Nirantar: Continuing Education Programmes (STP) Admissions

Certificate Programme in Couple and Family Therapy

Location: Mumbai

School: School of Human Ecology

Centre: Centre for Human Ecology

Intake: 6


Medium of Instruction: English


  • Completed Masters in Psychology or Masters in Social Work from a recognised University by UGC
  • Preferably has three years of experience as a counsellor and has some background of working with couple and family issues
  • Preferably is currently involved in psychosocial interventions with couples and families





Last date of submission of application form :

 30th May 2019

Personal Interview (Telephonic) :

 3rd June 2019

Announcement of selection:

 5th June 2019

Course orientation and commencement:

 12th June 2019


About couple and Family Therapy:

Couple and Family Therapies mark a departure from the traditional individualistic therapeutic understanding of mental health and adopt a systemic framework of viewing relationships. Couple and Family therapies emerged simultaneously in the 1950s in a variety of different countries, and within a variety of different movements, disciplines, therapeutic and research traditions. The basic premise of these therapies is that human problems are essentially interpersonal not intrapersonal; and therefore their resolution requires an approach to intervention that directly addresses relationships amongst people.

The proposed course equips the participants with a theoretical understanding of the nature of difficulties faced by couples and families, ways of assessing and conceptualising the same and with methods of applying this knowledge to intervene with couples and families.

You can apply for the course if you have:

  • Have completed Masters in Psychology or Masters in Social Work from a university recognised by UGC
  • Preferably have three years of experience as a counsellor and has some background of working with couple and family issues
  • Preferably are currently involved in psychosocial interventions with couples and families

Maximum number of students to be admitted to the course: 6

Duration of the Course: 15 weeks (three and a half months-once a week):

Number of hours required to be completed by the participants over 15weeks: 100 Hours

(60 Hours of classroom teaching, 25 hours of field work and 15 Hours of Supervision)

4 hours of classroom teaching every week, 1 hour of supervision per week and 25 hours of field work (initiated by the participants in their respective field settings during the course duration).

Fees: Rs 18000/-

Process of application: Participants need to send their applications by email on or before 30th of May, 2019. The applications will be screened and suitable candidates will be interviewed. Selected candidates will be informed by email. Once selected, participants need to fulfil all the requirements of course completion (including attendance for lectures, field work, supervision and course evaluation) in order to get the final certificate of completion. All matters related to the selection will be at the sole discretion of School of Human Ecology. Candidates will not be provided with accommodation facilities.


Applications can be sent at: and


Introduction to the School of Human Ecology:

The School of Human Ecology (SHE), has a broad, holistic view of the psycho-social adaptability of individuals, the relationships between individuals, their societies and the environment. The term "human ecology" refers to all aspects of the human experience and everything in the environment that defines quality of life. SHE started its MA in Counselling Programme in June 2009. Since past few years, the School has been offering a Masters level programme in Applied Psychology with two specialisations- Counselling and Clinical Psychology. Since this year, the School will start offering an Integrated Masters in Applied Psychology programme (clinical and counselling practice). Besides offering the Masters level programme, the School also offers MPhil and PhD courses in Applied Psychology. The School is uniquely positioned with expertise in the area of Applied Psychology for the training and development of skilled professionals to work with individuals, families and communities on aspects of well-being and quality of life.

Proposed Short Term Course on Couple and Family Counselling

Rationale for the course:

Family and marriage are important institutions in India. Today families and marriages are undergoing major transitions in globalising India. This has resulted in tensions between the traditional forms and values that informed the institutions of marriage and family and the modern ones. Today’s families and couple relationships are adopting diverse forms and practices. This diversity has allowed for greater acknowledgement of different scripts for family and couple relationships. At the same time, it has also posed unique challenges, especially in the context of growing urbanisation and diminishing support systems. Rising number of divorces and reports of domestic violence are some of the many indications of the conflicts experienced by today’s couples and families. This also coincides with the reality that greater number of families and couples are willing to access help from formal support services such as criminal justice, legal and health systems, family counselling centres, voluntary organisations and mental health professionals. Counselling services are an important source of help for many couples and families.

