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The Centre for Systemic Studies has grown out of the history of the Family Institute and its 50 years of practice and development in Wales. In 2020 Leah Salter and Billy Hardy formed the Community Interest Company- The Centre for Systemic Studies to build a new home for our community of learning. CSS is a not- for- profit organisation set up and continuously nourished to continue the work of the Family Institute as well as other community ventures. 

We have continued to provide the core training for Family Therapy in Wales by running Foundation, Intermediate and Supervision levels of training and we are working hard to develop the qualifying level of training. Watch this space for developments! 

CPD and other events all add to the community of practice, which we are delighted to offer as part of our repertoire. We have offered a range of CPD events since 2020 with many more to come. Please contact us if you wish to go on our mailing list and keep an eye on our events page. 

As former graduates of the Family Institute ourselves, with our supporters, colleagues and friends we aim to keep growing and continuously co-creating ever-evolving webs of systemic community. 



Co-Director, Centre for Systemic Studies

Course Lead, Intermediate level training

Leah's time spent studying and (at times) teaching at The Family Institute, Wales, was influenced by Narrative approaches and the potential for Systemic practice to not just be "just" at a localised level but to create and nurture global connections of justice doing practices- to expand what it means to be part of a community of systemic practice. 

That belief in the potential for systemic, solidarity approaches to make a difference in the world, led Leah to complete a doctorate at the University of Bedfordshire, where her research into solidarity group work practices also focused on social justice doing. 

She continues to work with the University of Bedfordshire on their doctoral (PDSP) programme, with NHS Wales (CTMUHB) and with various voluntary sector organisations/ groups through consultancy and supervisory practices. She is also a visiting fellow at The George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling (USW) and an Editor for Murmurations: Journal of Transformative Systemic Practice. 

 "Since setting up the Centre for Systemic Studies with Billy Hardy in 2020 I have loved teaching across all the courses and developing opportunities for Continuous Professional Development. I am excited to work with others to continue the legacy of The Family Institute and to nourish the vision that Billy, myself and others have for the future of this community."


Co-Director, Centre for Systemic Studies

Course Lead, Foundation level training

Julia’s systemic journey has been marked by a commitment to values and ethics deeply rooted in the culture of the Family Institute. Her professional journey began when she undertook her studies at the Family Institute, culminating in her qualification as a systemic psychotherapist in 2013. 

Julia’s work has spanned a wide range of settings, including the NHS, the third sector, local authorities, and in private practice. This diverse experience has allowed her to gain invaluable insights into the needs and challenges faced by individuals and families across various contexts. 

Julia is currently in pursuit of a doctorate in Systemic Practice at the University of Bedfordshire. Her doctoral research is focused on exploring the potential of systemic thinking to influence and enrich the experience of "liminal living."  She approaches her work with a keen awareness of the ethical considerations inherent in therapeutic practice, reflecting the enduring influence of the Family Institute culture on her approach.


Julia's journey in systemic practice continues to unfold in her current teaching on the CSS foundation course.



Core Tutor, Intermediate level training

Kieran has been one of the team at The Family Institute since 2004 – initially that was with the University of Glamorgan and later the University of South Wales. As part of the team he helped to develop innovative courses in Counselling and Psychotherapy using ‘systemic’ lenses.

Kieran was the Course Leader for the BSc Systemic Counselling – a ground-breaking course which helped over 200 students to become counsellors in the field. He also taught on the Foundation, Intermediate and Qualifying level courses in systemic psychotherapy.
Kieran was a member of the teams which offered psychotherapy services to the community as part of The Family Institute services. This was also a chance to practice in ways which informed all of the learning on the courses.

Kieran has presented his work at home and abroad and has been involved as a supervisor and consultant in the development of research, writing and practice projects throughout his time at the Institute. He continues collaborations with others in this way. (See Fragment -below; and SHIELDS (Systemic Hope in Engaging Learning Disability Systems).

He is excited that the Family Institute is renewing under the Centre for Systemic Studies and that within this frame, there are opportunities to expand some of the horizons for the development of systemic ideas through art and ecology projects. With this in mind he has agreed to become the Centre’s first poet-in-residence.


Read Kieran's poem titled

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Course Tutor, Foundation and Supervision level training

John completed his systemic psychotherapist studies at the Family Institute in 2005 while employed as a clinical psychologist in NHS Wales. Learning of the work of the Milan Team inspired him to develop and embed a family therapy service within his NHS adult mental health practice and a medium secure forensic service. John also provided teaching on the systemic strand of the South Wales Clinical Psychology Doctorate and provided numerous family therapy placements for trainee clinical and counselling psychologists.


John recently retired from the NHS. His current systemic teaching and practice are increasingly influenced by recent writings in the ecosystemic field. These influences show themselves not only in his professional work but personal life as John does weekly voluntary work in his local country park where he is now also employed as a part-time Assistant Park Ranger.

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1962 - 2024

We will greatly miss our dear colleague and friend Billy Hardy. He died peacefully surrounded and loved by family and friends. We are bereft, but our lives are enriched and our hearts the fuller for having known, worked and conversed with him. 

Billy remained active, future-oriented and good humoured in his final months. He continued to work hard to imagine with others a legacy which is the Centre for Systemic Studies. 

Billy began his career as a mental health nurse in Glasgow. He moved to Guernsey in 1982 where he worked as a mental health nurse before he came to live in Wales in 1984. He worked in Barry and as a mental health nurse and as a manager. He trained at the Family Institute in the 1990s while teaching at Swansea University on the nursing programmes there. He joined The Family Institute team in 1999 and played a key role, shortly afterwards, in negotiating the successful move from being a Bernardo’s project to becoming part of The University of Glamorgan in 2000 (later to become the University of South Wales). 


Over the next 20 years Billy helped to develop, teach on and evolve the suite of courses at The Family Institute. He was involved with many other projects and organisations during his time there - locally, nationally and internationally and many projects and organisations benefitted from his wisdom and his passion for ‘de-pathologising’ for community-based practices and relational learning contexts. He embodied the ethos of social learning. He was an inspirational consultant, supervisor, teacher and trainer, in multiple contexts.   

In 2020 The Family Institute separated from the University and become a project within the newly formed Centre for Systemic Studies - Billy’s brainchild. His hope for the Centre (CSS) - shared by his colleagues - was that it would continue to “home” The Family Institute and grow outwards to inspire and support other community projects. Billy and Leah set up CSS as a Community Interest Company (not for profit) for that reason. 

Billy will be remembered by many people as a champion of relational practices and an advocate for the impact that this way of being can have on mental health and wellbeing. He sometimes referred to himself as a “Systemic Firestarter”- who loved to create and sustain sparks of imagination in others. He is likely to be remembered as someone who believed in the potential of people to be the best of themselves. He was an incredible teacher, mentor and therapist. His warmth, creativity and good humour was infectious. He is rightly credited with transforming the lives of many. We miss him deeply - and will continue to develop his legacy. 

Read Billy's poem titled In The Clearing as featured on the Murmurations online journal and below is a podcast series where Billy and Keiran are in conversation.

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