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Childhood and Families in Difficult Circumstances

Code: 102582 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2502443 Psychology OT 4 2


Ana Maria Quero Fernandez

Teaching groups languages

You can check it through this link. To consult the language you will need to enter the CODE of the subject. Please note that this information is provisional until 30 November 2023.


Remedios Rubio García

External teachers

Anna Quero


No prerequisites and / or knowledge required to follow the subject correctly.
The students are asked for a minimum knowledge of the Spanish language to facilitate the monitoring of the classes.

Objectives and Contextualisation

The family structures of the contemporary world have a great complexity and diversity (single parent families, homoparentals, reconstituted, transnational ...), as well as in the context o difficulties (social exclusion, breakage of community ties, unemployment, precariousness, negligence, ...). In this subject, the theoretical bases will be addressed, from an ecosystemic perspective, which will allow us to analyze and make proposals for intervention, with a special emphasis on situations of intrafamilial abuse.

The training objectives are as follows:

a) Analyze the social contexts of difficulty for human development.

b) Introduce the analysis of family dynamics from an ecosystemic perspective.

c) Knowing the communicative processes and their main difficulties.

d) Apply the knowledge acquired to analyze situations of abuse o neglect inside the family

e) Announce the role of the psychologist in psycho-socio-educational intervention



  • Act with ethical responsibility and respect for fundamental rights and duties, diversity and democratic values.
  • Analyse and interpret the results of the evaluation.
  • Apply knowledge, skills and acquired values critically, reflexively and creatively.
  • Communicate efficiently, using the appropriate media (oral, written or audio-visual) taking into account diversity and all elements that may ease communication or make it more difficult.
  • Distinguish and relate the principles of psychosocial functioning of groups and organizations.
  • Identify and describe the processes and stages in psychological development through the life cycle.
  • Interact through effective teamwork with the other professionals involved.
  • Make changes to methods and processes in the area of knowledge in order to provide innovative responses to society's needs and demands.
  • Prepare and write technical reports on the results of the evaluation, research or services requested.
  • Recognise the social dimension of human beings, considering historical and sociocultural factors involved in shaping human psychology.
  • Take account of social, economic and environmental impacts when operating within one's own area of knowledge.
  • Take sex- or gender-based inequalities into consideration when operating within one's own area of knowledge.
  • Use adequate tools for communication.
  • Work in a team.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyse a situation and identify its points for improvement.
  2. Analyse the interactions within the family groups considering the generational, gender and culture perspective.
  3. Analyse the relationship between the family system and other related systems.
  4. Apply knowledge, skills and acquired values critically, reflexively and creatively.
  5. Apply theoretical concepts in the analysis cases.
  6. Assess how stereotypes and gender roles impact professional practice.
  7. Assess the impact of the difficulties, prejudices and discriminations that actions or projects may involve, in the short or long term, in relation to certain persons or groups.
  8. Assess the possible impact that evaluations have on the people evaluated.
  9. Assess the results of an evaluation process.
  10. Communicate in an inclusive manner avoiding the use of sexist or discriminatory language.
  11. Critically analyse the principles, values and procedures that govern the exercise of the profession.
  12. Describe the processes and stages of individual development and family groups.
  13. Explain the explicit or implicit deontological code in your area of knowledge.
  14. Identify elements of functional and dysfunctional communication.
  15. Identify situations in which a change or improvement is needed.
  16. Identify the elements that influence communication and organization of work.
  17. Identify the principal forms of sex- or gender-based inequality and discrimination present in society.
  18. Link the data to the theoretical approach adopted to articulate the data obtained with the intervention to be performed.
  19. Make proposals for improving communication processes.
  20. Make proposals for improving teamwork
  21. Pay special attention to age and cultural identification of the persons to whom the reports are addressed.
  22. Propose new experience-based methods or alternative solutions.
  23. Propose projects and actions that are in accordance with the principles of ethical responsibility and respect for fundamental rights and obligations, diversity and democratic values.
  24. Propose suggestions for improvement of those assessments.
  25. Propose ways to evaluate projects and actions for improving sustainability.
  26. Recognise and analyse the psychological and social mechanisms for addressing the vital tasks according to the stages and processes of development.
  27. Relate the different socio-historical and cultural factors that enable development in general, of emotional nature and of gender.
  28. Show an open disposition and a favourable attitude to cooperation.
  29. Use adequate tools for communication.
  30. Use appropriate language and expression to facilitate understanding of the reports by the recipients.
  31. Work in a team.


