counselling_courses

Graduate Diploma of Counselling

Gain an awareness of social, legal and ethical issues necessary to develop your counselling skills. Upon completion, you'll be able to apply counselling skills and strategies in a variety of settings.

This postgraduate diploma is ideal if you already have an undergraduate degree and need a qualification to work in the field of counselling.

You can choose study the whole course on-campus, or study partly on-campus and partly online. 

The course includes 200 hours of supervised work placement, where you can put theory into practice and gain valuable work experience.


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At a glance

Study mode

laptop
BlendedIn-class

Provider

Australian College of Applied Psychology (RTO 0500)
Career Opportunities
Recognition

Nationally recognised - meets Australian Qualifications Framework standards.
Accredited by the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia & meets intern membership requirements.

Prerequisites
  • Undergraduate degree in any field from an accredited Higher Education Provider, OR
  • Higher Education Advanced Diploma and relevant work experience, OR
  • Associate Degree in a similar field of study and relevant work experience, AND
  • Counselling Applicant Screening Questionnaire, AND
  • National Criminal History Record check within 30 days of accepting the offer
Location

NSW - Sydney

QLD - Brisbane

VIC - Melbourne

SA - Adelaide

Work placement

200 hours in total

Course length
Full-time: 2 years | Part-time: 4 years
Study mode

Blended

In-class


Online

Study from anywhere, when it suits you best and graduate with the identical qualification as an on-campus student.

Blended

Study part of the course online. Combine your online learning with classes or practical sessions on-campus at a college or university.

In-class

Attend classes on-campus at a university, TAFE or college and interact face-to-face with teachers and fellow students.

Assessment
Essays, projects & presentations. No exams.
Start date

3 start dates per year.

Provider
Australian College of Applied Psychology (RTO 0500)

The Australian College of Applied Psychology (ACAP) specialises in applied psychology and counselling courses.

The College has over 20 years' experience in the industry, and is a member of key associations including the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).

Navitas Professional Institute Pty Ltd (RTO 0500) trading as Australian College of Applied Psychology

Price

The course price can vary depending on a few factors, including whether you are an Australian resident or your chosen payment option. To find out more, contact the course provider.

Prerequisites

  • Completion of an undergraduate degree in any field from an accredited Higher Education Provider, OR
  • Completion of a Higher Education Advanced Diploma and relevant work experience, OR
  • Completion of an Associate Degree in a similar field of study and relevant work experience, AND
  • Completion of a Counselling Applicant Screening Questionnaire, AND
  • Completion of a National Criminal History Record check within 30 days of accepting the offer

What you'll learn

You will learn to apply the theoretical and ethical foundations of counselling to a range of practical situations, while also learning about conflict management, Mental Health Issues and developmental psychology.

Classes for this counselling course are small and interactive, and focus on hands-on learning. The curriculum is developed and updated in consultation with industry, so you are work ready upon completion and able to apply your skills immediately.

Work placement

This course includes a total of 200 hours of professional work placement.

This industry experience gives you invaluable real-life skills, so you graduate ready to step into a job.

Course structure

12 units

Year 1

  1. Counselling Practice


    In this foundational unit, students develop an applied understanding of counselling practice and skills including the development of self-awareness and self-reflection. Student learning is facilitated using relevant readings, learning activities, skills practice and critical evaluation.

    Students will be introduced to the process of counselling and how the counselling relationship is established. The counselling relationship is an important means of facilitating change and growth. Students will learn how to assist clients to achieve positive outcomes and increase their self-understanding. To facilitate this learning, students will analyse the influence of the counsellor and the counselling setting and practice application of counselling skills in counselling contexts.

    There will be opportunity for learning through watching and analysing counselling demonstrations on YouTube and through the eLibrary as well as real life counselling sessions with a qualified practitioner. Learning opportunities will also provide for practice with peers in triad groups. Through the use of a learning journal, students will critically evaluate use of counselling skills and create a plan for ongoing skills development.

    Learning outcomes

    On completion of the unit students will be able to:

    • define and analyse the skills necessary to establish an effective counselling relationship
    • analyse the influence of the counsellor and the counselling setting on the client's experience
    • practise the application of counselling skills in counselling contexts
    • critically evaluate use of counselling skills and create a plan for ongoing skills development.
  2. Counselling Theories


    This unit introduces students to the key psychotherapeutic schools, including psychoanalytic, cognitivebehavioural, and humanistic, within their historical context. Students will learn to develop a critical understanding and appreciation of the methodologies and approaches presented, and understand the philosophical bases of the methodologies.

