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COU8102 Professional Counselling Practice, Identity and Ethics

Semester 1, 2022 External
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Psychology and Wellbeing
Student contribution band : 2021 Grandfather Funding Cl 1
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 18 May 2022


Examiner: Carol du Plessis


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 required for registration as a counsellor, and will be relevant to similar standards in most health disciplines. There are professional competencies that students must acquire that are fundamental to the practice of counselling and to the helping professions generally. At the ideological level, comprehensive knowledge of professional ethics is central to effective practice regardless of specialisation. At the procedural level, students require knowledge and skills regarding client referral processes, risk assessment and management, cross-cultural practice, and management of consent and confidentiality. At the philosophical level, students also require the capacity for appropriate self-care and personal development by engaging in clinical supervision, as well as a clear understanding of their professional identity. This course is one of the core courses that informs and provides the foundation for other courses in the counselling stream, as well as underpinning the learning outcomes for the various specialisations and advanced degrees in the counselling stream.

This course includes a focus on ethics and the application of counselling ethics codes. The course will provide opportunities for students to examine legislation including anti-discrimination, privacy, child protection, disability/racial/sex discrimination, and mental health, all of which interact with counselling practice. In addition, students will develop knowledge and competence regarding the legal and procedural aspects of client or patient management, including intake, record-keeping, managing informed consent, risk assessment and management, and ethical decision making. Clinical supervision will be included as a topic, as well as reflective practice skills to ensure independent self-care and essential learning and development.

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

Course learning outcomes

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

  1. Critically apply relevant ethical principles and legislation affecting the conduct and behaviour of professional counsellors
  2. Critically engage with issues that affect counsellors in professional practice, including service design
  3. Formulate a comprehensive psychosocial client assessment, including risk assessment, case conceptualisation and treatment planning
  4. Accurately and professionally communicate client related information through case notes and report writing
  5. Engage appropriately in clinical supervision and reflective practice to support effective self-care and ongoing development.


Description Weighting(%)
1. The profession of counselling 5.00
2. Ethics and legislation 25.00
3. The pragmatics of practice 15.00
4. Client assessment (including risk assessment), case conceptualisation and treatment planning 25.00
5. Treatment documentation and record keeping 10.00
6. Clinical supervision, professional development and self-care 20.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Student workload expectations

To do well in this subject, students are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week including class contact hours, independent study, and all assessment tasks. If you are undertaking additional activities, which may include placements and residential schools, the weekly workload hours may vary.

Assessment details

Approach Type Description Group
Weighting (%) Course learning outcomes
Assignments Practical Practical No
Assignments Written Quiz No 25 1
Assignments Written Planning document No 35 2,5
Assignments Written Report No 40 3,4
Date printed 18 May 2022