IMH103 - Dynamics of the Family

Outline info
Last revision date 2016-10-21 14:00:20.23
Last review date 2016-10-21 14:00:20.231

Subject Title
Dynamics of the Family

Subject Description
This course will address family dynamics from a systematic and developmental viewpoint.  Students will become familiar with systems and ecological theory, family structures and development, families in transition, history and cultural diversity.  This will support the student's personal and professional awareness of the potential impact of family history and culture on future relationships. As systems are explored, students reflect on how they can create a more responsive and inclusive response to challenges families with young children may experience. How does a young child's social history within the family and the community influence their development, in particular early mental health?  How does a caregiver's mental health influence a young child's development? How do these early and pivotal relationships promote or derail physical and mental health in the short and the long term?  Such questions will be discussed and answered through presentations, group discussions and case study.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  1. Evaluate the impact of the 'use of self' on practice with high-risk families; 
  2. Analyze the influence of the social, emotional, economic, and cultural circumstance of families with infants and young children;  
  3. Assess child/infant and caregiver relationships to create a support plan; 
  4. Integrate issues of diversity in interventions with families with infants/young children;
  5. Predict outcomes for infants/children who have experienced trauma and family violence;  
  6. Critique traditional family service approaches; 

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

Topic Outline

  • Concepts of Family and the Infant
  • Ecological Theory of Person in Environment
  • Family systems and structures and their impact on development
  • Relationship development and responsive caregiving
  • Attachment processes and unresolved trauma
  • Cultural diversity
  • Family history
  • Children and Families in Transition
  • Domestic Violence and Trauma
  • Assessment and Intervention techniques

Prescribed Texts
Siegel, Daniel and Hartzell, Mary. (2013). Parenting from the Inside Out: how a deeper self-understanding can help. Penguin.

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation
Midterm Test (25%)
Major Paper (40%)
Final Exam (35%)

Approved by: Sandra Noble