Psychology (PSYC) 406

Introduction to Theories of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Revision 4)

PSYC 406 Course Cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: PSYC 290 and PSYC 388 are recommended.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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PSYC 406 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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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 assessment and final exam, submit all the course assignments, and participate in the social networking activity. 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:

Activity Weighting
Mid-term Assessment 25%
Case Study 25%
Social Networking Activity 5%
Personal Reflection Paper 15%
Final Exam 30%
Total 100%

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

Course Materials


Corey, G. (2011). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. (7th ed.). Scarborough, ON: Brooks/Cole.

Corey, G. (2009). Student manual for theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. (7th ed.). Scarborough, ON: Brooks/Cole.


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Corey, G. (2013). Case approach to counseling and psychotherapy. (8th ed.). Scarborough, ON: Brooks/Cole.

Other Materials

All other materials can be accessed online via the course website.

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 406 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) on the final exam and a composite grade of D (50 percent).

Activity Weighting
Case study 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 4, April 23, 2012

View previous syllabus