COUN6101 Developing the Self of the Therapist

Master Course Unit

COUN6101: Developing the Self of Therapist

Duration: One trimester

Level: 1st year

Credit points: 6 (out of a total of 96 points)

Prerequisites: None

Mode(s) of delivery: Blended Delivery

Core/elective: Core

Unit description

This unit prepares students to advance their understanding of self and professional development as counsellors and psychotherapists. It places significant emphasis on the conceptualisation of the self, the integration of the personal and professional self, change theory, and power and control issues in the therapeutic relationship. The unit examines the use of self in therapeutic practice, with a focus on skills development for working at relational depth.

 Areas of learning include:

  • theoretical perspectives of the self; including the Person-Centred, Cognitive-Behavioural and Psychoanalytic approaches conceptualisation of self. 
  • an exploration of self and the impact of personal history on professional development
  • change theory; including an exploration of change in the Person-Centred, Cognitive-Behavioural and Psychoanalytic approaches, and resistance to change
  • the use of self in therapeutic practice; including an exploration of power and control issues
  • skills practice in working at relational depth

Learning outcomes

On completion of the unit students will be able to:

a)   Demonstrate an understanding of the influence of the self on their counselling practice through journaling their life story

b)   Identify and analyse the physical, emotional, intellectual and social contributors to individual development

c)   Demonstrate in depth knowledge, understanding and analysis of the characteristics of effective therapists

d)   Demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of change, change theory and resistance to change

e)   Identify and evaluate power and control issues in the therapeutic relationship

f)   Through self reflection, identify their own strengths and limitations as therapists and developing strategies to reduce the impact of limitations

Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 9 hours per week.

Assignment summary

Please refer to the document available here

Graduate attributes

The material covered in this unit will contribute to the development of the following graduate attributes:

  • Communication

The ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in a range of contexts using literacy, numeracy and information technology skills. 

  • Independent and Lifelong Learning

A commitment to continued and independent learning, intellectual development, critical analysis and inquiry, integrative thinking, and creativity.

  • Problem Solving

The ability to problem solve across a range of settings including professional, social and cultural contexts. 

  • Information Literacy

The ability to assimilate, analyse and utilise information effectively in a range of contexts, genres and texts types.

  • Innovation and Sustainability

A capacity to promote innovation within a socially sustainable environment.

  • Social Justice

An acknowledgment of and respect for equality of opportunity, individual and civic responsibility, indigenous and other cultures and times, and an appreciation of cultural diversity.

  • Discipline Knowledge and Skills

A command of a significant body of discipline knowledge and relevant professional skills.

  • Ethics and Ethical Practice

An awareness of, and sensitivity to, ethics and ethical standards on interpersonal and social levels, and within a field of study and/or profession.  To demonstrate integrity on social, cultural, and environmental issues.

  • Teamwork and leadership

A capacity for and an understanding of teamwork and leadership.

  • Global Perspective

An appreciation, respect and valuing of cultural and intellectual diversity.

Special provisions

Students will attend an on campus workshop of 14 hours in this unit. These workshops are compulsory to meet PACFA Professional Training Standards which require a minimum of 200 hours of face-to-face teaching.


The required text book for this unit  can be found by viewing the School of Counselling textbook list by selecting the course and trimester at the following link:

Relevant journals and resources

Knowledge and understanding of these topics will be enhanced by wide reading of international peer-reviewed journal articles from various domains of counselling and psychotherapy, which can be accessed via the ACAP Library’s journal databases.

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 for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


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.