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Couples’ Counselling Training

Introduction to Couples’ Counselling

Therapist Couples’ Counselling Training

ICC-400 Introduction to Couples’ Counselling

This course in a nutshell:
Discussion Topics: Problems commonly reported in a couples’ relationship. Various approaches used to evaluate a couple’s interpersonal processes; the impact of cultural and personal variables from original family systems on current marriage and/or partnership dynamics.
Skills: You will learn to use various techniques commonly used in couple counselling, i.e., genograms, empathic listening, problem solving, and dealing with anger.

Course Objective:

Introduction to Couples Counselling(ICC-400) offers a way of understanding related theories and practicing the clinical skills necessary to effectively treat issues within the context of a couple’s relationship. Students will learn to apply concepts and techniques in the assessment and treatment phases of couples counseling. The focus of the couples’ counseling models introduced in this course is to assist couples to resolve conflicts resulting from maladaptive patterns stemming from original family systems. Students will also learn how to administer and interpret genograms to help the couple explore intergenerational patterns leading to conflict within the relationship.


This course will cover theories and practical techniques used in couples counselling. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the multi-generational dynamics that contribute to the causes of conflict, identifying problematic communication patterns, and implementing treatment approaches.

The text focus the theory and treatment approach on identifying the couple’s patterns, and self-perpetuating and reinforcing behaviors; and examine the generational roots with sensitivity and respect for the couple’s struggles. The text also identifies the importance of recognizing how the relationship gets stuck in maladaptive patterns and behaviors, and that it is possible to sort out the complexities of relationships and to reach new levels of understanding and change in a brief period of time.

Understanding the various counseling theories is essential to providing measurable success when working with couples and families. Integrating these theories into appropriate techniques can be applied to the following phases of the counselling process:

  • Conducting assessment procedures,
  • Identifying the problem,
  • Setting measurable goals,
  • Constructing a treatment plan,
  • Establishing trust and a therapeutic alliance,
  • Implementing appropriate counselling techniques.
  • Measuring the efficacy of the treatment process.

In addition, the couple’s culture, traditional family values, and social developmental issues must be taken into account when working with individuals within family systems.


What you will learn:

Your level of proficiency and competence with the skills introduced in this course will deepen as you proceed through the program. Upon graduation from the Diploma or Certificate program, you may include the following list of skills as part of your Professional Portfolio. In this course you will acquire basic knowledge of various models of marital therapy in order to:

  • Assess and evaluate the couple’s interpersonal and intrapersonal dynamics.
  • Identify specific goals
  • Develop a treatment plan
  • Implement a variety of counseling techniques
  • Measure the efficacy of the counseling success.

You will acquire the ability to:

  1. conduct a variety of assessment procedures based on basic assessment tools used to determine if the couple is an appropriate candidate for couples’ counseling model.
  2. use various interview and counseling techniques such as- reflective listening, exploratory and circulatory questioning to identify multigenerational patterns, unconscious defense mechanisms, interpret genograms, and promote effective communication and empathy between the partners.
  3. assess for disorders from the DSM-V which would impact the counseling process.
  4. apply a variety of counselling approaches to address the couple’s interpersonal needs such as couple and family communication patterns; development of support networks; parenting issues; socio-economic concerns.
  5. apply a variety of counseling approaches to assess for and address a range of intrapersonal issues for each spouse which may impact the couple counseling process such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, anger, and guilt.
  6. set collaborative goals and design outcome measures.
  7. assess for level of risk of suicide; harm to one another; and other crises, and to respond with appropriate intervention.
  8. recognize the importance of community influence, traditional values and culturally sensitive factors when working with all clients including those from special populations and culturally diverse groups.
  9. make appropriate referrals to community resources and other service providers to address the couple’s needs which fall outside the scope of practice of an entry-level counselor.
  10. practice within ethical guidelines and limits of confidentiality; and to maintain appropriate boundaries in the therapeutic relationship.
  11. consult with supervisors and colleagues to manage counter transference issues and signs of burnout.

(NOTE: The skill set you will learn in this course comprises areas of core competence required for the practice of professional counselling.)

Students interested in expanding your knowledge to include a focus on sexuality and intimacy issues, see details on the Advanced Couple Therapy (ACT-600) course; and the series of 4 elective courses required for a Certificate of specialization in Sex and Intimacy Counselling.

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