EDPROFST 743 : Family Counselling

Education and Social Work

2024 Semester Two (1245) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An advanced examination of counselling principles as applied to stresses arising within family relationships.

Course Overview

This course is available to students from a range of professional disciplines including counselling, social work, teaching etc.  The course is designed therefore, for students who will be working with whānau and/or family groups in a range of counselling related settings and, also for students working with individuals where an understanding of family systems will bring a critical lens to their practice. The course introduces students to a brief overview of the extensive range of traditional and contemporary family counselling approaches and specifically focuses on the principles, practice and skills of contemporary constructivist approaches. In these approaches, an emphasis is given to honouring families own knowledge and meaning making systems, and their intergenerational and cultural context.   The assignments require students to explore their own intergenerational family themes in order to be aware of their personal histories and influences when working with families - feedback from students is that this is a very rich and often healing task.        

Course Requirements

Restriction: EDPROF 743

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism
Graduate Profile: Master of Education

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Understand the concept of systems as applied to family/whanau relationships, and the influence of family-of-origin and transgenerational dynamics on the development and functioning of individuals and family relationships. (Capability 1.3, 5.3 and 8.1)
  2. Understand the stressors and the strengthening or supportive factors that affect family/whanau relationships at different stages in the life cycle of a family, from a multi-contextual perspective. (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3 and 6.1)
  3. Understand the principles and theoretical foundations of counselling work with families/whanau. (Capability 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 8.2 and 8.3)
  4. Apply these principles in the analysis of selected family/whanau relationships, identifying the implications for the wellbeing and development of family members and their relationships, and for potential therapeutic interventions. (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 6.1, 7.1, 7.2, 8.1, 8.2 and 8.3)
  5. Engage in personal reflection on family-of-origin/whanau relationships, relevant to professional development and functioning as a counsellor. (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 7.1, 7.2, 8.1, 8.2 and 8.3)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Genogram Essay: Analysis of transgenerational family themes using personal genogram Approx 2500 words (+/- 10%) excluding genogram (LO’s 1&5) 50% Individual Coursework
Essay: related to family structures, systems, challenges or ways of working with families that is relevant to your work as a practitioner. 50% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Genogram Essay: Analysis of transgenerational family themes using personal genogram Approx 2500 words (+/- 10%) excluding genogram (LO’s 1&5)
Essay: related to family structures, systems, challenges or ways of working with families that is relevant to your work as a practitioner.

To achieve an overall pass on this course students must complete all components of the assessment tasks, and achieve at least 50% pass grade for the course.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in. For this course, you can expect 24 hours of lectures (2 hours per week) with approx 8 hours per week of reading and thinking about the content and work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled classes to complete components of the course. The course has an experiential learning focus that includes formal teaching input, small group discussion and skills practice and reflection. Lectures will also be available as recordings, small group discussion etc. will not be recorded.  The course will not include live online events. The course will be delivered in teaching block format in semester 2. 

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

The course this year was impacted by heading needing to be taught on zoom during level 4 and 3 Covid. This meant that the skills practice sessions which were to include students practising working with families in small groups using realistic role plays could not go ahead as planned. If this situation should arise in 2022, alternative casestudies will be used for students to analyse and apply their knowledge. Video's of family counsellors working will also be viewed and analysed.  

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.