COUN1101 Counselling Skills & Practice 1

Bachelor Course Unit

Level: 1 st year core

Credit points: 6 (out of 144)

Prerequisites: none

Mode of Study: On Campus and Blended Delivery


This unit is one of five introductory units in Counselling for commencing students. This unit will introduce you to the historical development of the counselling profession and an applied understanding of counselling skills.

Unit description

In this unit, students develop an understanding of the historical development of the counselling profession and an applied understanding of counselling skills. Student learning will be facilitated by using relevant readings, weekly section notes, learning activities, online classroom participation, self-reflection and skills practice. Self-awareness about the influence of values, attitudes and biases on communication is foundational to the development of effective counselling skills.

The process of counselling and establishing the counselling relationship are introduced in this section. Understanding of the stages of counselling provides a framework to practice new skills. The first session with a client and conducting client assessment are a focus of this unit. The counselling relationship is an important means of facilitating change and growth. 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 in the Counselling and Therapy in Video series and 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 should be able to:

  • define and analyse the skills necessary to establish an effective counselling relationship
  • analyse the influence of the counsellor and the counselling setting on the client’s experience
  • practise the application of counselling skills in counselling contexts
  • critically evaluate the use of counselling skills and create a plan for ongoing skills development

Unit content

  • What is Counselling?
  • Self-awareness in Counselling
  • Attitudes and Values
  • The Therapeutic Dialogue
  • The Counselling Process
  • The First Counselling Session
  • Listening, Silence and Holding
  • Accurate Empathy and Responding
  • Summarising and Language and Metaphor
  • Questions and Common Mistakes in Counselling
  • Timing and Closure
  • Combining Skills and Process

Learning and teaching process

The on-campus version of this unit comprises 12 weekly three hour on-campus lectures. Studying by Blended Delivery mode involves an online study guide and readings, video recorded lectures, four one and three-quarter hour synchronous online tutorials, and a two-day on-campus workshop.

Assessment summary

Please refer to the document available here 

Recommended text

For more information regarding recommended texts for specific units, please see the Counselling Textbook List.

Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 9.5 hours per week.

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. This includes plagiarism of any nature. It is your responsibility to make sure that you understand what constitutes plagiarism in order to ensure that you do not engage in it. Please refer to the Academic Misconduct Policy for more information.

Enrolment Recommendation

It is the recommendation of Psychological Sciences and Counselling that commencing students follow the recommended enrolment guide for the Bachelor of Psychological Sciences and Counselling, and complete COUN1101 Counselling Skills and Practice 1 in their first term of enrolment in the program. Please see our recommended sequencing of unit completion here.


Unit information may be subject to change prior to the teaching trimester commencing.  Once term has commenced please review the Unit Outline in your class space to ensure your trimester study plan is correct.