GEN PRAC 7014 - Counselling of Children and Adolescents

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

Counselling with children and adolescents is a specialist area that requires a particular child-centred perspective and creative, flexible application of skills and knowledge. This course will introduce advanced skills and approaches for responding to young clients from a cognitive, behavioural, emotion-focused and person-centred perspective. Presented as four one-day seminars, the course equips counsellors to apply appropriate micro-skills, to synthesise theoretical frameworks and evaluate techniques that may be suitable for an individual client. Reviews of recent research, the essentials of trauma-informed practice, and the use of non-verbal, creative arts-based activities will be integrated into a highly experiential program.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code GEN PRAC 7014
    Course Counselling of Children and Adolescents
    Coordinating Unit General Practice
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Restrictions Available to MCounsPsych, GDip CounsPsych, GCert CounsPsych student only
    Course Description Counselling with children and adolescents is a specialist area that requires a particular child-centred perspective and creative, flexible application of skills and knowledge. This course will introduce advanced skills and approaches for responding to young clients from a cognitive, behavioural, emotion-focused and person-centred perspective. Presented as four one-day seminars, the course equips counsellors to apply appropriate micro-skills, to synthesise theoretical frameworks and evaluate techniques that may be suitable for an individual client. Reviews of recent research, the essentials of trauma-informed practice, and the use of non-verbal, creative arts-based activities will be integrated into a highly experiential program.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Mark Pearson

    Course Coordinator: Dr Mark Pearson
    Phone: +61 8313 1633
    Location: Level 11, 178 North Terrace

    Learning and Teaching Team
    Phone: +61 8313 0148
    Location: Level 7, 178 North Terrace
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Display increased knowledge of the underlying theories and core approaches for counselling and psychotherapy with young clients, through written assignments, evidence of case work, and class discussions;
    2 Critically appraise theory and research related to the clinical application of counselling with young clients;
    3 Design and structure counselling sessions for children and adolescents;
    4 Assess individual client needs and select and apply appropriate techniques;
    5 Apply child-friendly approaches to developing collaborations that enhance the therapeutic alliance;
    6  Summarise and state child-focused therapeutic rationales;
    7 Interpret client behaviours within the therapeutic context;
    8 Estimate the particular needs of young clients who have experienced abuse, neglect or trauma.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-8
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 2, 6
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 3, 4, 5, 7, 8
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 2
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 2, 4, 5, 7
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1-4, 7
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    Course Textbook:
    Geldard, K., Geldard, D., & Yin Foo, R. (2013). Counselling children: A practical introduction (4th ed.). London: Sage Publications.

    Links to additional readings will be available via MyUni.

    Recommended Resources

    The following texts are highly recommended:

    Geldard, K., Geldard, D. (2009). Counselling adolescents. The pro-active approach for young people (3rd ed.). London: Sage Publications.

    Pearson, M., & Wilson, H. (2009). Using expressive arts to work with mind, body and emotions. Theory and practice. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

    Pearson, M., & Wilson, H. (2001). Sandplay and symbol work. Emotional healing and personal development with children, adolescents and adults. Melbourne: ACER Press.
    E-book available – via separate chapters.

    Perry, D. B., & Szalavitz, M. (2006). The boy who was raised as a dog: And other stories from a child psychiatrist’s notebook: What traumatised children can teach us about loss, love and healing. New York: Basic Books.

    Prever, M. (2010). Counselling and supporting children and young people. A person-centred approach. London: Sage.

    Thompson, C.L., & Henderson, D.A. (2007). Counselling children (7th ed.).Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.

    Online Learning

    MyUni will be used for all course communication
    All students enrolled in a postgraduate coursework program have access to a Postgraduate Coursework Student Centre on MyUni. This course is available on MyUni at
    Students should check the website regularly as it may contain announcements that are relevant to your study in the course. Those desiring the opportunity to network with other students can use the Communication features in the site:
    Information from the course coordinator and student administration will be sent to students at their University of Adelaide email address. It is the student’s responsibility to check their email. They will need to use their student number located on their student card to log in.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will consist of a one-day intensive interactive seminar and six ½ day seminars. The lecturer will draw from contemporary  and pioneering research; use illustrations from his own client work; along with structured activities and group discussion as ways of  supporting students to engage with counselling practices appropriate when working with children and adolescents. The emphasis will  be on developing skills in planning and implementing activities that engender a strong therapeutic alliance and open communication with young clients.

    Through experiential learning students will be encouraged to develop child- and adolescent- friendly counselling methods, and form  an understanding of the use of metaphor, image, movement, music and other non-verbal counselling techniques.

