Certificate in Youth Work VPS121


This Certificate Level Qualification course focuses on everything you need to know to work with youth. 

You may use this course as a stand-alone course, or to develop your existing skills - for example if you are a counsellor and wish to specialise in working with youths, or if you are a child care worker or teacher but are looking to branch out into a different kind of work, or gain a new perspective on the work that you are already doing.

This Course consists of 3 Core Modules and 3 Elective Modules. 


1.Counselling Skills I

Learning specific skills
Listening and Bonding
Interview Techniques
Changing beliefs and normalising
Finding solutions
Ending the counselling

2.Developmental Psychology

Early Childhood
Middle Childhood
Challenges of Middle Childhood
Challenges of Adolescence
Challenges of Adulthood
Late Adulthood

3.Psychology and Counselling

Abnormal Behaviour
Individual Behaviour
Group Behaviour
Methods of Dealing with Abnormalities
Conflict Resolution
Interpersonal Communication Skills


(Choose any 3 from the list below)

  • Careers Counselling
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health
  • Crisis Counselling
  • Developmental, Learning, and Behavioural Conditions in Children and Adolescents
  • Educational Psychology
  • Family Counselling
  • Horticultural Therapy
  • Child Psychology
  • Adolescent Psychology
  • Play Leadership
  • Relationship and Communication Counselling



Piaget’s Formal Operations Stage

Piaget found that at around 11 years of age, children begin to think logically about the function of their physical world. Also, he argues that they are able of combining concepts, for example, weight and distance. A young person may begin to think in an abstract way. Ideas will not have to be tied to concrete data – those they can see, hear and touch. By being able to combine concepts, they are able to have more abstract thoughts. This is Piaget’s stage of Formal Operations.

When this occurs, the logical mind is free from the concrete world. The person can make abstract thoughts, using a system of ideas to reach valid conclusions. For example, mathematics is logical, but we can work out the answers to a mathematical puzzle without seeing the concrete or physical evidence. Another example is algebra. A younger child would not be able to see that it possible to understand complex puzzles using algebra, but an adolescent or adult should be able to. This logical consistency is important, in science, mathematics and many other areas.

Piaget argued that the stage of formal operations marks the transition to adolescence. The adolescence can think directly about the future, manipulate ideas around the world around him/her. He/she can become an idealist. They may be more realistic, but able to see things from different viewpoints.

Piaget suggests that this form of thinking and puberty come at the same stage, but it is debatable whether one depends on the other. Some researchers argue against this. For example, there are some children who are genius level at maths before puberty. So puberty is not caused by intellectual development.

When entering their teens, many children go through a stage of almost constant examinations, tests and need for educational achievement. It could be argued that it is no wonder that teenagers “rebel” against authority.

While the first three stages described by Piaget appear to occur at more or less universal ages, adolescents from different cultural/ethnic/environmental backgrounds show considerable variability in the attainment of abstract reasoning skills. Cultures that provide rich social and stimulating environments and experiences give adolescents better opportunity to acquire the abstract cognitive skills they will need.

Factors such as maternal intelligence, home environment and socio-economic status have also been shown to play a role in the cognitive development of an adolescent.



Needless to say, child psychologists are particularly interested in discovering the causes of certain patterns of behaviour in children. They are interested, for instance, in how the child's environment and relationships (eg. home, school and neighbourhood) affect the child's development. This involves an attempt to establish causes. They are also interested in "outcomes" of certain childhood experiences; for example, how does the experience of living in a poverty stricken environment affect the later behaviour of the child? It is difficult to identify "one" solitary cause for any behaviour. Usually a behaviour is far more complex, having been influenced by a mixture of prior experiences. If you have already studied some psychology, you have probably learned that there is considerable debate amongst psychologists as to whether human behaviour is determined primarily by our genetic makeup or whether it is primarily determined by what we learn through interaction with our environment. This is called the nature-nurture debate, and is of great interest when trying to understand children’s behaviour.

Nature refers to biological influences on our behaviour. Psychological attributes such as intelligence, addictiveness and depression may be caused by genetic influences (such as a gene passed on by one parent, or the human genetic makeup) or by biological factors (such as a hormonal imbalance, developmental stages, nervous system damage etc.). Hereditary refers to behaviours or characteristics which have been transmitted from parents to offspring. The units of hereditary are genes, which determine the course of development in the growing human embryo.

