Skip to main contentSkip Navigation or Skip to Content
Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

HUMS 1561: Introduction to the Family in Human Service Practice

Students examine multiple family structures in Canadian society providing the groundwork for beginning practice with families in human service work. Personal values and perceptions related to traditional and non-traditional family types are explored. Topics include the current and historical social, political, cultural, and economic influences on today’s families, family of origin and intergenerational trauma issues, family systems theory, and family communication patterns.

Learning outcomes

  • Identify traditional and non-traditional understanding of family.
  • Reflect on how family life influences development of self and impacts human service practice.
  • Describe the characteristics of functional or nurturing families as well as the characteristics of dysfunctional or troubled families.
  • Explain the diversity of the Canadian family and the pressures this institution endures.
  • Examine the social issues that currently affect and define marriage and family relationships in Canada.
  • Summarize concepts of various family theories.

Course topics

  • Module 1: Thinking about Family
  • Module 2: The Family—Definitions and Theories
  • Module 3: The Family—History, Culture, and Canadian Families
  • Module 4: Couple Relationships
  • Module 5: Children in Families and Parenting Roles
  • Module 6: Middle Years and Family Stories
  • Module 7: Dimensions and Issues of Aging
  • Module 8: Changes in the Family—The Divorce Experience and Remarriage
  • Module 9: Changes in the Family—The Lone-Parent Family and the Impact of Work on Family Life
  • Module 10: Social Problems in the Family—The Beleaguered Family
  • Module 11: Social Problems in the Family—Family Violence
  • Module 12: Social Problems in the Family—Poverty Impacts and Future of Canadian Families

Required text and materials

Students require the following e-textbook, which can be purchased directly from the TRU bookstore site at:

  1. Ward, M., & Bélanger, M. (2019). The Family Dynamic: Canadian Perspectives (7th ed.). Nelson Education Ltd.
    Type: E-Textbook. ISBN: 9781774123195


To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the Mandatory Final Project. 

Quiz 1 10%
Quiz 2 10%
Quiz 3 10%
Quiz 4 10%
Assignment 1: My Family Story 15%
Assignment 2: My Family Story and Human Service Practice 20%
Mandatory Final Project: Working with Changes in the Family      25%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

Search To Top