COUN2941 Working with Children and Adolescents

Bachelor Course Unit

COUN2941 Working with Children and Adolescents

Level: 3rd year

Credit points: 3

Prerequisites: Counselling Skills 2

Unit description

This unit is an elective in students’ course, and it introduces theories and practices for working with children and adolescents in a range of contexts. Students explore the physical, sexual, cognitive, emotional and moral developmental issues of children and adolescents, and learn how to assess appropriately the presenting issues, including those of their families and caregivers. The interplay between the family and the child or adolescent is explored. This may involve issues of grief, loss, mental disorders, discipline, domestic violence and abuse, gender, ethnicity and cultural diversity. The unit presents legal and ethical issues in working with children and adolescents, and specific strategies for referral.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to: 

  • describe and analyse the principle theories of child and adolescent development
  • explain the physical, social, psychological, and sexual development of children and adolescents
  • explain the cognitive, emotional and moral development of children and adolescents
  • explore the role of family in the development of children and adolescents
  • describe the presenting issues of children, adolescents and their families and caregivers when assessing counselling and the associated legal and ethical issues
  • determine strategies to identify who is the client when a child or adolecent is the presenting client
  • develop a range of strategies and interventions to work with children and adolescents and their families and caregivers

Unit content

  • The Contexts of Working with Children and Adolescents
  • Developmental Theories
  • Physical and Sexual Development
  • Cognitive, Emotional and Moral Development
  • The Role of the Family and Culture
  • Case Management and Counselling of Children, Adolescents, and their Families and Caregivers
  • Presenting Issues
  • Grief and Loss Issues
  • Mental Health Issues
  • Discipline, Violence and Abuse Issues
  • Legal and Ethical Issues
  • Case Studies

Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 9.75 hours per week.

Assignment summary

Regular Term



Word count


Professional Report




Reflective Essay




Summer School (2014)



Word count


Case Study/ Short Answer Questions



End of on campus week

Reflective Essay



10 days after assignment 1 

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

Geldard, K., Geldard, D., Yin Foo, R. (2013). Counselling children: A practical introduction (4th ed.). London, England: Sage Publications.

Relevant journals

Adolescent Psychiatry American
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Mental Health Nursing
Australian Journal of Early Childhood
Australian Journal of Psychology
Australian Social Work
British Journal of Developmental Psychology
Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Child Abuse Review
Child Development
Children Australia
Cognitive Theory and Research
Contemporary Family Therapy
Contemporary Sexuality
Disability, Handicap and Society
Eating Disorders
European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Family Matters
Focus on Exceptional Children
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Journal of Clinical Child Psychology
Journal of Family Therapy
Journal of Mental Health Counseling
Social Development

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.