Advanced Couple & Marital Counseling – CEFS 603

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 12/12/2022

Course Description

This course introduces students to evidence-based protocols for couple and marital counseling. Advanced skill work in formalized assessment and couples counseling techniques highlight the elements of this course.  Students will develop effective couple and marital case conceptualizations and apply effective treatment interventions to various problems couples may experience. This course also incorporates a focus on pre-marital assessment and counseling.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


According to both Christian and secular experts, marriages are failing at rate of 45-50% or higher in the United States. This course provides the student with the requisite skills and knowledge to assist couples through crises and to develop healthy, vibrant marriages.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Course Requirements Checklist Assignment

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (3)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each Discussion. Each thread must be at least 250 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 1 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be 150 words. (CLOs: A, B, C, E)

Textbook Reading Short Answer Assignments (3)

The student will answer a series of short essay prompts related to the textbook reading material for the week. Answers should be 3-5 sentences in length per question, no more than a paragraph per answer. This will enable the student to demonstrate an understanding of the key aspects of that chapter, ethical considerations related to the theory, apply Biblical principles, and describe how the theory conceptualizes the problems/issues of clients. (CLOs: A-E)

Recorded Couple Interview Assignment

In the first two weeks of class, the student will interview a couple who has been married for 20 years or more. This interview will be recorded and used throughout the course to interact with the training material as well as be used for the Case Study Paper Assignment. Try to keep this assignment under 20 minutes. The interview must include the prepared questions in the assignment instructions but can include others if the student wishes. It does not matter what order the questions are used in the interview. The couple must sign a consent form for the recording. The recording will not be loaded up into the course but deleted by the student during the final week of the class to protect confidentiality. The consent form will be submitted as part of the assignment related to the interview. The student will need to review the interview material several times throughout the course. This interview will be used in discussion and application of the training material each week. The student will also submit a general overview of the interview content and respond to an essay prompt. The student must only use the first names of the interviewees. (CLOs: A-C)

Case Study Paper Assignment

The student will complete a treatment plan based upon his/her recorded couple interview. The recording will be analyzed and then evaluated from one of the theoretical frameworks emphasized in this course (Gottman, EFT, or Solution-Focused). The student will use the theory as a guide for the development of a Treatment Plan. If need be, the student will impose a theoretical crisis onto the couple for the purpose of applying the theory to treatment. This could be a death in the family, an affair, or a major life stressor such as a job loss or foreclosure. The paper will be a minimum of 8 pages and a maximum of 14 pages of content.  The paper will consist of the selected Theory overview, Case Conceptualization, to include diagnostic elements as well as clinical elements, a treatment plan based upon the selected theoretical model and a conclusion. The paper should be written entirely in third person. (CLOs: A-D))

Advising Acknowledgement Quiz

Quizzes (8)

Several modules include a quiz. Quizzes are focused on the current week’s reading and are not cumulative in nature. The quizzes consist of up to 10 questions each, are timed, and are open book. The quizzes will have multiple choice and short answer questions. The student will have 1 attempt. (CLO: C)

Quiz: Gottman Training Certification

The student will successfully complete the level 1 training and submit his/her certificate as proof of completion. The certificate and the required final testa re provided by the Gottman Institute from their website. (CLOs: B, C)

Quiz: Dispositions Reflection

This quiz will cover the Learn material for the assigned module: week. This quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 9 multiple-choice and 1 essay questions, and will have a 60-minute time limit.