    The learning from the four face-to-face workshops will be extended and supported by three assessment tasks, which include (1)  reflection on selected readings and their application to a case (a group assignment), (2) assessment, planning, implementation and  reflection on work with a young client OR application to a provided scenario/case study, (3) a literature review of one child-friendly  counselling approach or therapeutic issue. To broaden the learning experience, students will have the opportunity read and respond  to their peers’ literature reviews.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The course comprises 30 hours over the semester, made up of 7 intensives of lecture, seminar and small-group discussions. Sessions will be seminar/workshop format, with a mixture of lectures and interactive exercises, and it is compulsory for all students to attend.

    Essential readings and on-line video material will be recommended.

    Face to Face lectures and practicals: 30 hours

    Core/background readings: 6 hours / week

    Preparation of assignments: 4 hours / week
    Learning Activities Summary
    The course content will include the following topics:

    1.    Child and adolescent development and assessment;
    2.    Establishment of a therapeutic alliance;
    3.    Communication catalysts, active listening and use of micro-skills;
    4.    Cognitive, behavioural, emotion-focused and person-centred treatments and their rationale;
    5.    Multiple intelligences theory;
    6.    Child-friendly therapeutic activities - non-verbal methods such as therapeutic writing, visual art, music and sandplay therapy;
    7.    Structure of therapy sessions for young clients;
    8.    Care in implementing trauma-informed practice;
    9.    Supporting resilience;
    10. The child in the family and the expression of family issues;
    11. Establishing a child-friendly consulting environment;
    12. Professional issues and relating to carers.
    Important components of this course include regular reading, reflection on course material and the text book, as well as research, and peer interaction/discussion. The required readings are an essential component of the course and are intended to clarify and expand on material experienced in the course.

    Seminar    Topic Lecture/Experiential skills development
    1 Orientation to Child & Adolescent
    Child and adolescent development; establishing a therapeutic alliance; the child  therapy process;  using communication catalysts, active listening and  micro-skills; overview of cognitive, behavioural, emotion-focused and person-centred interventions appropriate to work with young clients.
    Multi-modal Therapeutic Options.
    Implications of neuroscience research for counsellor practice;  utilising multiple intelligences theory;
    applying child-friendly therapeutic activities, developing somatic awareness; structuring therapy sessions.
    3 Play-based approaches Introduction to sandplay therapy; history, research and practice.
    Trauma-informed practice with young clients.
    Care in working with traumatised young clients;the impact of abuse and neglect; resilience activities.
    Introducing non-verbal methods.
    Using therapeutic writing, visual art and music.
    The child in the family.
    Articulating family dynamics; supporting resilience;  professional issues.
    The child-friendly consulting room.
    Relating to and advising carers; setting up the practice space;  skills practice activities.

    Specific Course Requirements
    Small Group Discovery Experience
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Weighting Learning Outcome(s) being addressed
    1. Literature review Summative 35% 1, 2, 6
    2. Collaborative review of selected readings Summative 20% 1, 2, 4, 5, 6
    3. Written assignment - Reflections on a session with a young client Summative 35% 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8
    4. Class Participation Summative 10% 1, 2, 4, 5
    Assessment Related Requirements
    To pass this course, students must:

    Attend all workshop sessions and participate actively.

    In the case of illness a medical certificate will be required. If other unforeseen circumstances result in missing a section of the course, replacement work may be negotiated.

    Submit all three assessment tasks.

    Participate in reading, reflection, cooperation, feedback and support with peers.
    Assessment Detail
    Written Assignment 1: 

