Skip To Content


Psychology (PSYC) 406

Introduction to Theories of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Revision 3)

PSYC 406 Course website

Revision 3 closed, replaced by current version.

View previous syllabus

Delivery Mode: Individualized study or grouped study. Online-enhanced.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: PSYC 290 and PSYC 388 are recommended.

Centre: Centre for Psychology

PSYC 406 has a Challenge for Credit option

Prospective students are encouraged to visit the course website to learn more about the course and online enhancements.

check availability


This course examines the basic tenets and therapeutic processes that characterize various theoretical approaches to counselling/psychotherapy. The models are clustered according to the four major forces in psychology: Psychodynamic (Psychoanalytic, Adlerian); Behavioural and Cognitive-Behavioural (Behavioural, Cognitive-Behavioural, Reality); Humanistic (Existential, Person-Centred, Gestalt); and Contextual/Systemic (Feminist, Family Systems, Multicultural). Emphasis is placed on critical analysis of the various approaches as well as self-reflection in relation to values, beliefs, assumptions about human nature, and worldview.


Section I: Basic Issues in Counselling Practice

Unit 1: Introduction and Overview

Unit 2: The Counsellor: Person and Professional

Section II: First Force: Psychodynamic Theories and Techniques

Unit 3: Psychoanalytic Theory

Unit 4: Adlerian Theory

Section III: Second Force: Behavioural and Cognitive-Behavioural Theories and Techniques

Unit 5: Behavioural Theory

Unit 6: Cognitive-Behavioural Theory

Unit 7: Control Theory/Reality Therapy

Section IV: Third Force: Humanistic Theories and Techniques

Unit 8: Existential Theory

Unit 9: Person-centred Theory

Unit 10: Gestalt Theory

Section V: Fourth Force: Contextual and Systemic Theories and Techniques

Unit 11: Feminist Theory

Unit 12: Family Systems Theory

Unit 13: Multicultural Theory

Section VI: Integration and Application

Unit 14: An Integrative Perspective


To receive credit for PSYC 406, you must satisfactorily complete the midterm and final exam and submit all the course assignments. You must achieve a grade of 50 percent or better on the final exam and a course composite grade of 50 percent or better. The passing grade for the course is “D” (50 percent). The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Mid-term Exam Case Study Personal Reflection Paper Final Exam Total
30% 25% 15% 30% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Corey, G. (2005). Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy. (7th ed.). Scarborough, ON: Brooks/Cole.

Corey, G. (2009). Case Approach to Counseling and Psychotherapy. (7th ed.). Scarborough, ON: Brooks/Cole.

Corey, G. (2005). Student Manual for Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy. (7th ed.). Scarborough, ON: Brooks/Cole.

Other Materials

The course materials include a course manual, a study guide, and an assignment manual.

Special Course Features

Digital Reading Room and streamed video clips.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

  • Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Policy
  • Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Procedures

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the PSYC 406 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least "D" 50 per cent on the final exam and a composite grade of “D” (50 percent).

Case study paper Exam Total
30% 70% 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 3, November 5, 2009.

View previous syllabus

Last updated by SAS  06/23/2015 14:39:48