    Students learn to identify the relevance of and apply the methodologies to different client presentations through case study analyses. Students will be asked to review one of the recommended readings on a psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioural, or humanistic counselling modality; and to engage with relevant theoretical material and subjective experience to analyse one of their dreams and critically reflect on the application of Freud's theory of dreams. The unit supports students to identify and practise the methodology that suits their interests and capacities.

    Learning Outcomes

    On completion of the unit students will be able to:

    • Identify key schools in psychotherapy (psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioural, and humanistic and their historical context
    • Critically evaluate how the evolution of psychotherapy has informed contemporary understandings of therapeutic processes
    • Analyse the application of modalities to clients' presentations
    • Evaluate the effectiveness of modalities for different client presentations.
  3. Cross Cultural Counselling


    This unit provides a conceptual framework for working with the principles of multiculturalism in the counselling context. Students will acquire some understanding of key questions of identity for people living in a culturally diverse country such as Australia. Through analysis of the influences on the formation of their own cultural heritage students will develop a response to racism, prejudice, discrimination and privilege, informed by relevant theoretical frameworks in cross cultural counselling. Assessment for this unit includes a case study of a character from a contemporary film, through which students will gain knowledge of post C18th Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history for counselling practice with indigenous people, and learn to identify and apply cross cultural counselling competencies.

    Learning Outcomes

    On completion of the unit students will be able to:

    • Define culture and identify the key identity issues for people living in a culturally diverse country such as Australia
    • Develop a response to racism, prejudice, discrimination and privilege, informed by relevant theoretical frameworks in cross cultural counselling.
  4. Counselling over the Lifespan


    This unit provides students with a comprehensive framework for understanding physical, cognitive, and identity developments through childhood, adolescence and adulthood. The theoretical work covers attachment, socio-emotional and moral theories of development, psychoanalytic, learning and cognitive theories, family systems and gender-role and sexuality theories of development.

    Students will be asked to identify a milestone in their developmental history and analyse it through relevant theories of development. Students will also evaluate media reports on lifespan issues such as the socialisation of young people, midlife crises, ageing and memory.

    Learning Outcomes

    On completion of the unit students will be able to:

    • identify and analyse the physical, cognitive, and identity developments in childhood, adolescence and early, mid and late adulthood
    • evaluate attachment, socio-emotional and moral theories of development
    • evaluate key psychoanalytic, learning and cognitive theories in developmental psychology
    • identify and analyse family systems' influence on development
    • apply developmental theory to a range of situations and contexts
    • identify and analyse gender-role and sexuality theories of development
    • demonstrate advanced theoretical knowledge of the impact of multicultural issues on attachment theories
    • analyse and synthesise theories of ageing, grief, death and dying.
  5. Ethical Decision-making


    In this unit students learn to identify and apply ethical practice skills and comply with legal responsibilities inherent in providing counselling services to clients. The unit draws on students' self-awareness of their ethical values, beliefs and behaviour to consider how these influence counselling practice. Students will develop appropriate ethical interventions on matters of safety for clients and others, such as self-harm, suicidality, family violence, discrimination and victimization; and engage with sociological theories of power, culture, gender, age and disability, to critically evaluate how these impact upon professional practice.

    Students will conduct a practice session in which they apply skills in ethical decision making and ethical practice, and will research a real world ethical breach in counselling and psychotherapy, analyse the social, ethical, professional and legal issues demonstrated in this breach and recommend appropriate interventions based on professional codes of ethics and relevant policy and legislation.

    Learning Outcomes

    On completion of the unit students will be able to:

    • Describe, identify and apply ethical practice skills and comply with legal responsibilities inherent in providing counselling services to clients
    • Identify safety issues for clients and others e.g. self-harm, suicide, domestic violence, discrimination and victimization; and develop appropriate ethical interventions
    • Identify and analyse ethical, legal and sociological issues, including power, culture, gender, age and disability
    • Develop self-awareness of their ethical values, beliefs and behaviour, and the influence of these on counselling practice
    • Analyse ethical and legal principles and values in relation to a real world ethical breach
    • Analyse how power and influence impact upon professional relationships.