Block I: Introduction
1. Needs of childhood.
1.1 Concepts of childhood.
1.2 Needs of childhood.
1.3 Rights of the childhood.

Block II:
2. Ecological framework.
2.1 Ecological approach: risk factors and protection.
2.2 Vulnerability and resilience.

3. The family as a system.
3.1 Structural and functional aspects.
3.2 Conjugality.
3.3 Parentality.
3.4 The attachement.

Block III:
4. Family games.
4.1 Dysfunctional dinamics in abused and neglected families.
4.2 The abuse as a relationship.

5. The abuse and neglect
5.1 Typologies.
5.2 Characteristics.
5.3 Possible explanations.
5.4 Consequences.
5.5 Child protection systems and professional coordination.


This subject has a basic structure focused on different directed activities. These are structured in three modalities:

1 • Master classes with a whole group where the key concepts are exposed.

2 • Seminars in the classroom: where from cases and articles, the interview will be worked from the systemic perspective. They will consist in the learning and implementation of the systemic interview.

Topics to talk about:
• Communication skills: Verbal and non-verbal language
• Interviewer Feelings
• The Systemic Circular Interview as intervention

3. • Clinical practices (1/12) where students will participate in a clinical case outside the UAB campus.

Monday: Psychiatry Service of the Hospital of Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona. (Pavilion 18). You have to sign up for the Moodle calendar!

The supervised activities will consist in the supervision of group work. It implies a follow-up of the entire training process and will be done in small groups.

The autonomous activities include the readings, the personal study and deepening in the content of the subject, for the elaboration of the evaluation works.


Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
1/12 group: participated in a clinical session 24 0.96 2, 3, 5, 14, 16, 12, 27
Participated in a clinical session (1/12 4 0.16 2, 4, 5, 14, 16, 28, 21, 12, 26, 27, 18, 31, 29
Seminars, small groups 8 0.32 2, 3, 4, 5, 14, 16, 28, 12, 26, 27, 18, 30, 29
Type: Supervised      
small group tutorials 21 0.84 2, 3, 4, 5, 20, 14, 16, 28, 21, 12, 27, 31, 30, 29, 9
Type: Autonomous      
readings, preparation and presentation of works 93 3.72 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 14, 28, 21, 12, 26, 27, 18, 31, 30, 9


This subect does not consider single assessment. 

The competences of this subject will be evaluated through individual and group activities.

The evaluation system is organized into 4 evidences, each of which will be assigned a specific weight in the final grade:

Evidence 1 (35%): Group work where students must apply the theoretical concepts of topics 1 and 2 in the analysis of a case.

Evidence 2 (35%): Group work where students should apply the theoretical concepts of topics 3, 4 and 5 in the analysis of a case.

Evidence 3 (20%): Group delivery: presentation of a systemic circular interview script.

Evidence 4 (10%): Group work with individual contribution about the clinical session.

