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SWSP1023 Professional Practice 1

Level: Bachelor
Credit Points: Six
Prerequisites: None
Mode(s) of delivery: Online
Core/elective: Core

Unit Description

This experiential unit introduces students to communications (oral, IT and written), ethics and values, the Law, and interviewing and assessment skills necessary for effective and engaging social work practice. This subject sets the scene for the integration of theory with practice, a necessary preparation for field placements that form a crucial part in becoming a professional and competent social welfare practitioner. The acquisition of academic skills is also an important part of this unit.

Unit Workload

The workload for this unit is nine hours per week. A weekly 3 hour learning session [via Zoom]. One hour will be didactive material delivered in lecture format. Two hours will be interactive class time, for discussion of the lecture, readings, assessments and class activities. Course material will be available in the online class space. In addition to the 3 hours of class time, students are expected to engage in 6 hours of private study per week.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

a) Demonstrate basic interpersonal and communication skills used in professional practice.

b) Demonstrate communication skills with the range of social work target groups, including individuals, families, groups, communities and organisations across mediums, contexts and cultures.

c) Articulate knowledge of self and critically reflect upon own professional development and professional boundaries.

d) Demonstrate understanding of helping relationship and problem based assessment and crisis intervention planning.

e) Demonstrate understanding of power in the helping relationship, the process of collaborative goal-setting, and a client-driven problem-solving process.

f) Identify strength-based and solution-focus strategies to foster the development of change-orientated strategies towards empowerment outcomes.

Learning and Teaching Approach

  1. Learning is an active process – which involves both questioning and challenging.
  2. Learning is a shared process – where others’ thoughts and ideas are presented, critically analysed, exchanged and respected.
  3. Learning is a collaborative and empowering process for self and others.
  4. Learning is thoughtful and reflective.
  5. Learning requires integration with prior knowledge and other arenas of knowledge development in the program.
  6. Preparation for lectures and seminars and reading the recommended texts and references is essential.

The content of this unit has been designed to maximise both online and face-to-face learning to integrate the subject matter.

Students are expected to:

  • Complete all activities
  • Complete readings
  • Complete all assessments
  • Attend all classes

It is also recommended that students:

  • Keep a record of new terminology that is introduced in this unit
  • Keep a copy of assessments and other correspondence
  • Make notes on unit content and readings

There will be learning activities linked to all lecture materials which are designed to encourage students to deliberate and reflect and to provide opportunities for further learning. The activities are designed to help students think through and practise the specific skills and general concepts presented in this unit as well as provide valuable learning opportunities.


Recommended Texts

  • Loughran, H., (2019). Counselling Skills for Social Workers. Routledge 
  • Pomeroy, E. C., & Bradford Garcia, R. (2018). Direct practice skills for evidence-based social work: A strengths-based text and workbook. Springer. 


  • Australian Social Work
  • ADVANCES: Journal of Social Work and Welfare Education
  • Australian Journal of Social Issues
  • Critical Social Work
  • Journal of Social Work Education (USA)
  • Journal of Social Work (UK)

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 trimester. For a list of required textbooks for the upcoming trimester, please click here.