Graduate Counselling and Applied Psychology (GCAP) 654

Family Therapy: Theory and Practice (Revision 1)


Delivery Mode: Paced study; online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Graduate Studies

Prerequisite: GCAP 631, GCAP 633 and GCAP 671

Faculty: Faculty of Health Disciplines

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GCAP 654: Family Therapy – Theory and Practice provides a graduate-level introduction to major models of family therapy, invites students to reflect on their personal lives through the lens of family systems therapies, and requires students to apply family systems concepts to counselling situations (actual or simulated).


  • Lesson 1: Introduction and Definition of Family Therapy
  • Lesson 2: Philosophical Foundations of Family Therapy
  • Lesson 3: The Calgary Family Assessment Model
    • Case Conceptualization, Clinical Assessment, and Treatment Planning
  • Lesson 4: The Developmental Dimension - The Family Life Cycle
    • The Role of Theory in Family Therapy
  • Lesson 5: External Family Structure - Cultural and Larger Systems
  • Lesson 6: Internal Family Structure - Structural-Strategic Family Therapy
  • Lesson 7: Meshing the Structural Dimension and the Functional Dimension - Bowen Family Systems Therapy
  • Lesson 8: The Functional Dimension - Instrumental and Expressive Functioning
    • Behavioral Approaches to Family Therapy
  • Lesson 9: The Functional Dimension - Emotional Expression
    • Emotionally Focused Therapy and The Satir Growth Model
  • Lesson 10: The Functional Dimension - Problem-Solving and Interactional Patterns
    • MRI Strategic Therapy and Solution-Focused Therapy
  • Lesson 11: The Functional Dimension - Beliefs and Meaning
    • Narrative Therapy and Collaborative Language Systems Therapy
  • Lesson 12: Feminist Critique and Approaches to Family Therapy
    • Ethical Issues in Family Therapy
  • Lesson 13: CFAM Revisited - Where Do I Go From Here? Planning for Continuing Competence and Further Skill Development

Course Evaluation

To receive credit for GCAP 654, students must submit all of the course assignments. The passing grade for the course is B- (70%). The weighting of assignments is as follows.

Course Assignments

The assessment structure for GCAP 654: Family Therapy: Theory and Practice is based on the following course activities, with the percentage weighting of each activity as indicated. Your final grade for the course will be a composite mark based on your performance in these course activities.

Course Activity Weight
Participation in Online Discussions 20%
Assignment 1: Genogram and Family Life Cycle Paper 20%
Assignment 2: Topic-Directed Family Systems Paper 30%
Assignment 3: Family Assessment Paper 30%
Total 100%

Course Materials

All course materials are available online.

Other Information

Students with a disability, who require academic accommodation, need to register with the Access to Students with Disabilities Centre at Athabasca University. Notification of the need for academic accommodation must normally be provided to the program office no later than fourteen (14) days prior to the first day of class. It is the student's responsibility to register with the Disability Centre to request academic accommodation if required and to notify the instructor that such accommodation has been requested. Every reasonable effort will be made to accommodate individual student needs. However, because GCAP courses are paced, all student are required to participate weekly in the online discussion forums. There are also several courses where online exams are required.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice.

Opened in Revision 1, April 2011.