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Course Description

Two men in a counselling session with a female counselor mediating their session.

Critically examine and compare selected approaches to couple therapy theory and practice. Explore foundational models that highlight both modern and post-modern approaches to couple therapy—including structural, emotionally-focused, solution-oriented, and narrative—while reviewing other models for comparative purposes. Meta-theories are considered as a means of inviting intentional integration and conceptualization in couple therapy.

Consider how social justice ideas influence approaches to therapy and address issues of inclusion, diversity, power, privilege, and marginalization. We will also examine specific clinical issues that frequently present in couple therapy. You are invited to critically reflect on how these models may fit into your own integrative approach to couple therapy.

This course is typically recognized by CAMFT and AAMFT as a couple/marriage and family therapy or studies course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a clinical understanding of selected theoretical models of couple therapy, and appreciation for the distinctions between the models
  • Exhibit skills for critical analysis of various couple therapy theories and practices
  • Demonstrate integration of the various theoretical models and skills for locating your own preferred approaches
  • Display ability to use various approaches when working with couples
  • Demonstrate ability to work safely and effectively with diverse couples by attending to systemic and contextual factors, for example issues that relate to power, privilege and oppression
  • Transfer classroom learning into contribution to generative, collaborative learning and practice environments that respect diversity and complexity

Course Topics

  • Definition, History, Foundational Concepts
  • Approaches to Couple Therapy
  • Empirical Support for Couple Therapy
  • Common Factors in Couple Therapy
  • Social and Contextual Factors in Couple Therapy
  • Structural Couple Therapy
  • Integrative Behavioural Couple Therapy
  • Narrative Couple Therapy
  • Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy
  • Solution Focused Couple Therapy
  • Gottman Couple Therapy
  • Commonly occurring issues in Couple Therapy: Sex, Addictions, Mental Health, Infidelity, Intimate Partner Violence
  • Comparative Analysis of Couple Therapy Approaches
  • Case Conceptualization and Clinical Documentation
  • Future Directions in Couple Therapy

Job Market Overview


Additional Requirements

  • Prerequisite course: Theories and Methods of Family Therapy: Foundations of the Field
  • Note: If you wish to take the course but have not completed the prerequisites, please contact our main office.
  • As well as scheduled instruction time, you can expect to spend approximately five to ten hours per week on course readings, activities, and/or assignments.
  • Course assignments are completed up to four weeks following the final day of the course.


Assessment Item Weight
Class Participation 20%
Group Presentation and Summary 30%
Applied Critical Analysis and Theory Application 50%
Total 100%

Please note that the course assessment is subject to change.

Sponsoring Partner

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.


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