BESC2021 Developing Professional Practice

Bachelor Course Unit

BESC2021 Developing Professional Practice

Level: 2nd year

Credit points: 3

Prerequisites: Counselling Skills 2

Unit description

This unit prepares the student for their first fieldwork placement through the development of their self-understanding as a professional practitioner. The student’s first placement is generally an observation-only placement, focused on the student’s area of specialisation or interest. The unit content is intended to assist the student to maximise and integrate their learning while on placement. This objective is achieved through the systematic development of their self-reflective capacities, through reviewing and integrating the theory learnt and the skills acquired in relation to applied social science, counselling, conflict management, diversity, research, and policy. Students are presented with an overview of supervision: they learn how to be a supervisee; how to present cases for supervision; and how to develop a professional identity. Emphasis throughout this unit is focused on developing within the student a professional identity, to be self-reflective, open to new learning, and aware of the role of ethical and professional practice.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to: 

  • explore and identify career options and specialisation interests
  • evaluate social science theory and applications in a range of contexts and circumstances
  • discuss the role of reflective practice and critical self-reflection in professional development
  • describe the role of a professional portfolio in enhancing employment prospects
  • describe the role and value of learning contracts
  • discuss social, legal and ethical issues related to the workplace and professional development
  • define and discuss the role of supervision and related support structures in the workplace
  • describe strategies and resources for ongoing professional development

Unit content

  • Developing Professional Practice: An Introduction
  • Integration of Social Science Theories and Practice
  • Application of Social Science to the Workplace
  • Identifying Areas of Specialisation and Interest
  • Developing a Professional Portfolio
  • Assessing Personal Strengths and Limitations
  • The Role of Reflective Practice
  • The Reflective Self in Action
  • Supervision and being a supervisee
  • Working with Difference and Change in the Workplace 
  • Ethical and Legal Issues in the Workplace
  • Building Professonal Networks on Placement

Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 9.75 hours per week.

Assignment summary

Regular Term



Word count


Reflective Essay




Reflective Essay




Summer School (2014)



Word count


Reflective journal and short answer questions


Reflective journal

(600 words)

Short answer questions

(800 words)


Reflective Essay




Graduate attributes

The following graduate attributes will be developed in this unit:

  • Knowledge of the framework of counselling theory, and a foundational understanding of the major theories of counselling
  • Understanding of and the appropriate application of counselling skills in a range of contexts and circumstances
  • Understanding what constitutes ethical practice in counselling interactions
  • The ability to effectively and appropriately apply the micro and macro skills of counselling
  • The ability to recognise major transition points in human development and major forms of mental illness and know when and how to appropriately refer clients

Recommended text

Cleak, H., & Wilson, J. (2013). Making the most of field placement (3rd ed.). Melbourne, Australia: Thomson Learning.

Relevant journals

Basic and Applied Social Psychology
British Journal of Guidance and Counselling
Career Planning and Adult Development Journal
Counselor Education and Supervision
Counselling Psychology Quarterly
Ethics and Behavior
Group and Organizational Studies
Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour
Journal of Humanistic Counselling, Education and Development.
Journal of Multicultural Counseling
Journal of Social Psychology
Journal of Sociology
Organizational Analysis
Organizational Dynamics
Psychotherapy in Australia
Quality of Life Reseach
Social Analysis
Social Science Quarterly
Social Science Review
Sociology Review
The Clinical Supervisor
Work and Occupation

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.