Marriage Counseling – EDCO 811

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 11/05/2020

Course Description

An in-depth examination and discussion of the major assessment and treatment approaches utilized in marriage and family counseling. Emphasis is placed on the development of practical skills and intervention techniques.

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


There has never been a more dramatic redefinition of marriage and the family than we are currently experiencing today. With high divorce rates and an increasing number of broken homes, marriages today are under spiritual and cultural attack. The 21st century has brought with it a host of challenges fighting for the heart of the traditional family. Yet, research consistently shows that a committed marriage is the foundation for a stable family system. It is therefore critical for counselors, pastors, and marriage and family champions to learn the models, skills, and techniques necessary for helping couples cultivate and maintain healthy marital relationships.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Incorporate advanced marriage counseling skills and interventions that are informed by Christian leadership, biblical principles, and relevant empirical research.
  2. Demonstrate appropriate awareness, sensitivity, and cultural competency related to the unique backgrounds of various couples, including faith traditions, spirituality, ethnicity, gender issues, sexuality, and value systems.
  3. Synthesize the diversity of approaches to marriage counseling by describing its major theories and practices and their primary developers and proponents.
  4. Analyze and discuss the merits and limitations of marriage counseling models and methods, and examine them from a theological perspective.
  5. Articulate the family life cycle and developmental changes that impact couples, including lifespan stages, crisis points, healthy and dysfunctional characteristics, and communication and interaction patterns.
  6. Apply appropriate methods, theoretical constructs, effective interventions and biblical principles to couples facing separation, divorce, re marriage and blended family systems.
  7. Evaluate contemporary topics and issues pertinent to marriage counseling by discussing current research in the field, identifying and addressing the influence of cultural heritage, and articulating any related ethical and professional factors.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings

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 provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be at least 500 words based on the module/week’s Reading & Study material and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 350 words.

Research Paper

Research Paper Topic

The student will submit a topic with a 200-word rationale, including at least 5 cited sources, detailing why the topic he/she chose is relevant to marital counseling.

Research Paper Outline

The student will submit an outline in current APA format to include at least 10 sources.

Research Paper Final

The student will write a 15-page research paper on 1 of several provided marital topics. Five sources must come from peer-reviewed research/journal articles. The paper must integrate biblical, as well as theoretical/clinical, counseling principles; include a title page, abstract, and reference pages (not included in the 15 page requirement); use current APA format; and have at least 10 references from current sources (5 must come from peer-reviewed research/journal articles).

Marriage Therapist Interview and Summary

The student will conduct an interview with a licensed marriage therapist/mental health professional, synthesize the interview, and submit a 4-page summary (not including Title Page or References) in current APA format. There are no required references for this assignment; however, any citations listed must be on a separate reference page and in current APA format.

Case Study and Management Analyses (2)

The student will read 2 provided case studies and write a detailed summary utilizing the format and structure found in the Case Study and Management Analysis Form. Each Case Study and Management Analysis must be 5 pages (not including Title Page or References); have at least 5 references from current sources; be written in current APA format; and have at least 2 pages devoted to the integration of the selected theoretical model.

Exams (4)

The student will complete 4 open-book/open-notes exams that will consist of 25 multiple choice questions from the required Reading & Study material. Each exam will have a 1-hour and 15-minute time limit.