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COU5001 Couple and Family Counselling

Semester 1, 2019 Online
Short Description: Couple Family Counsel
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Psychology and Counselling
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 090513 - Counselling
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: James Brown


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: GCCO or GDCN or MCCO or PDEV or GCHH or GDHH or MOHH


Over the past 50 years the areas of couple and family therapies have developed significantly, in both theory and practice, in numerous settings including counselling, psychology, welfare, and community settings. Assisting couples and families requires specialist skills, and an understanding of the family, environmental and relationship contexts that impact on individuals. The aim of this course is to equip practitioners with the necessary skills to work with couples and families using an integrative approach.


The course will explore the application of interventions with couples and families particularly. The use of particular types of couple and family therapies will be explored, as well as an eclectic approach that provides specific interventions for relationship issues. Practical strategies and therapeutic processes relevant to the client group will be presented, as well as specific ethical and professional considerations when working with this population.


On successful completion of this course students will have:

  1. Demonstrate advanced and integrated understanding of the specific skills and strategies to effectively work with couples and families
  2. Demonstrate advanced understanding of major couple and family theoretical and practice frameworks, including systems theory
  3. Ability to identify and critically analyse and reflect upon ethical and professional issues as they relate to providing interventions to couples and families
  4. Apply knowledge and skills to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgement and an ability to correctly assess a couple’s or family’s needs, and to provide an appropriate intervention
  5. Demonstrate basic competency and responsibility as a practitioner with regard to engaging and working therapeutically with couples and families.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Overview of Relationship Counselling and Family Therapy 5.00
2. Ethical and professionals issues in couples and families 5.00
3. Assessment of Couples and Families 20.00
4. Process skills for Couples and Families 20.00
5. Family Therapy 20.00
6. Relationship Counselling for Couples 20.00
7. Relationship Counselling for Young People 5.00
8. Complex Cases 5.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Geldard, K., & Geldard, D 2009, Relationship Counselling for Children, Young People and Families, Sage, London.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
Goldenberg, H., & Goldenberg, I 2016, Family Therapy: an overview, 9th edn, Thomson Brooks/Cole, Belmont CA.
Gurman, AS 2015, Clinical handbook of couple therapy, 5th edn, The Guilford Press, NY.
Harway, M 2005, Handbook of Couples Therapy, Wiley, New Jersey.
Lowe, R 2004, Family Therapy: a constructive framework, Sage, London.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 55.00
Directed Study 54.00
Online Lectures 12.00
Private Study 44.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Quiz 100 25 26 Feb 2019 (see note 1)
Assignment 2 100 25 11 Apr 2019
Assignment 3 100 50 23 May 2019

  1. There will be four sets of Quiz's throughout the semester, utilising a multiple choice/short answer format. Dates and times open will be communicated on the Studydesk at the beginning of the semester.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students’ responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks for that item. Refer to Statement 4 below for the requirements to receive a passing grade in this course.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative items for the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    There is no examination in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Students must familiarise themselves with the USQ Assessment Procedures (

  2. If electronic submission is specified for a course assessment, students will be notified of this on the Course Study Desk. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment irrespective of holidays. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  3. If hardcopy submission is specified for a course assessment students will be notified of this on the Course Study Desk. The due date for a hardcopy assignment is the date by which a student must submit at USQ or despatch the assignment to USQ irrespective of holidays.

  4. USQ will NOT accept submission of assignments by facsimile or email unless expressly requested by the course examiner.

  5. APA style is the referencing system required in this course. Students must use 6th edition APA style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.

  6. Reliable access to the internet is a requirement of this course as the course contains electronic assessment and submission elements. Students who knowingly do not have reliable access to the internet should actively seek alternative internet access (e.g., Internet cafes, local libraries, or work places) for assessment submission and electronic assessment attempts. All students are able to use the on-campus student computer laboratories once access has been enabled. To be granted access, external students need to contact ICT and ask to have a student account enabled so that they can work on-campus.

Evaluation and benchmarking

In meeting the University’s aims to establish quality learning and teaching for all programs, this course monitors and ensures quality assurance and improvements in at least two ways. This course:
1. conforms to the USQ Policy on Evaluation of Teaching, Courses and Programs to ensure ongoing monitoring and systematic improvement.
2. forms part of the Graduate Certificate of Counselling, the Graduate Diploma of Counselling, and the Masters of Counselling, and is benchmarked against the:
o internal USQ accreditation/reaccreditation processes which include (i) stringent standards in the independent accreditation of its academic programs, (ii) close integration between business and academic planning, and (iii) regular and rigorous review;
o professional accreditation standards of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia Training Standards, 2014.

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in this course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect the same grades as those students who do possess them.