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COU5009 Counselling Skills and Applications

Semester 1, 2019 External
Short Description: Counselling Skills & Applictns
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Psychology and Counselling
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 090513 - Counselling
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Nancey Hoare


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: GCCO or GDCN or MCCO or PDEV or GCHH or GDHH or MOHH


The knowledge and skills acquired in this course are designed to address areas of competence specified in the PACFA accreditation standards for postgraduate counselling training, and will be relevant to similar standards in most allied health disciplines. Effective practice in the helping professions relies on a strong foundation in the core skills of counselling methods and processes. This course includes a significant skills focus to satisfy the professional practice orientation of the program. Applied skills are therefore central to the learning outcomes developed in this course, and include practitioner skills, such as observation, attending, reflection of content and feelings, questioning, exploration of meaning and values, and using empathic confrontation and other influencing skills to leverage behaviour change. Professional issues related to counselling practice are also addressed, including ethics, the therapeutic relationship, and multicultural sensitivity. Students will also develop basic skills to plan, structure, and manage a counselling session using basic listening and influencing skills. There is an emphasis on both personal and professional self-exploration, reflective practice, and ongoing professional development. The course informs and links with others in the counselling stream, including COU5010, COU5007, and COU5006, as well as underpinning the learning outcomes for the various specialisations and advanced degrees in this stream.


This course provides students with a thorough understanding of counselling processes and practices. It includes a specific focus on practical skills, based on counselling theory. The skills specifically addressed include core counselling microskills, such as observation, attending, encouraging, questioning, and reflection of content and feelings. Some of the more advanced influencing skills, such as empathic confrontation, exploration of meaning and values, interpretation, self-disclosure, and psychoeducation, are also developed in the course, given their role in behavioural change and the achievement of client goals. Students will also develop their ability to plan, structure, and manage a counselling session, including attention to ethical and contextual issues affecting the client and therapeutic process. Because there is a concomitant focus on the nexus between the therapist as a person and a professional, the course also emphasises introspection, reflective practice, and professional learning and growth.

This course contains a mandatory four day residential school and 10 hours of mandatory online synchronous workshops.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. skills for effective practice, including core counselling microskills, such as observation, attending, encouraging, reflection of content and feelings and questioning;
  2. higher level influencing skills to effect behaviour change, such as exploration of meaning and values, empathic confrontation, self-disclosure, and psychoeducation;
  3. skills in planning, structuring and managing a counselling session, including attention to ethical and contextual issues affecting the client and therapeutic process;
  4. skills in reflective practice to facilitate ongoing professional learning and development.


Description Weighting(%)
1. The counsellor and client in context: Ethics, multicultural competency, empathy and intentionality 10.00
2. Counselling microskills: Observation, attending, and encouraging 10.00
3. Counselling microskills: Paraphrasing, summarising, and reflecting feelings 10.00
4. Counselling microskills: Questioning 10.00
5. Influencing skills: Focusing, empathic confrontation, self-disclosure, feedback, and logical consequences 10.00
6. Influencing skills: Reflecting meaning, interpretation, and reframing 10.00
7. Influencing skills: Psychoeducation and therapeutic lifestyle factors 10.00
8. Structuring a counselling session 1: Story, strengths, and goals 10.00
9. Structuring a counselling session 2: Restory and action 10.00
10. Skill integration, reflective practice, and ongoing professional learning and development 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Ivey, AE, Ivey, MB & Zalaquet, CP 2018, Intentional interviewing and counselling: facilitating client development in a multicultural society, 9th edn, Cengage Learning, Boston, MA.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
O'Donovan, A. Casey, L, vander Veen, M. & Boschen, M 2013, Psychotherapy- an Australian perspective, IP Communications, Melbourne, Australia.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 50.00
Directed Study 35.00
Online Tutorials 10.00
Private Study 40.00
Residential Schools 30.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Attendance Requirements 1 1 26 Feb 2019 (see note 1)
Online Test 100 19 26 Feb 2019 (see note 2)
Video 30 30 09 May 2019
Report 50 50 30 May 2019

  1. The dates and location of the mandatory residential school are available from the Residential School Timetable ( The online synchronous tutorial schedule is available on the Grad Dip and Master of Couselling Studydesk site.
  2. The online test will be broken into smaller tests held on specific dates throughout the semester, as advised in the course study schedule.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    Students must attend the mandatory residential school and online synchronous tutorials. Students who are unable to complete the mandatory residential school because of Compassionate and Compelling Circumstances may be eligible to defer that Assessment Item in accordance with the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4).

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete the attendance requirements, students must attend the mandatory residential school and online synchronous tutorials to achieve a mark of 1 out of 1 for this assessment item. To complete the remaining assessment items satisfactorily students must achieve at least 50% of the marks for that item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade, a student must attend and achieve a mark of 1 out of 1 for the mandatory residential school and the online synchronous tutorials, achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks for the Video assessment, and achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative items for the course.

  6. Examination information:
    NO EXAM: There is no exam in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    NO EXAM: There is no examination in this course, so there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Students must familiarise themselves with the USQ Assessment Procedures (

  2. APA style is the referencing system required in this course. Students must use 6th edition APA style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.

Evaluation and benchmarking

In meeting the University’s aims to establish quality learning and teaching for all programs, this course monitors and ensures quality assurance and improvements in at least two ways. This course:
1. conforms to the USQ Policy on Evaluation of Teaching, Courses and Programs to ensure ongoing monitoring and systematic improvement.
2. forms part of the Graduate Certificate of Counselling, the Graduate Diploma of Counselling, and the Masters of Counselling, and is benchmarked against the:
o internal USQ accreditation/reaccreditation processes which include (i) stringent standards in the independent accreditation of its academic programs, (ii) close integration between business and academic planning, and (iii) regular and rigorous review;
o professional accreditation standards of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia Training Standards, 2014.

Other requirements

  1. Computer, e-mail and Internet access:
    Students are required to have access to a personal computer, webcam, headset, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at

  2. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in this course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect the same grades as those students who do possess them.

  3. Mandatory attendance at the residential school and online synchronous tutorials supports requirements of professional counsellor training and membership standards and assists students to meet course learning objectives.