Counselling Skills l - BPS109

Build a successful career in counselling with this counselling course

  • Develop a foundation for better counselling skills

  • For anyone working in a helping profession (e.g. social worker, youth worker, teacher, health services, aged care, family support etc.) - both professionals and volunteers.

  • A great starting point for someone training to be a skilled professional counsellor

Many people use counselling skills in their daily lives. However, sometimes it may be inappropriate for people to use their usual methods of support. They may not want to discuss their problems with a friend or family member. They may feel that the person is too close, that they don’t want them to know their confidential problems or the person they would usually confide in might be part of the problem.

Counsellors are trained to be effective helpers in difficult or sensitive situations. They should be independent, neutral and professional, as well as respecting our privacy. Counselling can help people to clarify their problems, identify changes they would like to make, get a fresh perspective, consider other options and look at the impact that life events have made on their emotional well-being.

Develop your understanding of the basic practical skills used in counselling and how to apply these skills to the counselling process.


There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Learning specific skills:

    • What is Counselling

    • Perceptions of Counselling

    • Differences between Counsellors, Psychotherapists, Clinical Psychologists and Psychiatrists

    • Counselling Theories

    • Empathy

    • Transference

    • Directiveness and non directiveness

    • Behavioural Therapies

    • Systematic Desensitisation

    • Positive Reinforcement and Extinction

    • Goals of Psychoanalytical Approach

    • Defence Mechanisms (Repression, Displacement, Rationalisation, Projection, Reaction Formulation, Intellectualisation, Denial, Sublimation)

    • Use of Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy

    • Psychoanalytic Techniques

    • Analytic Framework

    • Free Associations

    • Interpretation

    • Dream Analysis

    • Resistance & Transference

    • Humanistic Therapy

    • Evaluating the Effectiveness of Therapies and Counsellors

    • Case Studies

    • Methods of Learning

    • Micro Skills

    • Triads

    • Modelling

    • Online and Telephone Counselling

    • Telemental Health

    • Clinical Considerations

  2. Listening & bonding:

    • Scope of Listening and Bonding

    • Meeting and greeting

    • Creating a Safe Environment

    • Location

    • Time and Duration of Sessions

    • Privacy in Telephone and online counselling

    • Showing warmth on the phone

    • The contract

    • Helping the client relax

    • Listening with intent

    • Minimal Responses

    • Non Verbal Behaviour

    • Use of Voice

    • Use of Silence

    • Case Studies

    • Active Listening

    • Dealing with Silent Phone Calls

  3. Reflection:

    • Non Directive Counselling

    • Paraphrasing

    • Feelings

    • Reflection of Feeling

    • Client Responses to Reflection of Feelings

    • Reflection of Content and Feeling

    • Case Studies

  4. Questioning:

    • Open & Closed Questions

    • Other types of Questions (Linear, Information seeking, Strategic, Reflective, Clarification, etc.)

    • Questions to Avoid

    • Goals of Questioning

    • Identification

    • Assessment

    • Intervention

    • Case Studies

  5. Interview techniques:

    • Summarising

    • Application

    • Confrontation

    • Reframing

    • Case Studies

    • Perspective

    • Summary

  6. Changing beliefs and normalising:

    • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

    • Changing Self-Destructive Beliefs

    • Irrational Beliefs

    • Normalising

    • Case Studies

    • Designing a Questionnaire

  7. Finding solutions:

    • Moving Forward

    • Choices (Reviewing, Creating, Making choices)

    • Facilitating Actions

    • Gestalt Awareness Circle

    • Psychological Blocks

    • Case Study

  8. Ending the counselling:

    • Terminating the session

    • Closure

    • Further Meetings

    • Dependency

    • Confronting Dependency

    • Chronic Callers

    • Terminating Silent Phone Calls

    • Silent Endings

    • Case Study

    • Other Services

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • The ability to explain the processes involved in the training of counsellors in micro skills. 

  • Demonstrate the skills involved in commencing the counselling process and evaluation of non-verbal responses and minimal responses.

  • Demonstrate reflection of content, feeling, both content and feeling, and its appropriateness to the counselling process.

  • Develop different questioning techniques and to understand risks involved with some types of questioning.

  • Show how to use various micro-skills including summarising, confrontation, and reframing.

  • To demonstrate self-destructive beliefs and show methods of challenging them, including normalising.

  • Explain how counselling a client can improve their psychological well-being through making choices, overcoming psychological blocks and facilitating actions.

  • Demonstrate effective ways of terminating a counselling session and to explain ways of addressing dependency.


  • Report on an observed counselling session, simulated or real.

  • Identify the learning methods available to the trainee counsellor.

  • Demonstrate difficulties that might arise when first learning and applying micro skills.

  • Identify why trainee counsellors might be unwilling to disclose personal problems during training.

  • Identify risks that can arise for trainee counsellors not willing to disclose personal problems.

  • Discuss different approaches to modelling, as a form of counselling

  • Evaluate verbal and non-verbal communication in an observed interview.

  • Identify the counsellor’s primary role (in a generic sense).

