COUN6031 Approaches to Therapy I

Master Course Unit

COUN6031 Approaches to Therapy I

Level: Masters

Credit points: 4

Prerequisites: Counselling Skills and Advanced Counselling Applications

Unit description

This unit offers students an overview of the two major therapeutic schools of thought: Psychodynamic and Family/Systemic Therapy. It explores the history, theoretical underpinnings, and characteristic practices of each approach. Strategies used in each approach are identified and applied.  A critique of the overall efficacy of each approach is also undertaken.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to: 

  • identify the milestones in the historical development of psychodynamic theory
  • critique the different approaches of psychodynamic theory
  • demonstrate, analyse and evaluate the application of the psychodynamic theories in practice
  • analyse the implications, and application, of transference and countertransference
  • identify the milestones in the historical development of family systems theory
  • critique the different approaches of family systems
  • demonstrate, analyse, and evaluate the application of family systems theories in practice
  • analyse the implications for therapeutic practice of privileging the relationship in family therapy

Unit content

  • The Roots of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
  • Object Relations Theory: Klein and Winnicott and Jungian Psychology
  • Self Psychology and the Conversational Model
  • Intersubjectivity and Relational Theory
  • Transference, Countertransference and Interpretation
  • Empathy and the Therapeutic Relationship in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and Counselling
  • Historical Introduction
  • Structural Approaches
  • Experiential Approaches
  • Bowen and Transgenerational Patterns
  • Milan and Post Milan
  • Narrative and Brief Solution-Focused Approaches

Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 13 hours per week.

Assignment summary



Word count


Case Study




Academic 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

Wedding, D., & Corsini, R. J. (Eds.). (2014). Current psychotherapies (10th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

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.