Psychology (PSYC) 388

Introduction to Counselling (Revision 7)

PSYC 388

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online or grouped study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: PSYC 289 or PSYC 290 and credit in at least one senior-level psychology course or equivalent work experience are strongly recommended.

Precluded Course: PSYC 488 (PSYC 388 may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for PSYC 488.)

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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PSYC 388 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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PSYC 388 is a survey course designed to increase students' awareness of the field of counselling, including its evolution, processes, theories, and specialties. This course offers a broad survey of the field of counselling, including an introduction to the foundational skills and processes involved in counselling relationships. Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of counselling skills and processes through quizzes and written assignments; students in this course are not expected to apply these counselling skills in a placement or field experience.


Part 1: Historical and Professional Foundations of Counselling

  • Unit 1: Counselling in Canada: History and Trends
  • Unit 2: Personal and Professional Aspects of Counselling
  • Unit 3: Ethical and Legal Aspects of Counselling
  • Unit 4: Cultural Aspects of Counselling

Part 2: The Counselling Process and Assessment Interview

  • Unit 5: Building Counselling Relationships
  • Unit 6: Testing, Assessment, and the Diagnosis in Counselling
  • Unit 7: Working in a Counselling Relationship
  • Unit 8: Termination of Counselling Relationships

Part 3: Theories of Counselling

  • Unit 9: Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic Theories of Counselling
  • Unit 10: Behavioural and Cognitive Theories of Counselling
  • Unit 11: Humanistic Theories of Counselling
  • Unit 12: Postmodern and Crisis Theories of Counselling

Part 4: Specialties in the Practice of Counselling

  • Unit 13: Groups in Counselling
  • Unit 14: Career Counselling Over the Life Span
  • Unit 15: Marriage, Couple, and Family Counselling
  • Unit 16: Counselling Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults


To receive credit for PSYC 388, you must satisfactorily complete the four online quizzes, two written assignments, and the final exam. You must achieve a minimum grade of 50 per cent on the final exam and a minimum course composite grade of D (50 percent) or better.

Activity Weighting
4 Online Quizzes (5% each) 20%
Case Study 15%
Research Paper 30%
Final Exam 35%
Total 100%

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

Course Materials


Brandes, B. (Ed.) (2016). Introduction to counselling (2nd Custom edition). Toronto, ON: Athabasca University/Pearson Education Canada. Adapted from S. T. Gladding & K. G. Alderson.

Other Materials

All other course materials can be accessed online. The online materials include a Study Guide; Course Information Manual; Student Manual; APA 6th edition tutorial; and a Counselling, Guidance, and Psychotherapy interactive tutorial.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you 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 about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the PSYC 388 challenge registration, you must achieve a minimum grade of D (50 percent) on the final exam and a minimum composite grade of D (50 percent).

Activity Weighting
Research Paper 30%
Exam 70%
Total 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 7, October 14, 2016.

View previous syllabus