Measuring Competence in Systemic Practice: Development of the ‘Systemic Family Practice – Systemic Competency Scale’ (SPS)

Catherine Butler, Elizabeth Sheils, Trish Joscelyne, Judith Lask, Helen Pote, Jon Crossley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)
60 Downloads (Pure)


Ensuring that practitioners are competent in the therapies they deliver is important for training, therapeutic outcomes and ethical practice. The development of the Systemic Practice Scale (SPS) is reported – a measure to assess the competence of students as trialed by Children and Young Person's Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (CYP-IAPT) training courses. Initial reliability assessment of the SPS with twenty-eight supervisors of systemic practice evaluating students’ competence using an online recording of a family therapy session is detailed. The SPS was found to be a reliable measure of systemic competence across training settings. Rating variability was noted, with training and benchmarking to improve rating consistency recommended. Further research using the SPS to further establish the reliability and validity of the scale is required. Practitioner points: SPS represents an important tool, particularly for the supervision and development of more junior staff or students Initial reliability for use of the SPS as a formative tool has been established. Further benchmarking is required if using the tool in a summative manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-99
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Family Therapy
Issue number1
Early online date25 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • assessment
  • competence
  • systemic practice
  • training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Measuring Competence in Systemic Practice: Development of the ‘Systemic Family Practice – Systemic Competency Scale’ (SPS)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this