Some of these couples and families access counselling services for addressing issues of one of the family members- usually a child or a person identified with some psychological or behavioural difficulty. Counsellors, who are predominantly trained in an individualistic paradigm, often realise that involving the couple and family system and addressing their issues holistically proves to be more effective than addressing just the individual issues. However, most of the graduate or postgraduate level courses in psychology (may) involve a small component on working with couples and families as systems. Given this inadequacy of training, counsellors often rely on their individualistic training. Some counsellors involve couple and family systems in the counselling interventions, but without the pre-requisite knowledge.

This reality points out to a dire need to offer training courses to equip counsellors with knowledge, perspectives and skills of working with couples and families.

School of Human Ecology has been offering intensive training inputs in the area of couple and family counselling since last four years, as part of its Masters in Applied Psychology Course ( earlier known as Masters in Counselling). The course is well established and has received positive feedback from the students. The School of Human Ecology has received many queries from professionals in the field requesting to make the course available to practitioners working in the field. In response to this perceived demand, the proposed course aims to meet the needs of practising counsellors by providing training which is locally available, theoretically sound, culturally relevant and adapted to suit their requirements. This would enable the practitioners to develop sound conceptual understanding and interventions in the area of couple and family therapy. Most importantly the course will aid the process of ensuring wellbeing and growth of couples and families.

The Course equips the participants in following ways:

  • To gain a contextual understanding of the nature and difficulties faced by Indian families and couple relationships in today’s’ globalising world.
  • To learn about history and origin of family and couple therapy and about basic concepts of System’s theory
  • To learn theories of how problems develop in couple and family relationships, how changes occur and are maintained.
  • To study assessment skills involved in couple and family counselling.
  • To know how to conceptualise family and couple issues and form a circular hypothesis on the basis of the assessment carried out.
  • To Compare and contrast major theoretical models in family and couple therapy and learn a variety of techniques proposed by these theoretical models.
  • To understand the role of broader socio-cultural contexts such as class, gender and power issues in relationships and address these issues appropriately.
  • To examine ethical and legal concerns that emerge during couples and family counselling.

What will the participants get on completion of the course? 


  • History and trends in couple and family therapy
  • Roles and Functions of a couple and Family Therapist
  • Healthy family and couple functioning
  • Family of origin, intergenerational and socio-cultural influences on couple and family systems
  • Couple and family life cycle stages
  • Impact of crisis (normative and non-normative) on couple and family systems
  • Understanding Human sexuality (gender, sexual orientation, sexual functioning etc) and its impact on couple relationships
  • Recognising problems and strengths in couples and families
  • Models and theories of couple and family relationships and therapy
  • Ethical and legal considerations applicable to the practise of couple and family therapy


  • Understanding how the contexts of class, gender, region, sexuality etc impacts couple and family functions, dysfunctions and strengths
  • Appreciating different forms of couple and family systems


  • Assessment of couple and Family problems and strengths.
  • Using system’s theory and different theoretical models to conceptualise couple and family difficulties
  • Ability to select from models and techniques suitable for couple’s or family’s presenting issues
  • Applying relevant ethical and legal considerations to the practise of couple and family therapy

Distribution of Credit Hours:

  • Distribution of credit hours: 100 hours (spanning over 15 weeks)

Class room teaching: 60 Hours


Sr No

Course Content



No of hours


Understanding systems Theory



6 hours


History of family and couple therapy



6 hours


Family relationships and Therapy: Concepts, theories, schools, assessment and techniques



25 hours


Couple relationships and therapy: concepts, theories, schools, assessment and techniques


15 hours


Socio- legal contexts of couple and family relationships in India


8 hours


* 25 hours of field work initiated by the participants in their respective setting

* 15 Hours of supervision

Semesterwise Courses:

  • Detailed description of the Modules

Module I: 6 hours

Understanding systems Theory:

This module will expose the participants to the shift in the paradigm that is required when the practitioners move from individual to couple or family work. The module will also throw light on some of the key concepts espoused by the systems theory which forms a departure from the individualistic understating widely prevalent in psychology practitioners. It will also help the participants develop a holistic understanding of couple and family systems.

