

Required Prerequisites

Adequate knowledge of dynamic psychology, developmental psychology and general psychology

Attendance of Lessons


Detailed Course Content

The origins of family psychology, from classical psychoanalysis to new approaches (Freud, Klein, Bion, Winnicott, cybernetics and systems theory)

The structure of the family,

The identity of the family,

Interactive and relational processes in the family,

The family life cycle,

The various phases of the family's life cycle (e.g., formation of the couple, the family with small children, with adolescent children, with young adult children, and with elderly parents, the family in transition),

Families and new forms of family relationships (e.g., homo-parental families),

Research and intervention on the family with notes on psychotherapeutic intervention

pragmatics of human communication and pathological communication in the family context (e.g. paradoxical communication and double bind)

Textbook Information

FAMILY THERAPY. Author S. Minuchin, Astrolabe, 252 (within the text, there are extensive transcriptions of therapeutic interventions and interviews, easily recognizable as they are entirely in quotation marks, a total of approximately 100 pages. These parts constitute useful and indispensable reading for the student to understand better the theoretical contents expressed in the parts of the text to be studied.

2) FAMILY PSYCHOLOGY, THE RELATIONAL SYSTEM PERSPECTIVE. Author: PAOLO GAMBINI, FRANCO ANGELI, from page 21 to page. 56; from page 58 to page 92; from page 97 to page 110; from page. 112 on page 163, from page 165 to page 224, from page 229 to page 292, up to the chapter on the recomposed family. Within the indicated pages, there are pages with bibliographical indications that do not constitute the object of the study.

Course Planning

 SubjectsText References
1the topics described in the contents section are addressed in books 1-2. Topics related to human communication are addressed in book 3

Learning Assessment

Learning Assessment Procedures

Oral. The final evaluation can benefit from the outcome of individual or group exercises planned by the teacher whose participation is not compulsory. If the teaching is in a mixed or remote mode,  the necessary changes may be introduced to comply with the program reported in the syllabus.

The evaluation criteria  are :

Adequacy of expression regarding the contents and method

Thematic awareness and lexical correctness

Critical in-depth skills

Interdisciplinary liaison skills

Ability to rework knowledge

Ability to transfer knowledge to operational contexts

Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises

Exam questions are differentiated by difficulty, some basic for passing the exam, others for in-depth analysis helpful in obtaining the highest marks in the range.

Some examples of questions are presented only for explanatory purposes, remembering that the exam will focus on all the topics listed in the syllabus

1) What are the theoretical and methodological foundations of family psychology?

2) What is the life cycle of the family?

3) what is "therapeutic association"?