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Online · School of Behavioral Sciences · Community Care and Counseling

Premarital & Marital Issues in Pastoral Counseling
EDCO-836

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 01/13/2020

Contact Information

See detailed faculty information in Blackboard.

Course Description

This course studies issues that affect the relationship and decision to marry in premarital counseling, as well as problematic factors in marriage such as marital distress and dissolution. Factors central to marital enrichment, renewal, stability, growth, and health are addressed by marriage theories and intervention strategies.

Requisites

Prerequisites

None

Rationale

Counselors must understand the impact of a complex and sin-oriented society on marriage. Special knowledge and skills are necessary to understand the wide-range issues and roots of marital issues and how to meet the challenges facing couples in dating, engagement, and marital seasons of life. This course is designed to equip counselors in the clinical literature with application to couples using a lens of a biblical worldview.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Compare worldviews of marriage from a biblical worldview.
  2. Appraise and describe how contemporary socio-cultural perspectives of cohabitation, separation/divorce, and gender impact marriage.
  3. Appraise how issues such as substance abuse, infidelity, sexual deviances and addictions, and domestic violence.
  4. Identify, evaluate, and analyze generational relational issues that impact functioning for a couple system preparing for and in marriage with considerations of biblical principles.
  5. Assess marital functioning and identify goals for counseling premarital and marital issues using interview, tests and measures, and theoretical conceptualization.
  6. Compare and contrast current church ministry and organizational programs intended to strengthen marriage.

Course Resources

Required Resource Purchases

American Psychological Association. Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (Current ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Clinton, T., & Trent, J. (2009). The quick-reference guide to marriage & family counseling. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. ISBN: 9780801072246.

Vernick, L. (2013). The emotionally destructive marriage: How to find your voice & reclaim your hope. Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook. ISBN: 9780307731180.

Visher, E. B., & Visher, J. S. (1996). Therapy with stepfamilies. New York, NY: Brunner & Mazel. ISBN: 9780876307991.

Weeks, G. R., & Hof, L. (2005). Integrative solutions: Treating common problems in couples’ therapy. New York, NY: Brunner & Mazel. ISBN: 9781138871755.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with the latest research regarding the subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.

Recommended Resources

Carder, D., & Jaenicke, D. (2008). Torn asunder: Recovering from extramarital affairs (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Moody Press. ISBN: 9780802471352.

Olsen, D., & Stephens, D. (2011). The couple’s survival workbook. Oakland, CA: Echo Point Books & Media. ISBN: 9780963878410.

Additional Materials for Learning

  1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
  2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
  3. Blackboard recommended browsers
  4. Microsoft Office

Course Assignments

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 (8)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. This course utilizes Discussion Board Forums to submit all of the assignments so that each student can learn from his or her peers. Each Discussion Board Forum has its own unique requirements for length and citations.

Biblical Worldview Forum

The student will compare a biblical worldview of marriage to two other worldviews on marriage. This will require researching various worldviews. The thread should be at least 400 words and include Scripture and at least 3 academic sources. Replies should be at least 200 words and include at least one source.

“Out of the Box” Premarital or Marital Enrichment Program Forum

Each student will review 1 premarital or marriage enrichment program (e.g., PREPARE, Before I Do, Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts, ENRICH) that can be used in the church to prepare and strengthen marriages. Create a 900-word review and critique of the program, strengths and weaknesses of the content, delivery format, level of commitment needed by staff and participants, the likelihood of success, any research conducted on it, and how applicable it is to a church or ministry setting. Post two replies of at least 200 words.

Relational Conflict Forum

Each student will write a 500-word thread in response to a clinical vignette (case) on relational conflict. The vignette can be chosen from any of the course texts cases.

Annotated Bibliography on Aggressions/Substance Abuse Forum

The student will post an annotated bibliography of scholarly articles on how aggression or substance abuse impacts marital functioning, divorce, or stepfamilies. Each student needs to find 5 scholarly articles written within the last 5 years on the noted topics. A brief synopsis is to be written on each scholarly article. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 200 words.

Annotated Bibliography on Sexual Issues/Disorders Forum

The student will post an annotated bibliography of scholarly articles on how sexual issues (including sex addiction) or sexual disorders impact marital functioning. Each student needs to find 5 scholarly articles written within the last 5 years on the noted topics. A brief synopsis is to be written on each scholarly article. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 200 words.

Particular Psychopathology Forum

Each student will write a 500-word thread in response to a clinical vignette on how a particular psychopathology (other than substance abuse or sexual issue) impacts marital functioning. The vignette can be chosen from any of the course texts cases. Write two replies of at least 200 words each.

