Marriage and Family Counseling I – HSMF 601

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

Course Description

This course considers the dynamics of marriage and family relationships from a systems perspective. The emphasis is on understanding family and other systems theories, the structure and function of marriage, various aspects of the marital relationship and family systems, and models of family and systemic interventions. Considerations from a historical perspective are presented along with current developments within marriage and family systemic models.




This course is designed to cover the numerous and varied marriage and family theories, as well as the history of marriage and family therapy. The information in this course is designed to equip counselor trainees for practice and to successfully complete the licensure exam.

HSMF 601 is intended to introduce the student to the concept and philosophy of marriage and family therapy. The student will be required to understand the systems philosophy and six major theoretical frameworks within the marriage and family therapy field. The student will understand such core content areas as: marriage and family history, key theoretical figures, ethics and legal matters, counseling issues, some techniques, current trends, and future themes. This is the first marriage and family course; thus, it is designed to teach foundational materials necessary to pass state licensure examinations.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Examine and critique the historical development of marriage and family counseling.
  2. Attribute and demonstrate appropriate ethical and legal consideration related to marriage, couple, and/or family counseling.
  3. Articulate aspects of various professional organizations, standards of practice, credentialing, and licensure in the field of marriage and family counseling.
  4. Differentiate and apply a variety of marriage and family models and theories related to the many counseling orientations.
  5. Discuss and integrate knowledge of family life cycles/stages, various family systems, contemporary families, family health and wellness, cultural variances in families, and family phenomenology.
  6. Critique and hypothesize how crises, trauma, abuse, divorce, and disasters affect the family system.
  7. Demonstrate the ability to apply and adhere to ethical and legal standards established by ACA, AACC, AAMFT, and the IAMFC codes of ethics.
  8. Integrate biblical principles and secular theories in a responsible, eclectic manner.
  9. Select and apply techniques from various counseling orientations/models to case studies and family situations.
  10. Design an interview with a family member and generate a family genogram tracing multigenerational patterns of behavior, attitudes, and/or pathology.
  11. Analyze and hypothesize various family dynamics that have shaped the family system over the life span using the genogram interview and data.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

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 will participate in 4 Discussion Board Forums, each to be completed over the span of two modules/weeks. In the first week of the assigned forum, the student will create a thread in response to the provided prompt. Threads must be at least 300 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. During the second week of the assigned forum, the student is required to reply to at least 2 classmate’s threads. Each reply must be at least 150 words. These discussion board activities are designed to allow the student to discuss, articulate, analyze, and integrate the various aspects of marriage and family counseling, as well as to learn how faith can be integrated within counseling. (MLO: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K)

Family Genogram Project

The student will use the GenoPro software and the McGoldrick et al. textbook to prepare a family genogram of at least 3 generations of his/her family system. The student will also write a 5-page paper in current APA format analyzing his/her genogram. (MLO: H, J, K)

Family Counseling Approach Papers (2)

The student will write two papers on therapeutic approaches appropriate for family counseling. Each paper will provide a broad overview and personal integration of the selected approach. Papers must be written in current APA format and include a minimum of 4 scholarly references. Each paper must be at least 5 pages. (MLO: A, D, E, H)

Quizzes (8)

Each quiz will cover the Reading & Study material for the assigned modules/weeks. These quizzes will require the student to synthesize, compare and contrast, and demonstrate graduate-level integration of the materials covered in the course. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, consist of 10 essay style questions, and have a 1-hour time limit. (MLO: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I)