Professional Practice in Counselling - BPS207

Discover How To Relate to Your Clients Professionally

Whether you choose to work for yourself or you propose to work for someone else, understanding yourself and your strengths and weaknesses is very important when working as a therapist. So too is recognising the value of moral and ethical codes, multicultural awareness, the benefits of supervision, and knowing when to refer a client to another professional.

Learn all this and more so you can offer the best possible service to your clients.

Make yourself stand out from the crowd

Take this course to enhance your personal skills. Through self-discovery and raised awareness of how you interact with others you can learn to improve your therapeutic service. In doing so, you are more likely to secure your practice through favourable word-of-mouth. Study this course to:

  • Learn to provide a professional counselling service.
  • Learn to develop your understanding of appropriate practices and procedures within the counselling profession or other therapies.
  • Gain knowledge of the self, personality and emotions and their effect on the counselling process.
  • Gain insight into some of the most common disorders and when to refer clients on to other professionals.

Pre-requisites: “Introduction to Psychology” (or equivalent)

Duration:  100 hours

Course Structure

The course is divided into seven lessons as follows:

1.         Understanding Counselling: The client-counsellor relationship; Effective counselling; Counselling the counsellor; Counsellor’s values; Multicultural counselling

2.         Ethics & Confidentiality: Needs; A code of ethics; Informed consent; Right to privacy; Legal requirements; Use of psychometric tests; Ethics and multiple relationships; Keeping records.

3.         Understanding the Self: Self-awareness; Self-monitoring; Self-concept; Social Perception; Attribution theory; Implicit personality theory; Relationships; Social exchange; Love and intimacy.

4.         Personality: What is a healthy personality?; Trait approach; Psychodynamic approach; Humanistic approach; Social learning and cognitive approaches.

5.         Emotions & Behaviour: What are emotions?; Emotions and Counselling; Effect on communication, Aspects of emotions, Emotional expression and counselling.

6.         Supervision: Why supervision?; Working with others; Quantity and effectiveness of supervision; Personal counselling; Dependency; Types of supervision.

7.         Referral Practice: Counselling v mental health issues; Secondary care counsellors; Abnormal psychology; Anxiety; Depression; Schizophrenia; Personality disorders.


  • Discuss some of the main personal qualities that counselling will draw upon and demonstrate an awareness of the types of issues that new counsellors will need to resolve within themselves.
  • Raise awareness of: the ethical issues that arise within the profession, legal requirements, informed consent, decision-making and other related topics.
  • Gain insight into how the self, and one’s perception of the self influences both the client and the counsellor, and to understand the effect of the self upon relationships both within and outside the counselling process.
  • Enhance awareness of what is considered a healthy personality, to consider different types of personality tests, and to become aware of the application of different approaches to personality within the counselling process.
  • Explain how emotions arise, what they are, how they influence our bodies, minds and behaviour, and their role in the counselling process.
  • Understand the necessity for counsellors to have ongoing supervision throughout their professional career and to be constantly striving to upgrade their skills.
  • Delineate circumstances in which it is preferable to refer a client on to another health care professional, and to understand some of the main disorders that they may encounter.

  • Explain why a counsellor needs to be open to personal growth.
  • Discuss personal qualities that are beneficial to a counsellor.
  • Discuss how the counselling of a counsellor can be of benefit to their personal effectiveness’
  • Describe how a counsellor’s own values can impose on the counselling process’
  • Outline the importance of an ongoing education and an awareness of other cultures.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of other useful counselling qualities through role play.
  • Discuss the importance of having a ‘code of ethics’ in counselling.
  • Describe what is meant by ‘informed consent’.
  • Discuss the extent to which the client has a ‘right to privacy’.
  • Understand when and how psychometric tests may be used.
  • Describe how to keep client records.
  • Discuss how the counsellor’s own sense of self-awareness can affect the counselling process.
  • Describe how self-perception can influence identity, roles and self-actualisation.
  • Define schemas, scripts, and attributions and their influence on social-perception.
  • Discuss the effect of attractiveness, closeness and similarity on relationships.
  • Discuss the effect of different levels of self-disclosure on the counselling relationship.
  • Describe symptoms of relationship breakdown.
  • Define a ‘healthy personality’.
  • Discuss the effect of nature and nurture on personality.
  • Describe the use of different personality tests.
  • Compare and contrast different approaches to personality and their application to the counselling process.
  • Discuss what is meant by emotions with other people.
  • Describe the effect of emotions on communications.
  • Define different aspects of emotions including: physiology, cognition and behaviour.
  • Demonstrate ways in which emotional expression can affect the counselling process.
  • Discuss different methods of supervision of counsellors.
  • Describe how dependency can evolve in the counselling process.
  • Discuss the importance of upgrading skills and ongoing supervision.
  • Outline methods of observation used in supervision.
  • Discuss the counsellor’s responsibility to the client.
  • Explain what might be considered as abnormal.
  • Define symptoms of commonly encountered disorders


    Part of a counsellor’s training as already mentioned is becoming aware of their own needs so that they realize to what extent these needs can interfere with the counselling process. The counsellor should constantly be checking themselves by querying whose needs are being met…their own or those of the client. It is not unethical that the counsellor’s personal needs are met within their professional practice, but the meeting of these needs should be kept in perspective. Needs should not be met at the expense of clients. Clients must never be exploited.

    It is the duty of the professional counsellor to confront their own prejudices and vulnerabilities and so increase their self-awareness of their own problems by working through them. By taking this route the counsellor will be less likely to project them onto their clients. If during the counsellor’s practising, old issues that were never fully resolved are brought back to the fore then it is the duty of the counsellor to seek therapy in order that they can resolve them.

    Many needs of the counsellor can interfere with the counselling process. These include:

    •  the need for power and control
    •  the need to persuade others
    •  the need to be considered intelligent
    •  the need to impose our own values on others
    •  the need to be respected
    •  the need to be caring and compassionate
    •  the need to be loved.

    Of course, these needs must be detached from a healthy personal satisfaction in the counsellor’s work. What is important is that counsellors do not enter the profession because they have a need for power or to reinforce their own feelings. It is wrong to use others for their own psychological gratification and to keep the client in a dependent relationship.

    Therefore, counsellors should continually ask themselves where the relationship is going; whether towards progress and change for the client, or nowhere. Once a counsellor believes that the client is ready to move on, the relationship should be terminated. Similarly, if the counsellor cannot foresee any future change and the counselling is seemingly having little impact, then they need to consider referring the client on.


    How This Course Could Help You

    This course covers the type of background knowledge that all counsellors and therapists should possess.  It will be of most value to those with an interest in:

    Social work
    Caring roles
    Health professions

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    Fee Information (S2)
    Prices in Australian Dollars

    PlanAust. PriceOverseas Price
    A 1 x $781.66  1 x $710.60
    B 2 x $416.96  2 x $379.05

    Note: Australian prices include GST. 

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