Isolating hereditary characteristics

An interesting research method used by child psychologists to determine which traits and behaviours are inherited is by comparing monozygotic twins and dizygotic twins. This provides a way of isolating genetic influence. The rationale is that since monozygotic (identical) twins are born from the same zygote (an ovum that has been fertilised by a sperm cell), they will have an identical genetic make up. Dizygotic twins are born from two different zygotes, thus their genetic make up differs as much as any two siblings genetic make up would.

For example, in a study to determine if intelligence is genetically determined, the researcher will want to learn if the intellectual capacity of identical twins is more similar, or more closely correlated than that of dizygotic twins. If it is (and this has actually been discovered to be correct) then the evidence indicates that intelligence is largely genetically determined.


Counsellors should be very good listeners and able to open up topics, rather than closing them down. Counsellors should not “explain away” things they are told, but encourage the client to respond and explain why they are upset and so on. For example, a client may come in and say they are upset because they are tired. The counsellor should not respond by saying something like “cheer up” or “you’ll feel better soon”, as this may not be the real reason they are upset, but the client may not want to reveal initially why they are upset. Think of it another way, have you ever done something silly, like dropped a bottle of milk and found yourself crying or extremely angry or irritated beyond what is rational for dropping a bottle of milk?

When this happens, do you often know that it is not due to the milk at all, but some other event(s) that have made you more sensitive or more angry or more upset, so when the milk bottle drops, it is like “the final straw”? So by responding in a “cheer up” way to someone feeling tired, the counsellor may not find out exactly why the person is really upset, as they have “shut them down” from discussing that conversation further. Or it will make the client work harder to bring this subject in to the conversation angry.

They should also take care not to divert attention to their own feelings. For example, “Yes, I know how it is, I’m tired out too, my baby kept me awake all night” or “Our neighbours had a loud party last night, so I’m shattered to”. Or if a client comes and says their partner has left them, “Oh no, I know exactly how you feel, that happened to me too and…..” and so on. The client has not come to hear about how tired the counsellor is or how the counsellor dealt with their relationship difficulties. They want to talk about their own. This may sound superficially selfish, but the client is coming to the counsellor for help with their problems. If they wanted to swap life stories and experiences, they could do this with a friend. Also, none of us know what another person is experiencing.

We may have exactly the same experience. Today you and I walk down the road and are both mugged at the same time by the same person.

Will we both feel exactly the same way? What if I was mugged yesterday or have been the victim of another serious assault. What if I had just been to the bank and had lots of money in my bag. What if a precious family heirloom was in the bag? What if you were an anxious person?

We will all experience things in different ways because of our own personality and life experiences, so no one can say they know exactly how we feel. They can try to empathise (put themselves in our shoes) and think how we might feel, but no one knows. The only way they know how we feel is if WE tell them and tell them honestly. So the counsellor should avoid statements such as “I know how you feel because I went through that too.” They didn’t, no one has been through our life and our experiences in the same way as we have.

Also a counsellor should avoid any types of moral judgements, for example, “You shouldn’t have done that” or “Isn’t that illegal” or “that must have upset him”. Good listening does not mean that the counsellor is authoritarian, judgemental or directive, it means seeing the world from the client’s point of view and accepting their feelings, whilst helping them express their feelings, no matter how difficult or painful they may be.



One particularly interesting field within the nature-nurture debate that has drawn heated testimony from both sides is language acquisition. How much of our ability to produce and comprehend language is programmed into our genes, and how much do we acquire only with environmental stimulus? Obviously, language cannot be completely genetic. Humans speak a wide variety of different languages, and very young children of any race or ethnic background can learn to speak and understand any of these if exposed to appropriate models at the proper time in development. Similarly, children cannot learn to speak a public language without this critical exposure. However, all humans use language in one form or another, and psychologists and linguists have noted many cross-lingual universals both in how children acquire language and in the inherent characteristics of the languages themselves. Therefore, as is the case with most aspects of human behaviour, the truth most likely lies in some combination of nature and nurture.

The ability to use language is a very important part of human cognition. In fact, some would argue that it is this ability - which distinguishes us from other animals. Regardless of one's view of the capability of animals to use language or language-like symbols, the fact that humans have language abilities far superior to those of other animals cannot be ignored. Despite the uniqueness of human linguistic ability, pinning down exactly how language helps us and how we use it is not at all a straightforward task.