  • Show how to use minimal responses as an important means of listening with intent.

  • Explain the importance of different types of non-verbal response in the counselling procedure.

  • Report on the discussion of a minor problem with an anonymous person which that problem relates to.

  • Identify an example of paraphrasing as a minimal response to reflect feelings.

  • Discuss the use of paraphrasing in counselling.

  • Differentiate catharsis from confused thoughts and feelings.

  • Identify an example of reflecting back both content (thought) and feeling in the same phrase

  • Report on the discussion of a minor problem with an anonymous person which that problem relates to.

  • Identify an example of paraphrasing as a minimal response to reflect feelings.

  • Discuss the use of paraphrasing in counselling.

  • Differentiate catharsis from confused thoughts and feelings.

  • Identify an example of reflecting back both content (thought) and feeling in the same phrase

  • Demonstrate/observe varying responses to a variety of closed questions in a simulated counselling situation.

  • Demonstrate/observe varying responses to a variety of open questions in a simulated counselling situation.

  • Compare your use of open and closed questions in a counselling situation.

  • Identify the main risks involved in asking too many questions

  • Explain the importance of avoiding questions beginning with ‘why’ in counselling.

  • Identify in observed communication (written or oral), the application of different micro-skills which would be useful in counselling.

  • Demonstrate examples of when it would be appropriate for the counsellor to use confrontation

  • List the chief elements of good confrontation.

  • Discuss appropriate use of confrontation, in case studies.

  • Show how reframing can be used to change a client’s perspective on things.

  • Develop a method for identifying the existence of self-destructive beliefs (SDB’s).

  • Identify self-destructive beliefs (SDB’s) among individuals within a group.

  • Explain the existence of self destructive beliefs in an individual.

  • List methods that can be used to challenge SDB’s?

  • Explain what is meant by normalising, in a case study.

  • Demonstrate precautions that should be observed when using normalizing.

  • Determine optional responses to different dilemmas.

  • Evaluate optional responses to different dilemmas.

  • Explain how the ‘circle of awareness’ can be applied to assist a client, in a case study.

  • Explain why psychological blockages may arise

  • Demonstrate how a counsellor might help a client to overcome psychological blockages.

  • Describe the steps a counsellor would take a client through to reach a desired goal, in a case study.

  • Identify inter-dependency in observed relationships.

  • Explain why good time management is an important part of the counselling process.

  • Compare terminating a session with terminating the counselling process.

  • Demonstrate dangers posed by client - counsellor inter-dependency

  • Explain how dependency can be addressed and potentially overcome.

  • Explain any negative aspects of dependency in a case study

 Duration    100 hours


An initial counselling course (like this) is a good starting point to learn more about how counsellors communicate and listen to their clients. Even if you decide not to go on to train at a more advanced level, a basic counselling course is an excellent way to improve your communication in your personal and work life. Counselling skills are excellent ways to improve your own listening and communicating skills.

Some counsellors will study counselling, psychology or a related discipline through a college or University, and others will evolve into the job, perhaps starting out as a volunteer with a church or welfare organisation and undergoing some in house training with that organisation. Both options can be good. It is important to make sure that any studies and experience you get is credible and will help you to develop the counselling skills that you need.

Through your studies you may decide on an area to specialise in. This may lead you to further studies, or work experience with a counsellor who specialises in this area. Like any industry, experience is necessary to be able to gain work and also to work effectively. It is advised to initially work supervised by an experienced counsellor so you can learn from them. This may be in a volunteer or paid capacity.

The more work experience or volunteer work you can do while you are studying the better equipped you will be to work as a counsellor when you finish. Community service organisations (e.g. Religious charities) may offer training, as well as experience in a counselling type role. 

Other Jobs where Counselling Skills and Knowledge can be Very Useful

  • Remedial Therapist

  • Life Coach

  • Business Coach

  • Personnel Manager

  • Workplace Supervisor

  • Sports Coach

  • Fitness Instructor

  • Profiler

  • Play Therapist

  • Teacher

  • Youth Worker

  • Welfare Worker

  • Social Worker

  • Medical Therapist or Practitioner

  • Nutritional Counsellor

  • Weight Loss Consultant

  • Horticultural Therapist



ACS student comment

"This course has been extremely valuable to me as throughout those 5 months my friends all seemed to go through some crisis or other. I have learned so much that I could put into practice and from the responses I have had, it's been very positive. Tutor feedback was fantastic. All individual answers were given a comment which helped me understand if I missed something."
 Brenda Harvey, Counselling Skills I course.


Enrol today

If you would like to build a career in counselling or improve your counselling skills, why not enrol today on Counselling Skills I and get started.

If you have any questions or would like to know more -

Contact us today, by

Phone (International) +61 7 5562 1088 or (in Australia) 07 5562 1088




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Fee Information (S3)
Prices in Australian Dollars

PlanAust. PriceOverseas Price
A 1 x $834.96  1 x $759.05
B 2 x $451.44  2 x $410.40

Note: Australian prices include GST. 

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