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COU5008 Group Counselling Processes and Practice

Semester 2, 2020 Online
Short Description: Group Counsel Process Prac
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: Jan Du Preez


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. Group intervention skills are deployed in a range of settings and for a number of purposes, including family therapy, personal development, psychoeducation, conflict management, team development, mediation, and many others. In the helping professions, group skills are often central to a range of intervention approaches. Consequently, some areas of counselling practice are contingent on knowledge of appropriate design frameworks and the capacity to utilise higher order process skills effectively. A key advantage of group approaches is that the groups provide an analogous experience of community, where individuals can grow and develop in a supported setting, and with careful guidance from a skilled professional. This course includes key theories and models for understanding how groups function and evolve. It also includes frameworks for counselling professionals to respond to the ongoing dynamics of a group’s process, in order to effect meaningful change for the group’s members. Because it forms part of a post-professional qualification, it 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. The course informs and links with others in the counselling stream, especially those in the Child, Youth and Family Therapy and the Mental Health Counselling programs.


The course is divided into two parts. The first aspect concerns the theories and principles which underpin models of group processes and applications. Topics include history and theories of groups, including stage theories, and action and process models of group development. The various settings in which groups occur are also addressed, including how contextual factors intersect with process design. A range of individual difference and diversity factors are addressed, because of their fundamental interaction with the intrapersonal and interpersonal experience of group members. The second aspect of the course concerns skills development, especially in relation to 1) process design, and 2) process management. As such, counselling microskills are extended to encompass higher order practitioner skills, such as leveraging conflict and confrontation to stimulate learning and change. The ethical challenges of managing consent and confidentiality for individuals in a group setting is embedded within each component of the course, and especially in the skills component. Finally, the group counsellor as a person and as a professional is considered, in terms of how he or she can maintain personal containment and focus in a dynamic and fluid group environment. All students will have the opportunity to develop discipline-specific areas of interest, as the assessment will be sufficiently flexible to allow for individual health specialisations.


On successful completion of this course students will have:

  1. demonstrated advanced and integrated understanding of group types, formats, and stages
  2. demonstrated advanced and integrated understanding of theories and action models for group processes, including approaches to planning groups for learning and behaviour change
  3. demonstrated group management skills, including management of stages in the group development process and managing individual differences
  4. demonstrated higher order group process skills, including micro-process skills for effective management of group members’ intrapersonal and interpersonal experiences
  5. demonstrated advanced and integrated knowledge and skills to support ethical practice, including management of confidentiality and informed consent, as well as self-care, including skills for reflective practice and lifelong learning.


Description Weighting(%)
1. The group counsellor: The person and the setting 10.00
2. The client in context 1: Ethics, confidentiality, and consent 10.00
3. The client in context 2: Valuing individual differences 10.00
4. Theories and models 1: History and stage models 10.00
5. Theories and models 2: Action and process models 10.00
6. Theories and models 3: Therapy models 10.00
7. Advanced group skills 1: Process design for behaviour change 10.00
8. Advanced group skills 2: Process skills for group management 10.00
9. Advanced group skills 3: Conflict as opportunity 10.00
10. The group counsellor: Evaluation and self-care 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. (

There will be no prescribed text for this course. Readings and resources will be provided on the course home page and links to USQ library, via DiRect.

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.
Dalmau, T & Dick, B 1992, Managing Transitions, Interchange, Chapel Hill.
Erford, B.T 2018, Group Work, Processes and Applications, 2nd, Pearson, Upper Saddle River, NJ,
Forsyth, D.R. 2014, Group Dynamics, 6th edn, Wadsworth, Belmont, CA 2018, Group Dynamics, 7th edn, Wadsworth, Belmont, CA.
Heron, J. 1989, The Facilitator’s Handbook, Kogan Page, London, UK.

Hogan, C. 2002, Practical Facilitation: A Toolkit of Techniques. Kogan Page, London.

Hogan, C. 2002, Understanding Facilitation: Theory and Principles, Kogan Page, London.

Johnson, D.W. & Johnson, F.P. 2017 , Joining Together, 12th edn, Allyn & Bacon, Boston.

Kolb, D. 2015, Experiential Learning, Experience as the Source of Learning and Development, 2nd edn - Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Schwarz, R. 2005, The Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook: Tips, Tools, and Tested Methods for Consultants, 1st edn Facilitators, Managers, Trainers, and Coaches, Josey Bass, San Francisco.

Schneider-Corey, M., Corey, G. & Corey, C. 2017, Groups, Process and Practice, 10th edn Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA.

Silberman, M. (Ed.), 2007, The Handbook of Experiential Learning, John Wiley & Sons, San Francisco, CA.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 45.00
Directed Study 40.00
Online Tutorials 10.00
Private Study 70.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Assignment 1 100 20 11 Aug 2020
Assignment 2 100 40 10 Sep 2020
Skills Demonstration 100 40 26 Oct 2020

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students’ responsibility to participate in the online tutorials and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student 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 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. If electronic submission is specified for a course assessment, students will be notified of this on the Course Study Desk. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment irrespective of holidays. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  3. If hardcopy submission is specified for a course assessment, students will be notified of this on the Course Study Desk. The due date for a hardcopy assignment is the date by which a student must submit at USQ or despatch the assignment to USQ irrespective of holidays.

  4. USQ will NOT accept submission of assignments by facsimile or email unless expressly requested by the course examiner.

  5. Referencing in Assignments must comply with the American Psychological Association (APA) referencing system. The APA system should be used by students to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The American Psychological Association (APA) style to be used are defined by the USQ library’s referencing guide. These policies can be found at

  6. Reliable access to the internet is a requirement of this course as the course contains electronic submission elements. Students who knowingly do not have reliable access to the internet should actively seek alternative internet access (e.g., Internet cafes, local libraries, or work places) for assessment. All students are able to use the on-campus student computer laboratories once access has been enabled. To be granted access, external students need to contact ICT and ask to have a student account enabled so that they can work on-campus.

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, 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.

Date printed 6 November 2020