One obvious use for public language is to communicate one’s thoughts to other people. In fact, this may seem like the only, or at least the most important, use of our linguistic abilities.

In the first weeks of life infants make noises from crying to cooing noises when feeling content. These are the building blocks which later develop into the voice of the child. This is their start on the road to language acquisition. Babbling and noises become more consistent and the child learns to say sounds such as baa and ma. Babies then use these sounds, phonemes, to combine with others sounds to become their first words.

Influencing language acquisition is parental and caregiver influences. The child’s primary and secondary caregivers influence their speech and language comprehension by talking with them and asking the child questions in a style that they can understand – simple. We have all heard the very serious adult switch into “baby talk” around the infant. This helps them intellectually and socially later on in life.

Language development usually follows a set pattern, but children will differ as they progress. Their opportunities to communicate and experiment with language will affect how they develop. Language development and cognitive development are closely linked. To make sense of the world, we need to be able to organise the way we think about it and understand it. We need to be able to predict and hypothesise in a given situation. Language helps us to do this. For example, learning what will happen if we walk off a step without looking, touch a hot object and so on.


The Mind-Body Connection and Stress

In the discipline of psychology, the term stress is defined as the state of psycho physiological arousal. It is virtually impossible to discuss psychological stress without describing the psychological state that accompanies it. The dynamics of stress demonstrate the close interaction between mind and the body in human behaviour. Thus, before we discuss stress, let us first briefly take to task the mind/body problem.

During our everyday conversation, we tend to use the term body for all that is concrete and tangible about ourselves -the shape of our limbs, colour of hair etc. The term mind on the other hand refers to the intangible part of our experience -the private storehouse of our emotions and thoughts. Thus, in our everyday life, we tend to use these two terms as though they refer to entirely separate entities, which exist independent of each other. This is not the case though...they are interrelated and highly inseparable! E.g. when we are feeling stressed, we tend to exhibit both physical and psychological symptoms. Depression can cause tension in muscles which in turn can lead to a sore back or headache.

Stress or tension is a state of psychological and physiological arousal. As the Oxford Dictionary states, it is "a state of affair involving demand on physical or mental energy".

When we encounter the term stress in magazines and books, it often really refers to ‘excess stress’. This can in fact be misleading, because the human being is always in a state of stress (arousal). Extreme stress conditions, psychologists say, are detrimental to human health but in moderation stress is normal and, in many cases, proves useful. Stress, nonetheless, is synonymous with negative conditions.

We use the term ‘distress’ to indicate negative stress, which can lead to harmful effects, such as being fired from ones job. The term ‘eustress’ is used to refer to positive arousal which provides a healthy challenge, such as being promoted in one’s job.

The level of stress differs from one individual to another. Certain individuals experience a higher degree of stress than others (e.g. a job promotion may cause eustress for most people but for some it could cause distress). The level of stress also changes over time - you might be experiencing less stress now than you did a year ago.

A person can be in a state of low arousal, or high arousal. Some people tend to be one or the other most of the time. This is characterised by someone who needs more sleep - they tend to be more relaxed (low arousal), most of the time. An extreme case would be someone who lacks energy (lethargy) and fails to notice much of what is happening in their immediate environment.

People who are generally in a high state of arousal are those who can't help but wake early, who are full of nervous energy, and perhaps tend to fidget and move about. In an extreme case, this person might jump at the slightest sound. There are of course others who fall between these two extremes, being in a moderate state of arousal. The group to which a person belongs is closely related to the functioning of their nervous system -how fast impulses travel from one neuron to another. This is largely inherited.

A temperamental or emotionally unstable person has a high level of tension, and a low tension threshold.

They can react fast to stimuli; and can flair up into anger in response to just one wrong word. Effective behaviour of people with low tension thresholds can be easily disrupted by stressful situations. A person with a low tension level and high tension threshold is slow to respond to environmental stimuli, does not become angry very easily, and can generally bear a lot of stress before effective behaviour is disrupted.


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PlanAust. PriceOverseas Price
A 1 x $3,605.80  1 x $3,278.00
B 2 x $1,945.90  2 x $1,769.00
C 4 x $1,049.40  4 x $954.00

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