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PSYC520 - Personality and Counseling Theories

Course Details

Course Code: PSYC520 Course ID: 4042 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

This course explores the processes of normal and abnormal personality development and models of counseling and psychotherapy including psychoanalytic, behavioral, cognitive, and existential approaches.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
04/29/19 - 10/04/19 10/07/19 - 12/01/19 Fall 2019 Session B 8 Week session
05/27/19 - 11/01/19 11/04/19 - 12/29/19 Fall 2019 Session I 8 Week session
06/24/19 - 11/29/19 12/02/19 - 01/26/20 Fall 2019 Session D 8 Week session
07/29/19 - 01/03/20 01/06/20 - 03/01/20 Winter 2020 Session B 8 Week session
08/26/19 - 01/31/20 02/03/20 - 03/29/20 Winter 2020 Session I 8 Week session
09/30/19 - 02/28/20 03/02/20 - 04/26/20 Winter 2020 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

Students completing this course will:
1. Examine the processes of normal and abnormal personality development as articulated by each major theory
2. Critique assessment techniques of particular theoretical models and implications for therapy
3. Assess the role of multicultural factors in the development of personality
4. Conceptualize psychotherapy orientations and techniques generated by each theory
5. Assess case study client problems from the viewpoint of each theory
6. Demonstrate APA style and writing skills commensurate with graduate level studies

It is expected that graduate students will exhibit advanced level critical thinking; the ability to synthesize multiple sources of information, writing skills and academic integrity in all course activities. With the exception of forums, assignment submissions completed in a narrative essay or composition format may not be written in first or second person (“I” or “you”).

All assignments must follow the citation and reference style established by APA the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed. (2009, Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association), in size 12 Times New Roman or Arial font, double-spaced with 1” margins on all sides of the page and include a cover page with the following centered vertically and horizontally: Student Name, Date of Submission, Assignment Title, Course Name and Professor Name.

With the rare exception of briefly quoting specific statistical research findings, in which case the publication’s author and year date of publication must be properly cited with quoted material placed inside quotation marks, all paper content should be paraphrased (summarized in the student’s own words) with correct source citations properly formatted in APA style. The website is an excellent, easy to understand resource for APA style formatting and source citation.

Unless otherwise instructed, students may not use commercial websites as the basis for completion of any assignments. Encyclopedia websites, such as Wikipedia or Encarta, dictionaries, blogs or opinion slanted news media outlets, and commercial Internet sources such as Web MD or may not be used for any writing assignment. Scholarly, peer-reviewed journals from the APUS Online Library must be used for assignment completion.


Forums: Due Weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8
Eight weekly forums are required. Instructions for completing them and a grading rubric are located under the “View Full Description” link beneath each listed forum. Because scholarly dialogue and related student interaction within a learning community are such essential aspects of online learning, participation is required and graded.

Midterm Exam:

The course midterm essay exam assesses students’ ability to apply knowledge gained through Week 4 of the course. The exam and its instructions are posted in the “Tests & Quizzes” tab in the classroom. Answers will be evaluated for the degree to which they exemplify advanced level critical thinking and knowledge application commensurate with graduate level studies.

Brief Essay Papers: Due Weeks 2 and 5
Students will compose two short essay papers in which they pursue an assigned thread of inquiry designed to afford the opportunity to apply knowledge gained during the course. Topics for these papers will be posted in the classroom during their respective assigned weeks. The papers must follow the requirements noted above under general assignment instructions detailed in this syllabus. A grading rubric is listed under the “View Details” link with this assignment.

Case Analyses: Due Weeks 3 and 6

Students will develop two cases analyses in which they analyze cases per information and instructions posted in the classroom during their respective assigned weeks. Whereas the papers above are designed to facilitate assessment and synthesis of theories and constructs, the purpose of these analyses is to demonstrate an ability to apply knowledge gained during the course to real world individual cases. The papers must follow the requirements noted above under general assignment instructions. A grading rubric is listed under the “View Details” link with this assignment.


Students will submit an 8 - 10 page (not including the cover or References pages) length paper summarizing 6 - 8 evidence based (meaning reports of findings arising from experimental research conducted by the article author[s] and not opinion articles or publications summarizing multiple research studies), peer-reviewed articles retrieved from the APUS online library. These summaries must not be merely one summary after another with no meaningful connections between them, but rather the paper should integrate and demonstrate clearly how the summaries are logically related to one another in a coherent and well-articulated literature review. The paper will end with a minimum of two paragraphs summarizing points made and articulating suggestions for future research directions arising from the article reviews. A grading rubric is listed under the “View Details” link with this assignment.

An Annotated Bibliography which includes an APA formatted listing of articles to be used for the paper with an accompanying brief description of what each covers (to be written in the student’s own words—copying or paraphrasing the article abstract is not permitted) must be submitted by the end of Week 3 of the course. The annotated bibliography worth 50 possible points and is part of the total Literature Review Paper points possible. If it is not submitted by the end of Week 3, 50 points will be deducted prior to any other grading of the paper. This assignment submission will be evaluated based on:

  • The degree to which the article summaries are truly integrated and logically related; arbitrary statements of “This is related to that” without supporting evidence of an actual connection will result in a significant point deduction.
  • Evidence of academically mature insight and use critical thinking skills in analyzing and relating the articles to each other and making suggestions for future research directions.
  • Clear and thorough articulation of the paper’s key points.
  • Compliance with APA paper formatting standards.
  • Minimal to no grammar, spelling or basic writing errors
NameGrade %
Forums 32.00 %
Week 1 Forum 4.00 %
Week 2 Forum 4.00 %
Week 3 Forum 4.00 %
Week 4 Forum 4.00 %
Week 5 Forum 4.00 %
Week 6 Forum 4.00 %
Week 7 Forum 4.00 %
Week 8 Forum 4.00 %
Brief Essay Papers 10.00 %
Brief Essay Paper (Week 2) 5.00 %
Brief Essay Paper (Week 5) 5.00 %
Case Analyses 10.00 %
Case Analysis (Week 3) 5.00 %
Case Analysis (Week 6) 5.00 %
Exam 18.00 %
Week 4 Midterm Exam 18.00 %
Literature Review paper 30.00 %
Annotated Bibliography (Week 3) 5.00 %
Literature Review Paper (Week 7) 25.00 %
Unassigned 0.00 %
Week 4 Midterm Exam 0.00 %

Corsini, R. J. & Wedding, D. (2014). Current psychotherapies (10th Ed.). Brooks Cole.

Wedding, D. & Corsini, R. J. (2014). Case studies in psychotherapy (7th Ed.). Brooks Cole.

Book Title:Current Psychotherapies, 10th ed.
Publication Info:Cengage
Author:Wedding and Corsini
Unit Cost:$205.02
Book Title:Case Studies in Psychotherapy, 7th ed.
Publication Info:Cengage
Author:Wedding and Corsini
Unit Cost:$120.02

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.