Module II: 6 hours
History of Family and Couple Therapy:

This module will lay down the historical context in which family and couple therapy originated in the west and in India. The contents covered in this module will enable the practitioner to appreciate the history of the family and couple therapy movement and contributions of leading theorists. It will trace the journey of the field of family and couple therapy from its initial focus on problems and deficits to newer approaches that offer a strengths-based perspective and a contextual understanding of couple and family problems. The module will also help the participants develop a critical lens of looking at mainstream theories by introducing the larger socio-cultural context in which couple and family systems are situated.


Module III: 25 hours

Family Relationships and Therapy

This module focuses on some of the important schools of family therapy and theoretical concepts offered by each of these schools. The module will introduce the participants to various issues and difficulties for which families seek therapy. It will equip the participants to understand how each of these schools conceptualises family problems, assesses them and finally intervenes. Participants will learn unique skills of assessing family systems, forming a hypothesis and choosing from a wide range of intervention strategies proposed by each of these schools.

Both the modules on couple and family relationships and therapy will also expose participants to identification of family strengths and resilience and to ways of promoting the same.


Module IV: 15 hours 

Couple relationships and Therapy

The module begins with acquainting the participants with key researches in the area of couple relationships and therapy. Marriage is one of the many forms of couple relationships. The module will sensitise the participants to different forms that a couple relationship can assume and key relationship issues for which couples often seek therapy. It then will move on to cover various evidence based theories of understanding couple relationships. The focus will be on understating different aspects of couple relationships such as intimacy, communication, conflict resolution, sexuality, division of labour, gender roles etc. It will then introduce different ways of assessing and conceptualising difficulties faced by the couples and of intervening with the same. This is essentially done by borrowing from some of the major evidence based schools and theories of couple counselling.

Domestic violence is a reality for many Indian women. The module will help the participants in understanding, assessing and intervening with incidents of abuse and violence during the process of couple and family counselling.


Module V: 8 hours

Socio-Legal Contexts of couple and family relationships in India

Participants are acquainted with some of the socio- legal issues involved in couple and family counselling. This module will lay down the wider context in which couples and families exist in India and also the legal frameworks that influence them. The module will briefly introduce ethical frameworks that help the participants appreciate challenges faced during the process of couple and family counselling and ways of addressing the same.

  • Methods of learning:

1) 60 Hours of class room teaching:

Lectures, Classroom discussions, session videos, case studies and presentations, experiential exercises and self study to understand concepts related to family and couple interventions and reading of research articles.

2) 25 Hours of field work

Participants will be expected to work with couples and families in their current setting of practice. This work will involve intake and assessment processes, hypothesis formation, hypothesis feeding and interventions. The field work component will help the participants link the theory to the practice.

3)  15 Hours of Supervision:

Participants will be expected to bring and discuss cases from the settings in which they are currently working. Supervision sessions will be held for an hour every week. These supervision sessions will help the participants apply concepts and techniques learnt during classroom teaching to the cases from the field. Supervision sessions will also address practitioner’s personal issues that emerge during the process of counselling and will help the practitioner establish a ‘connect’ between the personal and professional selves.

  • Course Evaluation:

Case presentation: 20% wightage

Participant picks up one couple or family case from the field setting in which they are currently working. Participants are expected to detail the case history and present findings of the assessment carried out. A hypothesis is presented using any of the theoretical models of the participant’s choice and real or proposed interventions are described

Case Write up: 30% weightage

A detailed case write up is provided following the aforementioned format

Film analysis using family and couple assessment:

This is a group assignment where the Participants are expected to pick up a film which depicts family or couple dynamics and analyse it using any of the schools of family or couple therapy. Participants are also expected to suggest a plan of intervention based on their analysis.

Written Exam: 50% weightage

This is a written test that examines participant’s knowledge of key constructs and theories covered during classroom teaching and its application to the case studies presented.

Field work and Journal: 25%

This mode of evaluation will involve 25 hours of counselling work with couples and families in the settings in which the participants are currently working and also maintaining a journal on the basis of the same.






Fee Structure:





Sem I


Tuition Fee



Identity Card









Field Work






Convocation Charges



Development Fund