This unit will apply a broad understanding of couples counselling. It will explore and evaluate approaches towards assessment, case conceptualisation and treatment, focussing on contemporary relationship issues that are typically presented. A number of theoretical perspectives will be introduced and various skills, techniques interventions will be explored; linking theory to practice. There will also be an emphasis on the ethical issues specific to couples counselling, integration of culturally sensitive practice, and consideration of relevant Christian perspectives.

Unit code: DZ3250S

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Counselling

Proposing College: Stirling College

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Learning outcomes


Evaluate relationship assessments to determine a range of presenting issues and plan for treatment.


Develop foundational knowledge of contemporary presenting issues and their impact on relational dynamics; applying a culturally sensitive lens.


Critically analyse theoretical models specific to pre-marital and couples counselling, including Christian perspectives with sound theological reflection.


Apply a range of counselling skills, techniques and interventions when working with couples.


Integrate key ethical principles into relationship counselling practice.

Unit sequence

Within the Bachelor of Counselling, Relationship Counselling is a Core Unit that builds on learning from individual counselling practice. It involves working with couples in counselling, or with an individual on relationship issues. Core counselling units in the Advanced Diploma in Counselling must be complete to enrol in this unit.


This unit is intended for on-line delivery that includes on-line and/or face-to-face classes. Student engagement is by way of an interactive lecture approach, discussion, analysis of assigned texts and models and relationship counselling workshop learning activities with a mid-semester online tutorial.

Indicative Bibliography

Required for all students

  • Clinton, T., & Trent, J. (2009). A quick reference guide to Marriage & Family Counseling. Baker Books. eBook available. And:

  • Gottman, J., and Schwartz Gottman, J. (2018). The Science of Couples and Family Therapy. Behind the Scenes at the Love Lab. W. W. Norton and company. eBook available.

  • Johnson, S. (2020). The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy . Third Edition. Routledge. eBook available.

  • Other resources

  • Chapman, G. (2018). Loving your spouse when you feel like walking away. Moody Publishers. eBook available.

  • Clinton, T., & Laaser, M. (2010). *A quick reference guide to Sexuality & Relationship Counselling. Baker Books.

  • Connie, E. (2012). Solution Building in Couples Therapy. Springer Publishing Company.

  • Dallos, R. (2006). Attachment Narrative Therapy. Open University Press.

  • Harley, W. (2011). His needs, Her needs. How to have an affair proof marriage. F H Revell.

  • Ripley, J., & Worthington, E. (2014). Couple Therapy A New Hope Focused Approach. InterVarsity Press.

  • Schnarch, D. (2009). Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships. W. W. Norton and company.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Learning Resource - Written Assessment – Pre-Marital Plan 750 15.0
Book Review - Written Assessment - Book Review and Reflection 750 15.0
Case Study - Written Assessment - Case Study 1500 30.0
Essay - Written Assessment – Major Essay 2000 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 18 Sep, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2020-09-18 15:33:54 +1000