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Course Description

This is an advanced elective course focusing on strategies to promote therapeutic change. Modern and Post Modern theories and models are reviewed with respect to their concepts and principles of change and change practices. Therapist and client system beliefs and understandings of change are explored in relation to therapeutic outcomes. Students will have the opportunity to experiment with hypotheses construction, intervention design, reframes, questions, metaphors, rituals, collaborative conversations, storytelling, externalization, reflective teams and others. The instructional model will require a high degree of student participation and interaction. Case scenarios, presentations, role plays and videotaped material will be utilized to illustrate intervention strategies. 

This course is typically recognized by AAMFT as a Therapy course.

Designed For

Counsellors, therapists, social workers, mental health workers, pastoral / faith-based, and other practitioners seeking to build or enhance their practical skills and theoretical foundation in couple and family therapy, as well as those exploring therapy as a career.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Articulate the concepts of change underlying various therapy approaches and their corresponding direct and indirect intervention strategies. (Strategic, Bowen, Narrative, Solution Focused, Social Constructivist and others.)
  2. Demonstrate verbal and written ability to critique and to apply theoretical conceptualizations and change processes of selected modern/post-modern couple & family therapy approaches to case-study and client situations.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to articulate tentative, “systemic” hypotheses and to translate their conceptualization into therapeutic conversations and change processes that are consistent with the selected practice model.
  4. Develop an initial working personal practice model that they apply to a clinical situation highlighting the assumptions, beliefs and theories that direct their clinical practice, including hypothesizing, therapeutic goal setting and intervention considerations and application.
  5. Utilize the AAMFT code of ethics to reflect upon the indications and contraindications of using various direct and indirect interventions with client systems to ensure that they are consistently mindful of the best interest of clients and professional accountability.

Course Topics

The following key topics are addressed during the course:

  • Day 1: Introduction to Concepts of Change: Concepts & Models of Change; Theory and Change Practices; Hypothesis Formulation
  • Day 2: What is Intervention: Modern Therapy Based Interventions; Process versus Content; Questions; Reframes
  • Day 3: Intervention Design: Therapist Use of Self; Creativity; Mindfulness & Emotions; Rituals
  • Day 4: Post-Modern Interventions: Metaphors; Story Telling; Therapeutic Conversations; Externalization; Reflecting Teams
  • Day 5: Therapist Client System Interventions: Solutions; Therapeutic Letters; Transference/Vicarious Trauma; What works?; Ethics, Evaluating and Celebrating Change

Additional Requirements

Pre-requisite course: Completion of one Theories and Methods core course.

Note: If you wish to take the course but have not completed the pre-requisite, please contact Beverley Fretz, Manager, Program Development at bfretz@uoguelph.ca


Assignment Weight %
Hypothesizing - Case Study 15
Reflective Practice Self Evaluation 15
Change Reflections Journal 30
Intervention Application Paper OR Independent Project 40


The course is offered jointly by the Ontario Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (OAMFT) and the University of Guelph, Open Learning and Educational Support (OpenEd).


No text is required. Course materials will be provided online via Courselink.

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

*Course details are subject to change.


Thank you for your interest in this course. Unfortunately, the course you have selected is currently not open for enrolment. Please complete a Course Inquiry so that we may promptly notify you when enrolment opens.

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