    Literature Review - of a child-friendly counselling approach
    Weighting: 35%    Word limit: 2,000 – 2,250        Due: 27 April 2015   
    “A literature review is a description of the literature relevant to a particular field or topic. The review, like other forms of expository writing, has an introduction, body and conclusion, well-formed paragraphs, and a logical structure. However, in other kinds of  expository writing, you use relevant literature to support the discussion of your thesis; in a literature review, the literature itself is
    the subject of discussion. ‘Literature’ covers everything relevant that is written on a topic: books, journal articles, newspaper  articles, historical records, government reports, theses and dissertations, etc. The important word is 'relevant'.” 
    Students construct a literature review for one child-friendly counselling approach or therapeutic issue. The review will include both  descriptive and research literature, ideally published within the last 10 years.
    The literature review will include:
    a survey of at least 10 references
    brief summaries of articles,
    a synthesis of trends across the literature,
    the application of critical thinking skills (see below),
    a clearly articulated argument leading to a summary of practice implications from the literature.
    In your critical evaluation briefly summarise and analyse:
    core theoretical premises / foundational theories
    central concepts
    main methods and techniques
    evaluation of the claims made.
    Your choice of approach or issue is to be confirmed with lecturer.
    To broaden the class learning experience, you will be invited to consider contributing your assignment (after marking and feedback from the lecturer) to a class-generated collaborative resource (via Blackboard). Students will be encouraged to provide each other with feedback on their contributions to this valuable resource.
    Marking Guide:
    Ability to locate, analyse and evaluate information from a variety of sources: 10
    Evidence of a wide and up to date literature search: 15
    Ability to summarise articles: 10
    Ability to synthesise trends in the literature: 15
    Ability to apply critical thinking skills to the literature: 15
    Coherent and supported argument: 15
    Summary of practice implication: 10
    Accurate use of APA referencing and citation style: 10
    Written Assignment 2:

    Group assignment: A comparison of selected readings on two approaches to counselling young clients.
    Weighting: 20% Word limit: 1,500 – 1,750 Due: 18 May 2015
    In groups of three decide on two approaches to counselling with young clients (children and/or adolescents) that will be the focus of the assignment (e.g. use of visual art, CBT, use of music, sandplay therapy, etc)
    Through individual searches, find the most relevant articles, readings or book chapters that describe the two approaches. The articles can be research-based or descriptive of an approach, but they must be selected from a peer-reviewed journal or a book. Sources will be published within the last 10 years, unless an argument is presented for them being significant original pioneering works.
    As a group, select – from the articles that each group member has found – those that will be most effective
    for use in the assignment. Use a minimum of six articles: at least three for each approach.
    These articles will be analysed / discussed within in the group (outside class time).
    As a group activity, students will:
    create a brief summary of each article
    articulate the key concepts of each approach
    document the main similarities and differences in the approaches
    suggest which client issues these approaches might be most suitable for
    briefly summarise the experience of group interactions during the assignment preparation.
    Marking Guide:
    Brief summary of each article: 15
    Ability to locate, analyse and evaluate information from a variety of sources: 10
    Summary of similarities and differences in the approaches: 25
    Matching client issues to the approaches: 20
    Coherent structure of assignment: 10
    Assignment formatting and APA referencing: 10
    Summary of the experience of group interactions: 10
    Please place the names of your group members on the assignment cover page, and submit one copy per group. A group mark will be awarded.
    Written Assignment 3: 

    Reflections on a session with a young client
    Weighting: 35% Word limit: 1,750 – 2,000 Due: 8 June 2015
    Option A – Assessment, planning, implementation, reporting and reflection on a counselling session with a young client (aged  between 7 and 18) OR
    Option B – If you are not able to provide a counselling session for a young client you can use a fictional case provided by the  lecturer. Using liberal imagination, describe assessment, counsellor aims, session planning, activities used, and reflection on possible outcomes.
    Suggested report framework: (you are welcome to create your own)

    Marking Guide:
    Thoroughness of the report: 20
    Ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions to current problems: 20
    Evidence of observation and reflection of client needs: 20
    Rationale for ways of working and activity choice: 20
    Student self-assessment / reflection: 20
    You will need to download the Client Consent Form from Blackboard and have it signed by the young client, the parent or guardian and yourself.
    Submit by 4pm on the due date by emailing a scan of the signed Consent Form and the assignment as two files to the course  co-ordinator, Jacqui Howard. To maximise client anonymity the Consent Form will not be forwarded to the lecturer.
    Participation:  (10%)
    Assessment of class participation is based on consideration of the student’s attendance record, their ability to manage time (in  terms of attendance and assignment submission), their engagement in developing and fostering group norms for the class, their  willingness to offer questions in class, engagement in small-group discussions and learning tasks, their respectful and professional  engagement with peers and staff, evidence of their tolerance with peers and clients, and their ability to modify behaviour in  response to feedback from peers or staff.

    All assignment can be submitted in hardcopy, via the assignment box on Level 7, 178 North Terrace or handed to the lecturer in class, OR by email to the Course Administrator, Jacqui Howard, by 4pm on the due date.
    Hand-written presentations will not be accepted. All written work must be referenced accurately and consistently, using the American Psychological Society Referencing Format (APA 6). Information regarding this system can be found at  or more detailed information can be found at  Marks will be deducted for incorrect referencing in all assignments.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    In response to student feedback, the format of this course has been changed to predominantly half-day seminars.
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