COUN5941 Family and Relationship Counselling

Graduate Diploma Level Unit

COUN5941 Family and Relationship Counselling

Level: Higher

Credit points: 3

Prerequisites: Counselling Skills 2

Unit description

This unit provides a basic conceptual framework, counselling skills and approaches for working with couples with families. The unit builds upon the individual client focus of Counselling Skills and Counselling Methods.

You are expected to integrate skills already acquired with the particular demands of working with couples and families within your workplace role.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to: 

  • adopt a family relationship framework, which entails an understanding of the similarities and differences between individual counselling and family and relationship counselling
  • identify and summarise the main theoretical approaches to family and relationship counselling
  • apply principles of systemic theory to family and relationship counselling
  • recognise the common issues presented for family and relationship counselling, as distinct from individual counselling
  • conduct an interview with a couple
  • conduct an interview with a family
  • assess the effectiveness of counselling for families and relationships

Unit content

  • Introducing the Family Relationship Framework
  • Understanding Family Systems
  • Conducting an Initial Interview
  • Working Systemically on Roles and Rules
  • Using In-Session Strategies
  • Identifying Critical Incident Problems
  • Identifying Common Long-Standing Problems
  • Helping Systems that are Disintegrating and Re-Forming
  • Counselling Sexual Issues
  • Handling Issues Involving Violence and Sexual Abuse
  • Counselling Cultural Diversity and Mediating
  • Terminating, Referring and Developing Professionally

Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 9.75 hours per week.

Assignment summary



Word count


Reflective Essay




Practice Session

Reflective Essay







Graduate attributes

The following graduate attributes will be developed in this unit:

  • Creative self-expression
  • Reasoned criticism
  • Multiple research methodologies
  • Complex data acquisition techniques and analysis
  • Written expression and reasoned argument from empirical data
  • Evaluating possible outcomes of alternative courses of action

Recommended text

Goldenberg, H., & Goldenberg, I. (2002). Counseling today’s families (4th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Relevant journals

American Journal of Family Therapy
Australia and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy
Australian Journal of Social Issues
Australian Social Work
Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal
Family and Community Health
Family Matters
Family Process
Psychotherapy Networker
Journal of Child and Family Studies
Journal of Family Practice
Journal of Family Therapy
Psychotherapy in Australia

Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. Please refer to for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of the semester.