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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 deeper understanding of couple therapy models and how various models might be integrated into one’s therapeutic practice
  • Critique the strengths, weaknesses, and distinctiveness of resources relevant to family therapy to inform the use of resources in one’s practice
  • Demonstrate increased awareness of one’s personal values and preferences regarding couple and family therapy and how this informs one’s practice
  • Utilizing appropriate treatment interventions, construct an integrative therapeutic treatment plan

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

You are responsible for ensuring that your computer system meets the necessary system requirements. Use the browser check tool to ensure your browser settings are compatible and up to date (results will be displayed in a new browser window).

*Course details are subject to change.

Enrol Now - Select a section to enrol in
Section Title
Theories and Methods of Couple Therapy
Friday, Sunday
9:00AM to 4:15PM
June 09, 2023 to June 23, 2023
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
  • Virtual
Delivery Options
Remote Instruction  
Potential Discount(s)
Section Notes

Course registration closes June 7, 2023.

This course uses CourseLink, the University of Guelph’s Learning Management System, and the video conferencing tool, Zoom. Please ensure you have the technical requirements to participate in the course.

Students will be given access to CourseLink prior to the start of the course date.

This course requires preparation prior to the first live online class. Details will be provided in the course outline in CourseLink.

You are required to attend all scheduled online synchronous (live online) sessions.

Assignments may be due after the final live online class date. Details will be provided in the course outline.

*If one or more classes need to be rescheduled due to extenuating circumstances, the rescheduled class will be held on Sunday, June 25, 2023 from 9:00am to 4:15pm (or portion thereof).

Please ensure that you are familiar with the Withdrawal, Transfer and Refund policy – Continuing Education Courses prior to registering for the course.

If you are new to online learning, we encourage you to visit our Online Learning at UofG resource page.

This course does not require the purchase of any textbooks or materials.

Section Materials
  • Textbook (Confirmed) (Mandatory) Clinical Handbook of Couple Therapy by LeBow, J. & Synder, D. 6th edition ISBN 9781462550128
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