Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment Planning in Marriage and Family Counseling – CEFS 602

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course is an experiential exploration of selected, major treatment approaches utilized in marital and family counseling. The development of practical skills and techniques constitutes the primary focus. The intent is to make practical application of systemic theories presented in CEFS 601. Students will have significant engagements in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning through role-play of clinical practice with various marriage and family counseling methods. Additionally, the impact of addiction, crisis, disasters, and other trauma-causing events on diagnosis and treatment planning in marriage and family counseling will be addressed. Students will learn to apply systemic interventions as treatment for various mental health problems that occur with individuals, couples, and families.




This course is a required course in the licensure programs. The purpose of the course is to expand upon the concepts and philosophy of 601 by the teaching and practice of marriage and family counseling skills and techniques. The student will be required to understand and demonstrate counseling skills as they relate to the systems philosophy and major theoretical frameworks within the marriage and family therapy field.

Method of Instruction: This 8-week course is delivered in an online format, with Blackboard® as the primary instructional delivery method. Students complete one module per week over the duration of the course.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Apply and adhere to ethical and legal standards of best practices established by the AAMFT, IAMFC, AACC, & ACA in marriage, couple, and family counseling.
  2. Identify and apply models or techniques appropriate to couples’ or families’ presenting problems.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to recognize his or her own limitations as a marriage, couple, and family counselor and to seek supervision or refer clients when appropriate.
  4. Implement treatment plans and intervention strategies within systems theory.
  5. Conceptualize issues in marriage, couple, and family counseling using systems theory.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to modify counseling systems, theories, techniques, and interventions to make them culturally appropriate for diverse couples and families.
  7. Utilize systems assessment models and procedures along with analysis skills to evaluate family functioning.
  8. Apply relevant research findings to inform the practice of marriage, couple, and family counseling.
  9. Critique and synthesize research data to increase the effectiveness of marriage, couple, and family counseling interventions.
  10. Integrate a Christian worldview in marriage and family counseling.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (4)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be 250–400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. The exception to this is Discussion Board Forum 1, in which the student is required to submit a 3–5-minute video for his or her thread. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 200 words. The instructor may also require that the student reply to follow-up ideas, which will also be included in the student’s grade.

Journal Article Review

The student will select an article from a provided list of peer-reviewed journal articles, or select a different article with instructor approval. The student will then write a 3–5-page research-based paper in current APA format that focuses on case conceptualization, clinical assessment, and/or treatment planning in marriage and family therapy. The Journal Article Review will have 3 sections: Summary, Interaction, and Application. A title page and reference page are required and are not included in the page count.

Cengage Video Activities (4)

After completing the required Gehart reading assignments in Modules 3–6, the student will watch a couple/family counseling session video clip. These video clips are designed to illustrate a clinical application of the assigned reading. Following each clip, the student will be presented with a few questions which will assess the student’s understanding of the application.

Movie Case Study

The student will watch the movie Rabbit Hole and work with the information as though addressing the couple in the movie for the first time. The student will develop a Case Conceptualization, Clinical Assessment, Treatment Plan and Summary for the couple.

Therapy Session Case Study

The student will watch a brief therapy session clip to discover the family issue for the assignment. The student will develop a Case Conceptualization, Clinical Assessment, Treatment Plan, and Summary for the family.

Quizzes (12)

Each quiz will cover the Gehart Reading & Study material for the assigned module/week. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 10–15 multiple-choice and true/false questions, and have no time limit.

Final Exam

The Final Exam will cover the Reading & Study material from the Sperry text, Chapters 14–15 of the Gehart text (Cengage/MindTap), and the narrated PowerPoint presentations (Modules/Weeks 1–3). The final exam will be open-book/open-notes, contain 50 multiple-choice questions, and have a time limit of 1 hour and 30 minutes.