ASYS - Arbeitskreis für Systemische Sozialarbeit, Beratung und Supervision
(Association for Systemic Social Work, Counceling and Supervision)

ASYS is an association of social workers. It's aims are exchange of good practice and further education in systemic social work. ASYS organises further education courses in systemic social work and systemic supervision with high exchange rate between practice and theory. Furthermore ASYS provides at regular intervals practice and theory exchange meetings between members as well as with non-member interested practitioners. ASYS already provides a frequently visited website concerning systemic approach in social work in German language ( and will integrate the discussion and products of the partnership on an extra international section in the English language.

ASYS is the coordinator of this project.

Fachhochschule Campus Wien - Department of "Social Work"

The department of "Social Work" at the Fachhochschule Campus Wien, a university for applied sciences and its forerunner, The Federal Academy for Social Work, in Vienna, is concerned with teaching systemic social work to students as well as practitioners since 1990 and was the first institution in the German speaking part of Europe that offered post-graduate courses in systemic social work.
The students have to spend several weeks of work experience during their vocational training and the department has intensive contact with practitioners in nearly all fields of social work.
The department is interested in this project, because systemic thinking in social work improves the competences and skills.Development of systemic theory and practice will directly influence teachers, students and practitioners in Austria.

Hochschule Merseburg

The  Hochschule Merseburg, Fachbereich Soziale Arbeit.Medien.Kultur (University of Applied Sciences Merseburg, Faculty of Social Work.Media.Culture) is in eastern Germany, near Halle and Leipzig, south of Berlin. We conduct study programs for social work (bachelor and master). Our Master Program Systemic Social Work (sysoma) is unique in Germany.

Developing concepts of teaching systemic social work in the master program as well as in the bachelor program is ongoing in order to to find ways for models which fit to the practice of social work. At some of our seminars about systemic social work also practitioners participate. Furthermore we are developing concepts to offer training to professionals as well as for training our master students how to train their colleagues on the job.

London Borough of Hackney

London Borough of Hackney is a Local Authority children’s services provider employing more than 300 staff to work with vulnerable families.  Our staff group comprises qualified social workers, student social workers, systemic family therapists, psychologists and exprienced parenting practitioners. We are the first social care service in the country to state clearly the methodological approach to our work.  Our view is that we should use a systemic approach in all our practice, management and leadership and that our interventions with families should be designed using social learning theory as the key way to create change in parenting interactions.

All practitioners in our multi-disciplinary social work units are expected to become familiar with systemic practice and with a range of behavioural interventions and their application to work with families, through our comprehensive training programmes.

What We Mean by Family Therapy & Systemic Practice

Systemic Practice is where the practitioner is using a range of techniques and methods of work from the systemic tool kit, but is not engaged with the family as the focus of therapeutic practice in what could be described as family therapy. This may involve using systemic techniques with the professional network, school staff plus young person, etc. Family Therapy is where the Clinician is engaged in a therapeutic session (or series of such sessions) with the family in an explicit agreement to address their issues by meeting together in a managed conversation. This will be of a specific technical kind, depending upon the issues and the evidence base. 

Levels of Systemic Practice:
  • - Reflecting on your own practice with a systemic lens - active reflexivity
  • - Bringing in the ‘wider system’ in discussion - introducing a view of the systems
  • - Thinking systemically with colleagues - case discussions with systemic input
  • - Networking - working systemically with SWU colleagues with the wider network
  • - Formal consultation to professionals, including within the SWU
  • - Systemic practice - using systemic tools in a broader range of practices
  • - Family Therapy - systemic FT sessions in a course of work
  • Leonardo Project Aims

Our short-term aims through the Leonardo Project are to learn about current practice and training in systemic social work in the EU and to promote common principles and differences beyond the partnership – to other countries and within England to agencies which wish to develop systemic training programmes for social workers. In the long-term, this may lead to developments in systemic social work training across Europe, a larger workforce of systemically trained social workers and improved outcomes for children and families.

The Robert Gordon University

The Robert Gordon University is the largest provider of social work education in Scotland and runs both Undergraduate and Masters programmes as well as a wide range of post-qualifying courses on a number of specialist topics. In relation to the role of Robert Gordon University in the project, the particular emphasis is upon the application of systemic principles to social work. In this regard, Robert Gordon University provides a broad perspective on the use of systemic thinking and wishes to develop knowledge and understanding of the application of this to general social work practice. It would greatly appreciate exchange with other institutions concerned with systemic approach in social work to provide different perspectives on the application of systemic thinking and working in a range of social work fields.

University of Helsinki, Department of Social Sciences

The University of Helsinki, Department of Social Sciences and the unit of Social Work educate social workers and also have close cooperating contacts to practice and different fields where social work is practised. The unit of social work is engaged in investigating the advantages of the systemic approach in practical social work and disseminating the outcomes to students and practitioners. Their research outcomes will be incorporated in the guide for systemic social work which the project will produce. In addition, the guide will be used in teaching and work with practitioners.