Critical essay Assignment – Counseling

Title: Critical essay ( Part One & Two)

Assessment task link to unit learning outcomes:

  • differentiate and critically evaluate the central approaches to counselling;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the dynamics and diversity of individual, couple and group counselling and approaches;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the ethical issues that can arise in couple, family and group counselling;
  • outline how a counsellor might demonstrate their cultural competence, and why this is an important skill


Details of task: PART ONE: Individual, couple and family counselling.

John, a 47-year-old Australian-born Caucasian man, contacts your counselling agency, in despair about his marriage and his children. John and his Asian wife, Sue (aged 45), are arguing frequently about disciplining the children and their finances. Sue tends to be more concerned than John about disciplining the children. He thinks that the children already have enough pressures from school and their various after-school activities, while Sue believes they are not polite enough, talk back and are allowed too much freedom. She would also like to see more structure around their homework, while John believes that children need to set their own homework routines. He is also concerned about Sue’s spending habits and the amount of money she is spending on clothes and household goods. She works part time so believes that she is entitled to spend the money coming into the household in ways that she thinks are appropriate. They have three children, Thomas aged seven, Adrian aged 11 and Julia aged 15. Julia has been “acting out” a lot lately – staying out till late – and Sue is concerned that she is taking drugs. John thinks that she is just showing “normal” teenage behaviour. He is not sure what to do.


Write about three different kinds of first sessions you could have:

As an individual counsellor, working just with John as your client.

As a couples counsellor, working with John and Sue as your clients.

As a family counsellor, working with John, Sue, and their children.
Describe these three sessions. In your description, ensure that you address each of the following:

1) What might be the goals for that particular session?
2) What techniques and/or interventions might you use? Why did you select these? (include here some discussion regarding an evidence base).
3) What are the ethical issues in each of these sessions that you need to consider? How will you address these?
4) How will you work in a culturally competent manner?
NB These are three different approaches a counsellor might take. They are not consecutive sessions.

WORD COUNT: 2000 WORDS (not including references).



Your weekly readings should be used for this assignment. As well, the following may be of use:

  • Davis, S., Lebow, J., Sprenkle, D. (2012). Common factors of change in couple therapy. Behavior Therapy, 43, 36-48.
  • Evans, P., Turner, S., & Trotter, C. (2012). The effectiveness of family and relationship counselling: A review. Melbourne, VIC:



  • Freeman, E., & Couchonnal, G. (2006). Narrative and culturally based approaches in practice with families. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Sciences, 87(2), 198-208.
  • Segal, J. (2010). Therapeutic process as a means to navigate impasse? Reflections on a complex case of cross cultural adolescent family therapy. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 31(3), 266-274.
  • Weiner-Davis, M. (2006). It takes one to tango: Couples therapy with individuals. Psychotherapy in Australia, 13(1), 12-16.









PART TWO: Group counselling

You have been asked to run a court mandated group for those convicted of drink driving.


What are the benefits of such a group? The limitations?
What issues/topics might be covered in this group?
What skills do you need in order to facilitate this group?
How would you deal with someone who talks too much? Someone who doesn’t talk at all?
WORD COUNT: 1000 WORDS (not including references)
Your weekly readings should be used for this assignment. As well, these may be of use:

  • Dill, P., & Wells-Parker, E. (2006). Court-mandated treatment for convicted drinking drivers. Alcohol Research & Health, 29(1), 41-48.
  • Glass, J., & Benshoff, J. (1999). PARS: A processing model for beginning group leaders. The Journal of Specialists in Group Work, 24(1), 15-26.
  • Washston, A. (2014). Group therapy for substance use disorders. In G. Gabbard (Ed.), Gabbard’s treatment of psychiatric disorders (Chapter 58) (5th ed.). American Psychiatric Publishing: Arlington.




Presentation requirements: Please submit both parts of the assignment as in ONE Word document (not PDF).


Criteria for marking: Marks will be allocated to:
PART ONE: Application of the case study to individual, couple and family therapy in reference to:

  • session goals
  • techniques/interventions
  • evidence base
  • ethical issues
  • cultural competence





PART TWO: Group counselling:

  • outline of benefits/limitations of group counselling, with specific reference to the nominated group


  • knowledge of relevant issues/topics in a mandated counselling group, with specific reference to the nominated group
  • understanding of skills required for group counselling, in particular mandated group counselling
  • use of appropriate and relevant literature to support your arguments.

Quality of presentation including spelling, grammar, organised and concise writing, formatting and APA referencing.


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