Year 2

  1. Counselling Skills & Models


    In this unit students are introduced to the main philosophical concepts, skills and historical development of relational and postmodern therapeutic modalities. Through practice and class presentations students gain a depth of understanding of the framework and models of self that inform each modality, as well as the conceptualisation of the therapeutic relationship developed in each modality.

    The unit embeds critical and reflective practice. To this end students evaluate the benefits and limits of relational and postmodern therapeutic modalities and, in practice sessions, are asked to demonstrate sensitivity to gendered power relations and cultural diversity in the therapeutic relationship.

    Learning Outcomes

    On completion of the unit students will be able to:

    • Describe elements of relational and postmodern counselling modalities, and their historical development
    • Explain the framework and models of self and change that inform relational and postmodern counselling modalities
    • Identify and apply the skills used in relational and postmodern counselling modalities
    • Evaluate the benefits and limits of relational and postmodern counselling modalities
    • Demonstrate sensitivity to gendered power relations and cultural diversity in the counselling relationship.
  2. Grief Counselling


    Grief is a significant element of counselling within any modality or integrative therapeutic practice. In this unit students will learn to identify and analyse the human experience of a wide range of losses and bereavement. Through theoretical and practical learning students will critically evaluate current models of grief counselling and develop skills to match counselling options to clients presenting with experiences of grief and loss.

    Students will be asked to reflect on their own experiences of loss and to apply appropriate models of grief counselling to a case study developed from their personal experience. Students will demonstrate skills for effectively counselling clients who present with loss issues, including holding a safe space for the exploration of the experience of loss and applying grief counselling models appropriate to the client's presentation.

    Learning Outcomes

    On completion of the unit students will be able to:

    • Critically evaluate current models of grief counselling
    • Identify and analyse the human experience of a wide range of losses and bereavement
    • Match counselling options to clients presenting with experiences of grief and loss
    • Apply appropriate models of grief counselling to a case study developed from a personal experience of loss
    • Develop and apply grief and loss interventions that address the presenting issues of the client
    • Demonstrate skills for effectively counselling clients who present with loss issues.
  3. Mental Health Practice


    This unit provides students with in-depth knowledge of the range and prevalence of mental health disorders and skills in evidence-based interventions for mental health conditions, including Cognitive Behavioural, Interpersonal and Relaxation therapies.

    Students will learn to apply interventions at individual, family, and group levels which foster and enhance wellbeing, and develop self awareness about the influence of their own values and attitudes on their practice as mental health counsellors.

    Through case studies and policy research students will be asked to critically evaluate the effectiveness of mental health practice and policy at state and federal levels of government.

    Learning Outcomes

    On completion of the unit students will be able to:

    • Apply in depth knowledge of the range and prevalence of mental health disorders to case studies
    • Demonstrate knowledge and skills in evidence-based interventions for mental health conditions, including cognitive behavioural, interpersonal and relaxation therapies
    • Evaluate the effectiveness of mental health practice
    • Apply interventions at individual, family, and group levels which foster and enhance wellbeing
    • Have self-awareness about the influence of their own values and attitudes on their practice as mental health counsellors
    • Understand and critically evaluate mental health policy at state and federal levels of government
    • Apply the principles of the recovery model to practice with people living with mental illness and their carers
    • Demonstrate sensitivity and understanding of cultural diversity and culturally located meanings of mental health and wellbeing.
  4. Counselling Placement & Supervision 1


    Placements provide the practice opportunities to integrate and apply counseling theory and skills, and to practice ethical decision-making to uphold the rights and autonomy of clients. In this unit students have the opportunity to apply a range of counselling skills and interventions to meet client needs, and analyse the influence of organisational, cultural and social contexts on their counselling practice. Students will sharpen their counselling practice, develop intervention planning and participate in supervision through presentations of case material.

    Students will apply and for case presentations. Through supervision sessions students will present client cases and receive and integrate feedback into their counselling work. Students will develop an e-portfolio providing an appraisal of the achievement of their learning goals based on notes, reflective writing and supervision presentations over the term.

    Students must be in an approved placement prior to enrolling in this unit.