Couple Interview Analysis Forum

Each student will have 3 sessions with either a pre-engaged, engaged, or married couple throughout the 8 weeks of this course. Each student will write a 900-word analysis of the couple interviewed. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 200 words.

Annotated Bibliography on Impacts of Marital Functioning Forum

Each student will post an annotated bibliography of scholarly articles on how separation, divorce, or stepfamilies impact(s) marital functioning. Each student needs to find 5 scholarly articles written within the last 5 years on the noted topics. A brief synopsis is to be written on each scholarly article. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 200 words.

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist

10

Discussion Board Forums (3 at 60 pts ea, 3 at 170 pts ea, 1 at 175 pts, 1 at 135 pts)

 

1000

Total

1010

Course Policies

Professional Communication

Please be professional in your email communication. We live in a fast-paced world with text messaging which encourages short and abbreviated communication. However, since you are in a counseling program, you are encouraged and expected to use full sentences and good grammar when communicating with other students and faculty. It is also an expectation that your electronic communication is pleasing to God. Being courteous and polite to peers and professors demonstrates dignity and respect, "And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them" (Luke 6:31, ESV).

Academic Misconduct

Academic misconduct is strictly prohibited. See The Graduate Catalog for specific definitions, penalties, and processes concerning Honor Code and FN Policies for reporting..

Student Conduct Policy

The student is expected to conduct himself/herself in a godly and civil manner when addressing the instructor or other students. While good healthy discussion will be expected and encouraged, at no time will personal attacks be tolerated.

Dual Relationships

The faculty is responsible to interact with counseling students in a supervisory capacity/role. As such, faculty may provide students professional principles, guidance, and recommendations as it relates to the context of the student-client setting. The faculty is responsible to avoid dual relationships with students such as entering a student-counselor or student-pastor relationship. Thus, the faculty does not provide personal counseling addressing student personal problems. If a faculty member perceives that a student is in need of personal or professional counseling then that faculty member will recommend that the student pursue either pastoral or professional assistance from a counselor in their community.

Limits of Confidentiality

In the event of a student’s disclosure, either verbally, or in writing, of either threat of serious or foreseeable harm to self or others, abuse or neglect of a minor, elderly or disabled person, or current involvement in criminal activity, the faculty, staff, administrator or supervisor, will take immediate action. This action may include, but is not limited to, immediate notification of appropriate state law enforcement or social services personnel, emergency contacts, and notification of the appropriate program chair or distance learning dean. The incident and action taken will become part of the student’s permanent record.

Policies

Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit https://www.liberty.edu/online/online-disability-accommodation-support/. Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=19155.

Grading Scale

A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
940-1010 920-939 900-919 860-899 840-859 820-839 780-819 760-779 740-759 700-739 680-699 679 and below

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.

Schedule

EDCO 836

Textbooks: Clinton & Trent, The Quick Reference Guide to Marriage & Family Counseling (2009).

Vernick, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage (2013).

Visher & Visher, Therapy with Stepfamilies (1996).

Weeks & Hof, Integrative Solutions (2005).

Module/Week

Reading & Study

Assignments

Points

1

Clinton & Trent: select readings

3 presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

DB Forum 1 – Biblical Worldview

10

0

60

2

Clinton & Trent: select readings

Vernick: chs. 1–2

Weeks & Hof: chs. 1–2

1 presentations

DB Forum 2 – “Out of the Box” Premarital or Marital Enrichment Program

 

135

3

Clinton & Trent: select readings

Vernick: chs. 3–5

Weeks & Hof: chs. 3–4

1 presentations

DB Forum 3 – Relational Conflict

60

4

Clinton & Trent: select readings

Vernick: chs. 6–8

3 presentations

DB Forum 4 – Annotated Bibliography on Aggression/Substance Abuse

 

170

5

Clinton & Trent: select readings

Vernick: chs. 9–10

Weeks & Hof: chs. 6–7, 9

1 presentations

DB Forum 5 – Annotated Bibliography on Sexual Issues/Disorders

 

170

6

Clinton & Trent: select readings

Vernick: chs. 11–13

Weeks & Hof: chs. 5, 8

3 presentations

DB Forum 6 – Particular Psychopathology

60

7

Clinton & Trent: select readings

Visher & Visher: chs. 1–4

2 presentations

DB Forum 7 – Couple Interview Analysis

175

8

Clinton & Trent: select readings

Visher & Visher: chs. 5–7

5 presentations

DB Forum 8 – Annotated Bibliograpy on Impacts on Marital Functioning

 

170

Total

1010

DB = Discussion Board

NOTE: Each course module/week begins on Monday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final module/week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.