Director of IFT

We are delighted to announce that Dr Rachel Watson has now taken up the post of Director of the Institute of Family Therapy.

Rachel is an experienced systemic family psychotherapist, supervisor, trainer, and leader. Rachel trained at IFT, and taught on the foundation level courses between 2005-2009, so in this sense the appointment is a ‘homecoming’.

Prior to taking up the post of Director she was Lead Clinician and Professional Lead for Systemic Practice in Cambridgeshire Children’s Social Care for 5 years, having worked in the service previously. She was responsible for a large team working with families across all service areas, successfully growing and sustaining an innovative service. Prior to this she worked in different areas of child and adolescent mental health services in the NHS in London, including community child and adolescent mental health services, adolescent residential services, and in adult mental health settings.

Rachel comes from a northern white-british background, is married to a man, and is a mother. She is interested in how systemic practice takes place using dialogue to create inclusive conversations. She completed her doctoral research at the Tavistock on this topic and has introduced the concept of Jointly Created Authorityfrom Conversational Analysis literature, showing how examining the minutiae of talk can invite understanding of how power operates at different levels, and has recently published this work in the Journal of Family Therapy (1).

Throughout her career to date Rachel has looked to develop innovative approaches to address organisational service dilemmas. She has successfully delivered a number of projects looking to increase access to services for different groups of people and invite collaborative effective responses by services. Rachel’s current areas of interest include working with complex situations with multi-agency networks where risks are high; and using systemic practice to address dilemmas of leaders and managers in complex organisations, particularly at times of transformation (2).

(1) Watson, R. (2018) Jointly created authority: a conversation analysis of how power is managed by parents and systemic psychotherapists in children’s social care. Journal of Family Therapy Early release:

(2) Watson, R. (2018) Familiar ideas for changing times, our Cambridgeshire experience continued: using ‘approach, method, technique’ to address innovation and sustainability. Context. Issue 159 pp. 9-13.

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