    Learning Outcomes

    On completion of the unit students will be able to:

    • Analyse the influence of organisational, cultural and social contexts on their counselling practice
    • Apply a range of counselling skills and interventions to meet client needs
    • Apply intervention planning to case presentations
    • Apply ethical decision-making to counselling practice to uphold the rights and autonomy of clients
    • Apply theoretical knowledge and counselling skills to practice with clients in a counselling agency
    • Engage in group supervision and reflect on the practice of counselling
    • Present client cases in supervision
    • Receive and apply feedback appropriately.
  5. Counselling Placement & Supervision 2


    This unit is for students continuing in their placement from the previous term. Skills from the unit Counselling Placement and Supervision 1 are advanced through supervised work in this unit, which prepares students for a counselling role the workplace.

    With an awareness of organisational, cultural and social contexts for their practice students will critically evaluate their counselling competence, including assessment and intervention planning to match client presentations.

    Students participate in small group supervision and demonstrate effective presentation of current client cases. Students will develop an e-portfolio critically evaluating their capacity to facilitate clients' change processes and professional development as a counsellor.

    Learning Outcomes

    On completion of the unit students will be able to:

    • Discuss the influence of organisational, cultural and social contexts on counselling practice
    • Critically evaluate the use of counselling skills and interventions
    • Demonstrate assessment and intervention planning and apply counselling models to meet client needs
    • Integrate ethical thinking and decision-making in counselling to uphold the rights and autonomy of clients
    • Evaluate their counselling competence in preparation for future clinical practice
    • Facilitate effective use of theoretical knowledge and counselling skills to practice with clients in a counselling agency
    • Demonstrate effective presentation of current client cases
    • Contribute to group supervision
    • Integrate feedback from the supervisor and other students effectively.

Electives

  1. Alcohol & Other Drugs Counselling


    This unit introduces a framework for counselling in the areas of substance use, abuse and dependency. It provides:

    • An overview of the theories and concepts of counselling in the area of substance use, abuse and dependency
    • Knowledge of the National Drug Strategy 2010-2015, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATS National Drug Strategy Complementary Plan), and sociological aspects of drug/substance use, abuse and dependency such as social exclusion
    • Identification of the physiological and psychological aspects of drug use, abuse and dependency and health promotion principles for working in this complex area
    • An outline and comparison of major approaches to the treatment of substance use, abuse and dependency and their evidence base
    • Principles for working with voluntary and non voluntary clients
    • Knowledge of best practice interventions for working with families affected by substance use, abuse and dependency
    • Guidelines for working with clients with dual diagnoses, for example a mental illness combined with substance abuse
    • Understanding of the specific impacts of alcohol and other drugs on Indigenous and culturally, linguistically and diverse communities
    • Boundaries and self care for counsellors working with substance use, abuse and dependency

    Throughout this unit you will be encouraged to reflect on your personal values and attitudes towards substance use, abuse and dependency, as both affect your counselling practice.

    Learning Outcomes:

    On completion of the unit students will be able to:

    • Understand and apply the concepts of substance use, abuse and dependency to case studies
    • Match treatment options to individual needs
    • Develop and demonstrate specific assessment and referral skills for counselling clients effectively who present with substance use, abuse and dependency issues
    • Develop and apply effective strategies for relapse prevention
    • Analyse interactions between individual drug use and the social context
    • Identify and apply the major treatment options available in the field according to their evidence base
    • Match treatment options to individual needs
    • Analyse the impacts on families of substance use, abuse and dependency
    • Identify special needs groups and clients, including ATSI and CALD communities and develop evidence based interventions to meet their needs.
  2. Narrative Therapy


    Drawing from the philosophy of deconstruction Narrative therapy is a postmodern therapy developed by Australian and New Zealand therapists. Students studying in this unit will learn to apply the skills of narrative therapy to counselling practice, and demonstrate an in-depth understanding of one of the aspects of this modality.

    Practice sessions will involve collaborating with clients to select a narrative therapy intervention appropriate for the presenting issue, such as: an externalising conversation, a remembering conversation, or witnessing a definitional ceremony.

    Critical thinking skills relevant to the Counselling field are developed through analysis of academic journal articles, and critical evaluation of the strength of the evidence base for narrative therapy.

    Learning Outcomes:

    On completion of the unit students will be able to:

    • Apply the skills of narrative therapy to counselling practice
    • Identify the strengths and limitations of narrative therapy
    • Critically discuss ethical aspects of applying narrative therapy to practice
    • Demonstrate an in depth understanding of a selected topic in narrative therapy
    • Critically analyse the evidence base for narrative therapy theory and practice
    • Demonstrate skills in searching electronic data bases and critically analysing published research studies.
  3. Creative Therapies


    Creative therapies work with various forms of expression "beyond words alone" to support positive therapeutic outcomes. In this unit students are introduced to the use of a range of creative mediums such as paint, clay, collage and sandplay to encourage clients to express their subjective experience.

