COUN1001 Counselling Skills

Bachelor Course Unit

Level: 100

Credit points: 6

Prerequisites: none

Mode of Study: On Campus and Blended Delivery

Unit overview

In this unit, students develop an understanding of the historical development of the counselling profession and an applied understanding of counselling skills. Student learning is facilitated using relevant readings, extensive section notes in the unit curriculum, learning activities, skills practice and self-reflection. Students’ self-awareness of the influence of their values, attitudes and biases is fundamental in the development of effective counselling skills.

The process of assessment and establishing the counselling relationship is introduced in this unit. The counselling relationship is an important means of facilitating change and growth. Understanding of the stages of counselling provides a framework for practicing new skills. Students will learn how they can assist clients to achieve positive outcomes and increase their self-understanding.

Foundational counselling skills are introduced in this unit. There will be opportunity for learning through watching counselling demonstrations on YouTube and video resources available on the library website. Learning activities provide opportunity for practice with peers in triad groups. This is a very important part of developing counselling skills.


Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students will be able to: 

a)      define counselling and identify the qualities of effective counselling relationships

b)      discuss the importance for counsellors of self-awareness about beliefs, values and biases and identify how these may influence counselling relationships

c)      establish a triad counselling practice group and conduct an initial counselling session, assessment of the client, and collaboratively establish goals for the session

d)      define the stages of counselling and the tasks of each stage

e)      develop, apply and analyse the counselling skills of reflective listening, holding, use of silence, empathy, summarising and challenging in counselling sessions

f)       develop and demonstrate skills of attuning to the language and metaphors used by clients

g)      identify and apply the use of open-ended and closed questions in practice sessions and role plays


Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 9 hours per week.

Assignment summary



Word count


Reflective Essay and Summary of Counselling Session


Summary: Hurdle requirement

Essay - 1500 words

Session summary - no word limit


Learning Journal and Summary



  Learning journal - 300 words per week

Summary - 300 words

Total word length - 3900 words


Prescribed and recommended readings

Recommended textbook

Geldard, D., & Geldard K. (2012). Basic personal counselling: A training manual for counsellors. (7th ed.). Sydney, Australia: Pearson Australia.

Recommended readings

Brodsky, S.L. (2010). Therapy with coerced or reluctant clients. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Crago, H., & Gardner, P. (2012). A safe place for change.  Melbourne, Australia: IP Communications.

Hackney, H., & Cormier, S. (2012). The professional counselor: A process guide to helping. (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

Harms, L., & Pierce, J. (201). Working with people: Communication skills for reflective practice. Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press.

Knox, R., Murphy, D., Wiggins, S., & Cooper, M. (2013). (Eds.). Relational depth: New perspectives and developments. Palgrave Macmillan.

Lewis, I., & Lopez, J. (2008). What clients say about what works in counselling. Psychotherapy in Australia, 14(3), 63-70.

McLeod, J., & McLeod, J. (2011). Counselling skills: A practical guide for counsellors and helping professionals. Maidenhead, England: Open University Press. 

Mearns, D., Thorne, B., & McLeod, J. (2013). Person-centred counselling in action. (4th ed.). London, England: Sage Publications.

Nelson-Jones, R. (2013). Introduction to counselling skills: Text and activities. (4th ed.). London, England: Sage Publications.

Robert, T., & Kelly, V. A. (2010). Metaphor as an instrument for orchestrating change in counselor training and the counseling process. Journal of Counseling Development, 88(2), 182 – 188.

Robson, M. (2008). Working with a planned ending. In W. Dryden & A. Reeves. (Eds). Key issues for counselling in action. (pp. 185 - 199). London, England: Sage Publications.

Velleman, R., & Aris, S. (2010). Counselling and helping. (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.


Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. Please refer to for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of the semester.