Online Courses

woman taking online courses
Course Details
Price $29.00

Modern Systems Thinking for Psychotherapy (2 CE Credits)

Systems thinking differs from rationalism and empiricism in that it requires us to think in terms of patterns and relationships, rather than in terms of “truths” or things “out there” to be discovered, diagnosed, medicated, or removed.


Course Objectives

As a result of this learning activity, the participant will be able to:

  • explicate systems models of complexity and chaos theory as they may apply to the larger framework of a systems epistemology,
  • compare and contrast systems principles of nonlinearity with traditional principles underlying the behavioral sciences,
  • compare and contrast systems principles of nonlinearity with traditional theories of psychotherapy, and
  • apply systems principles to the psychological treatment of clients.


Course Content and Details


Category: .

Product Description

Modern Systems Theory for Psychotherapy

Modern Systems Theory for Psychotherapy-Ambiguous FigureThis course on modern systems theory for psychotherapy focuses on relationships and systems as the context for studying people.  This epistemology is still greatly underappreciated by many in the behavioral sciences and certainly by psychology. 

Systems thinking differs from rationalism and empiricism in that it requires us to think in terms of patterns and relationships, rather than in terms of things “out there” to be diagnosed, mediated, or removed.  Unlike systems theory,  rationalism and empiricism presuppose that there is a truth “out there” to be discovered, that truth is uncovered by sound linear logic and evidence, and that truth is a constant and an absolute.  Consider, for example, the familiar and often unchallenged sequence: if A > B, and B > C, then A > C.  But what if A is rock, B is paper, and C is scissors?  Now, their relationships cannot be understood in a linear fashion.  As in human relationships, it may be that A > B, B > C, and C > A.

In this intriguing course on modern systems theory for psychotherapy, constructs maintained by general systems theory, cybernetics, information and communication theory, complexity theory, and chaos theory are discussed, as they may be applied to an understanding of clinical work and our patients.

Source for ambiguous image: By Brocken Inaglory (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons. 



Michael J. Gerson, PhDThe Instructor is Dr. Michael J. Gerson, an experienced Marriage and Family Therapist, Psychologist, and Psychoanalyst in California.  He has been training clinicians for over 30 years, in his private practice, in community counseling centers, as a professor of Psychology in graduate programs, and as a presenter at professional meetings for clinicians. He is a core faculty member of the Graduate School of Psychology at California Lutheran University, and renowned for his depth of understanding of the therapeutic process and for his keen ability to translate complex concepts into terms that are clear and that can be applied to the clinician’s own work.

Dr. Gerson has served as a member of the National Advisory Panel and California Advocacy Committee and as the Chair of the Legislative Advisory Board for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT).  He has presented on modern systems theory for psychotherapists at the annual convention of the AAMFT.


Program Information


Conflicts of Interest or Commercial Support

There is no commercial support or other potential conflicts of interest for this program, presentation, or instructor.


Commitment to Diversity and Accessibility

We are committed to respecting diversity in all of its forms, including age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, language, socioeconomic status, religion, and disability. We also strive to make all of our activities accessible to individuals with special needs or disabilities. Please contact the Director at if you ever have any questions or concerns regarding any of our programs.


Sources and Relevance

Our programs and teaching methods are supported by current, empirically-based scientific literature, and are designed to provide continuing education that is relevant to psychological practice, education, and/or research, so that psychologists may maintain and expand their ability to serve the public and contribute to the profession.


Target Audience

Our courses are designed for postdoctoral-level psychologists; this course is an intermediate-level course. All mental health professionals, educators, and researchers have a variety of educational backgrounds and needs—if you have any questions about whether this course could benefit you and/or would be appropriate for your level of training, please do not hesitate to contact us. You may contact the Director directly at with any questions or concerns.


Course Schedule

This course will be available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you will be able pace yourself in a manner that is comfortable for you.


Cost and Refund/Cancellation Policy

The cost of the course is noted below; there are no additional fees. Your satisfaction is important to us. If you are not satisfied with a course, please let us know immediately—we will cancel your order and gladly offer you a full refund.


Course Format Summary

The course consists of a video presentation of PowerPoint slides accompanied by an audio narrative by Dr. Gerson.  An online multiple choice test and Certificate of Completion follow the course for 2 CE credits.  Intermediate level.  $29.


Subscribe to
Our Newsletter

Connect With Us