    Through the development of a creative arts portfolio using Mahara software as a personalised learning environment students will understand the effectiveness of creative play in accessing nonverbal experience.

    Students will apply the skills of creative therapy in counselling practice sessions and evaluate the effectiveness of creative therapies for the enhancement of client wellbeing.

    Learning Outcomes

    On completion of the unit students will be able to:

    • Assess individuals presenting for counselling holistically and enhance wellbeing through the use of creative therapies
    • Apply creative mediums such as paint, clay, collage and sand play to encourage clients to express their inner world
    • Understand the importance of creative play in accessing non verbal experience
    • Evaluate the evidence base of creative therapies
    • Reflect on and evaluate the effectiveness of creative therapies.
  4. Groupwork Theory & Practice


    This unit traces important historical developments and contemporary applications of groupwork. Students will learn the function of key elements of group structure, process and dynamics as well as adult learning principles, communication skills and groupwork techniques for systematic group facilitation.

    Students will demonstrate skills in group observation and analysis and plan intervention strategies for a groupwork setting through the conduct of a group activity and evaluation of the experience.

    Students will evaluate ethical and legal dimensions of groupwork; and will use case studies to analyse group dynamics, probable causes of dysfunction, stages of a group's development, group member functions, power dynamics and leader interventions and their outcomes.

    Learning Outcomes

    On completion of the unit students will be able to:

    • Explain the rationale for groupwork and trace important historical developments including contemporary applications of groupwork
    • Demonstrate understanding of the function of key elements of group structure, process and dynamics
    • Implement appropriate adult learning principles, communication skills and groupwork techniques for facilitating a group
    • Demonstrate skills in group observation and analysis and plan intervention strategies for a groupwork setting
    • Develop a systematic approach to groupwork planning
    • Evaluate the effectiveness and ethical and legal dimensions of groupwork.
  5. Family Counselling


    In family counselling the therapeutic work is less focussed on an individual than on the family system. Students in this unit will learn to identify the purpose of family counselling and the tasks and role of a family counsellor.

    This will include analysis of attachment styles and how these impact on family relationships; the development of knowledge and skills to work with culturally diverse family constellations, and the application of principles and skills of systems theory to family counselling.

    Students will develop an understanding of family systems through case study work, practice sessions, and the construction of a genogram of their own family, and analysis of its patterns through the framework of family systems theory.

    Learning Outcomes

    On completion of the unit students will be able to:

    • Identify the purpose of family counselling and the tasks and role of the family counsellor, and differentiate family counselling from individual counselling
    • Use a genogram as an assessment tool to identify multi- generational patterns
    • Identify attachment styles and analyse how these impact on family relationships
    • Develop knowledge and skills to work with culturally diverse family constellations
    • Apply principles and skills of systems theory to family counselling.
  6. Trauma Counselling


    Trauma underlies many counselling presentations. This unit provides a conceptual framework and relevant skills for working with people who have experienced trauma.

    Students learn to identify the impacts of trauma and, through case study scenarios from films, apply this to assessment and treatment planning for different forms of traumatic stressors and client populations.

    Students will gain knowledge of the impact on the self of the counsellor, of witnessing trauma impacts on clients, and develop strategies for self-care through weekly journaling of their responses to the unit material.

    Learning Outcomes

    On completion of the unit students will be able to:

    • Identify and understand the impacts of trauma and apply this understanding to a case study
    • Develop knowledge of the indicators of a trauma response and apply in assessment
    • Critically evaluate the evidence base for trauma counselling interventions
    • Match treatment options to different forms of traumatic stressors and client populations
    • Identify and demonstrate sensitivity to cross cultural counselling considerations
    • Demonstrate knowledge of the impact on the self of the counsellor of witnessing trauma impacts on clients, and develop strategies for self-care.

Recognition

This Graduate Diploma of Counselling is accredited by the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA), and gives you the practical skills and theoretical foundation you need to work as a counsellor. 

On successful completion of this course, you'll be eligible to apply for intern membership on the PACFA register. 

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