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Course Description

Expand your awareness of ideologies and practices of power in couple relationships and therapy. Explore multiple forms of power on clients, therapists, and the therapeutic relationship—including those related to colonialism, racism and white supremacy, misogyny, capitalism, and heteronormativity—and the assumptions and practices of couple therapy itself. Examine challenging clinical situations that bring processes of power to light, and reflect on the self of the therapist as a site of both power and resistance.

This course takes place at a moment in history when global events and social movements are forcing the couple therapy field to reckon with injustice in new ways. Given the rapidly changing social discourse and the field's slower responses to it, the course will evolve as necessary.

Class dialogues take place within a respectful and collaborative framework that values humility, bravery, and thoughtful discussion. This interactive course uses a variety of teaching and learning processes to help translate theory into practice for contemporary systemic therapists. Most discussions, interactive methods, and assignments require reflection on personal values, assumptions, and experience.

You are expected to bring a working knowledge of couple therapy theories and methods to the course (See prerequisite below).

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

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Demonstrate couple therapy theoretical knowledge and practical skills related to key aspects of narrative, social constructionist, systemic, and emotionally focused therapy for couples
  • Engage in critical analysis of couple therapy theories and practices
  • Consider differing perspectives on issues of social location, power, and oppression as they influence the therapeutic process
  • Evaluate one’s couple practice and identify preferred approaches for working with clients
  • Exhibit advanced oral and written communication skills, as well as strengthened ability to engage in generative dialogues
  • Work collaboratively with colleagues and clients in a context where diverse and sometimes opposing views, complex explanations, and challenging dilemmas are part of the process

Course Topics

  • Assumptions and Ideologies Underpinning Present Day Couple Therapy
  • The Effects of Colonial Histories on Intimate Relationships and the Practice of Couple Therapy
  • Couple Therapy as Both a 'Psy' Discipline and an Antidote to the 'Psy' Disciplines
  • Couple Therapy Practices as Technologies of Power
  • White Supremacy, Misogyny, Heteronormativity and Their Effects in Couple Therapy
  • What Queer Theory, Feminism, Anti-Racist and Anti-Colonial Scholarship, and Post-Structural Thought Offer the Modern-Day Couple Therapist
  • Using Focused Curiosity and Persistent Questioning to Challenge Oppressive Patterns and Practices Without Replicating Them
  • How to Bring Forth Accountability, Reconciliation and Repair in the Aftermath of Harm

Additional Requirements

  • Prerequisite course: Theories and Methods of Couple Therapy
  • Note: If you wish to take the course but have not completed the prerequisite, 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
Questions about Readings 72%
Facilitating Dialogues about Power: Transcript Analysis 28%
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.


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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