Evidence 5 (10%)Individual work . Analisys of a text


Evidence Code





EV 1

Analysis of a case (Themes and 2)




Group / week 8

EV 2

Analysis of a case (Themes 3,4. 5)




Group / week 18

EV 3

Scripture Systemic Circular Interview




Group / week 13


Clinical session report




Individual/ end of course

Rules of the evaluation system  

Evaluable student  It will be considered "non-assessable" the student who attends: Have delivered evaluative evidence with a total weightof less than 40% of the grade.
The estudent is considered APPROVED if  presents receivesa weighted final grade => 5 and has obtained at least the 50% of the grade for evidences 1, 2, 3, and 4. In case of not meeting these requirements, the maximum grade to consign in the academic transcript will be 4.5 points.
Resit: Students that throughout the continuous assessment has made evidence with a weight equal to or greater than 2/3 of the total score and has obtained a score lower than 5 points and greater than or equal to 3.5 points can do reassessment of evidences 1 and/or 2. The grade awarded for the re-assessed evidence will replace that obtained previously in the respective evidence and the final mark will be recalculated following the same rules than that for the continuous assessment. 
The treatment of individual cases will be attended by the teaching team that imparts the subject during student attention hours.
No unique final synthesis test for students who enrole for the second time or more is anticipated.
For more information about the evaluation criteria of the Faculty of Psychology: (https://www.uab.cat/web/estudiar/graus/graus/avaluacions-1345722525858.html)

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Evidence 1: group work where students will have to apply the theoretical concepts of blocks 1 and 2 to the analysis of a case. 35% 0 0 2, 3, 4, 8, 10, 13, 21, 26, 27, 18, 31, 30, 9
Evidence 2: group work where students will have to apply the theoretical concepts of blocks 3 and 4 to the analysis of a case. 35% 0 0 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 13, 19, 14, 16, 21, 24, 12, 26, 27, 18, 30, 29, 9
Evidence 3: group delivery: presentation of a reflection on the work done in the classroom or on field work (depending on the mode chosen by the student). 20% 0 0 11, 4, 5, 20, 17, 15, 28, 25, 22, 24, 18, 29, 6, 7
Evidence 4: group report of the clinical session 10% 0 0 1, 4, 8, 19, 15, 23, 24, 18


Bibliografía básica

Barudy, J. &Dantagnan, M. (2005). Los buenos tratos a la infancia. Gedisa.

Barudy, J. (1998): El dolor invisible de la infancia. Paidós.

Cirillo, S.; Di Blasio, P. (1991): Niños maltratados. Paidós.

Cirillo,S, (2012) : Malos Padres. Modelos de intervención para reciperar la capacidad de ser padre y madre.Gedisa

Cyrulnilk, B. (2001). Los patitos feos. Gedisa.

Linares, J. L. (2002). Del abuso y otros desmanes. Paidós

Crittenden P.APEGO Y PSICOPATOLOGIA .Sociedad de Terapia Cognitiva posracionalista Traduccion Antonio Castro Cádiz http://familyrelationsinstitute.org/include/espanol/docs/vinculo-y-psicopatologia.pdf

Falicov, C. J. (2007). El trabajo con inmigrantes transnacionales: Expandiendo los significados de Familia, comunidad y cultura. Family Process, 46: 147-151

Walsh, F. (2005). Resiliencia familiar: un marco de trabajo para la práctica clínica. Sistemas familiares, 21: 76:96.

Watzlawick, P.; Beavin, J.H.; Jackson,D. (1967): Teoría de la comunicación humana. Herder.

Bibliografia addicional

Arruabarrena, M. I.; de Paúl, J. (1994): Maltrato a los niños en la familia. Evaluación y tratamiento. Pirámide

Campanini, A.; Luppi, F. (1991): Servicio social y modelo sistémico. Paidós.

Casas, F. (1998): Infancia: perspectivas psicosociales. Paidós

Cirillo, S. (1994): El cambio en los contextos no terapeuticos. Paidós.

Coletti, M.; Linares, J.L. (1997): La intervención sistémica en los servicios sociales ante la familia multiproblematica. Paidós.

De Paúl, J; Arruabarrena, M. I. (1996): Manual de protección infantil. Masson

Malacrea, M. (2000): Trauma y reparación. El tratamiento del abuso sexual en la infancia. Paidós.