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Course Description

Diverse people having discussion in a group support meeting

The course focuses on three major post-modern theories that continue to shape the field of family therapy. It provides a brief historical overview of the shift from modernism to post-modernism, exploring the philosophy, theory, and application of Collaborative, Narrative and Solution-Focused Therapies. Integration of these models with other models of family therapy will be considered, as well as some wider application to community-based work. The course models what it teaches, emphasizing a collaborative approach to teaching and learning. Students’ are invited to take part in a variety of active learning methods, including: didactic presentation, discussion, practice exercises, role-play, debate, and video demonstration. Students are encouraged to reflect on course content and discuss how theories presented can be integrated into one’s own practice.

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. Communicate a historical perspective on foundational family systems models, identifying more recent models that have evolved.
  2. Demonstrate skills in critically analyzing and comparing models of family therapy with respect to their theoretical assumptions, practical application, and their biases and limitations.
  3. Convey awareness of their own personal values and preferences regarding therapy and articulate the ways in which aspects of various models might be integrated into their own therapeutic practice.

Course Topics

The following key topics are addressed during the course:

  • Day 1: Course Overview, Historical Context, Introduction to Social Construction
  • Day 2: Solution Focused Therapy
  • Day 3: Narrative Therapy
  • Day 4: Collaborative Therapy
  • Day 5: Debate, Integration & Critique

Additional Requirements

Pre-requisite course: Theories & Methods of Family Therapy: Foundations of the Field

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 %
Class Participation and Reflective Journal 20
Class Debate 20
Integrated Paper 60


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).

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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