DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU

Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Working with Adult Intimate Relationships
Module Code NS5017
School 38
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Stephanie Finan
Semester 2: Stephanie Finan
Autumn: Stephanie Finan
Module TeachersStephanie Finan
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Repeat the module
Resubmission of written assignment

This module prepares and equips students to work in the specialised field of couple therapy, with clients presenting with transient relationship issues. The module has been designed to assist students to become proficient in the practice of integrative couple therapy. Students will learn how to apply and integrate Humanistic, Cognitive-Behavioural, Psychodynamic and Systemic theoretical approaches to practice in the context of the learning group. The module will raise students’ awareness of the nuances and challenges of working therapeutically with relationship discord/ breakdown and with individuals and couples who present with domestic violence. Students will be provided with lectures, seminar groups, couple therapy skills practice as well as opportunities for experiential learning and personal/ professional development via on-campus activities.

Learning Outcomes

1. Critically examine theories and strategies associated with couple therapy and discuss how these significantly differ from individual psychotherapeutic practice
2. Discern the most appropriate theoretical approach or integration of approaches, including humanistic, cognitive- behavioural, systemic and psychodynamic perspectives, to assist couples in conflict
3. Provide brief integrative couples therapy which addresses transient relationship issues
4. Recognise contraindications to couples therapy, for example, domestic violence, substance abuse and significant mental health issues
5. Understand the emotional and psychological consequences of relationship breakdown and the complexity of blended families
6. Critically examine ethical, legal and moral issues as they apply to couples therapy

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture15Didactic Teaching/Lectures
Directed learning15Seminar Groups; Application of Theory to Practice: Couple Therapy Skills Practice
Tutorial5Tutor led formative engagement with individual students and learning groups
Independent Study90Self-directed learning; Course Reading; Literature Searching; Assignment Preparation and Submission; Personal and Professional Awareness Activities.
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Couple Therapy
Through lectures, reading and discussion students will develop an appreciation of the nuances and complexity of the specialised field of couple therapy

Integrative Psychotherapy
By engaging in case conceptualisation and psychotherapeutic practice, students will learn how to practice integrative psychotherapy with couples in conflict and crisis.

Contraindications to Couples Therapy
Recognition of contraindications to couples therapy, for example, domestic violence, substance abuse and significant mental health issues

Personal reflection
Demonstrate an in-depth reflexive awareness of self with respect to personal experiences of adult intimate relationships and professional experiences of working therapeutically with individuals and couples presenting with relationship difficulties

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
EssayEssay 2500 words100%Sem 2 End
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Dattilio, F.M: 2010, Cognitive- Behavioural Therapy with Couples and Families, Guilford, New York,
  • Gurman, A.S., Lebow, J.L., Synder, D.K.: 2015, Clinical Handbook of Couple Therapy, 5th, Guilford Press, New York,
  • Neilsen, A.C. (2016): 2016, A Roadmap for Couple Therapy: Integrating Systemic, Psychodynamic, and Behavioral Approaches. Routledge, 1st, All, Routledge, New York and London,
  • O'Leary, C: 1999, Counselling couples and families: A Person-centered approach, Sage, London,
  • Carr, A: 2006, Family Therapy Concepts, Process and Practice, 2nd, Wiley, Chichester,
  • Cooper, J. Vetere, A.: 2006, Domestic Violence and Family Safety., London : Whurr,
  • Crowe, M., & Ridley, R.: 2000, Therapy with couples., London: Blackwell,
  • Dattilio, F: 2006, Relationship Dysfunction: A Practitioner’s Guide to Comparative Treatments, Springer, New York,
  • Gilbert, M., Schmukler, D.: 2001, Brief Therapy with Couples: An Integrative Approach., New York: Wiley,
  • Gottman, J: 2007, Why marriages succeed and fail, Bloomsbury, London,
  • Gurman, A.S. (Ed): 2008, The Clinical Handbook of Couple Therapy, 4th, Guilford, New York,
Other Resources

Module Coordinator - Stephanie Finan/ Stephanie.finan@dcu.ie
Programme or List of Programmes
MCOUMasters in Psychotherapy
SMPNSingle Module Programme (Nursing)
Date of Last Revision16-SEP-09

My DCU | Loop | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement