COUN3101 Grief and Trauma Counselling

Bachelor Course Unit

Level: 3rd year core

Credit points: 6 (out of 144)

Prerequisites: COUN2101 & COUN2102

Mode of Study: On Campus and Blended Delivery


Through theoretical and practical learning students will critically evaluate current models of grief counselling and develop skills to match counselling options to clients presenting with experiences of grief and loss.

Unit description

Grief is a significant element of counselling within any modality or integrative therapeutic practice. In this unit students will learn to identify and analyse the human experience of a wide range of losses and bereavement. Similarly, many clients who come to counselling nave been impacted by traumatic life events and circumstances which have had a profound effect on their experience and functioning.

Students will be asked to reflect on their own experiences of loss and trauma, so as to apply appropriate models of grief counselling and trauma-informed care to a case study developed from their personal experience. Students will demonstrate skills for effectively counselling clients who present with loss or trauma-related issues, including holding a safe space for the exploration of the experience of loss, applying grief counselling and/or trauma-informed models appropriate to the client’s presentation.

Learning outcomes

 On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  • Understand the types and impacts of trauma and grief and the needs of different counselling populations
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the central issues in grief and trauma counselling and apply models of assessment to counselling practice 
  • Apply knowledge and skills of evidence-based interventions for specific losses and trauma populations; including suicide, bereavement, children and young people, and multiple losses and traumas experienced by Indigenous Australians 
  • Evaluate ethical issues related to grief and trauma counselling; including counselling competence, boundaries, referral and supervision
  • Reflect on the impacts of grief and trauma counselling on the self of the counsellor, including vicarious traumatisation and traumatic counter-transference, and strategies to manage these impacts

Unit content

  • An introduction to Grief & Trauma Counselling
  • Contemporary Models of Grief Counselling
  • Grief Counselling in a Diverse World
  • Grief Counselling Skills
  • Working with Complicated and Disenfranchised Grief
  • Counselling Children and Young People in Response to Loss
  • Counselling Parents and Families in Response to Loss
  • Trauma Informed Approaches to Counselling
  • Skills and Interventions in Trauma-Informed Counselling
  • Working with Specific Populations Impacted by Trauma
  • Ethical Dimensions of Grief and Trauma Counselling
  • Vicarious Traumatisation, Self-Awareness and Self-Care

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 10 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 students follow the recommended enrolment guide for the Bachelor of Psychological Sciences and Counselling, and complete all three second level counselling units (i.e., COUN2101 – COUN2103) before progressing to third level counselling units within the program. COUN2101 Counselling Theories & Models 2 AND COUN2102 Counselling Skills & Practice 2 are pre-requisities for COUN3101 Grief and Trauma Counselling. 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.