PUB HLTH 5005 - Counselling Skills 1

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2019

Counselling Skills 1 introduces the students to the fundamental elements of counselling. In addition to understanding the theoretical perspectives that underpin core counselling practice, students will develop a range of discrete skills including: attending, observing, listening, responding accurately and empathically to clients, and identifying inappropriate and unhelpful practices. Students will be given maximum opportunity to develop their counselling skills in a structured and supportive environment.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PUB HLTH 5005
    Course Counselling Skills 1
    Coordinating Unit Public Health
    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, GDipCounsPsych, GCertCounsPsych students only or with approval of Program Coordinator
    Course Description Counselling Skills 1 introduces the students to the fundamental elements of counselling.
    In addition to understanding the theoretical perspectives that underpin core counselling practice, students will develop a range of discrete skills including: attending, observing, listening, responding accurately and empathically to clients, and identifying inappropriate and unhelpful practices.
    Students will be given maximum opportunity to develop their counselling skills in a structured and supportive environment.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Ms Ann Ibrahim

    Course Coordinator: Greg Smith
    Phone: +61 8313 6273
    Location: Graduate Program in Counselling and Psychotherapy
    School of Public Health
    University of Adelaide
    Level 9, AHMS Building
    North Terrace
    ADELAIDE SA 5000. 

    Student & Program Support Services Hub
    Phone: +61 8313 0273

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes


    Demonstrate an understanding of Carkhuff's Three Phase Model of Counselling;


    Acquire knowledge of, and competence in, the pre-helping skills;


    Produce a series of accurate empathetic responses to client statements;


    Discriminate and rate the different levels of effective and ineffective responses accurately, and discern unhelpful/inappropriate counselling behaviours;


    Manage a genuine client issue and provide a series of effective responses (in accordance with the criteria to be detailed in class);


    Demonstrate the ability to critique and rate one’s own counselling responses and set goals for improvement.

    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    2, 3, 5, 6
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1, 2, 4
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Geldard, D. Geldard, K. and Foo, R. (2016) Basic Personal Counselling: A Training Manual for Counsellors (8th Edition) Cengage Learning Australia.

    Recommended Resources
    A list of current recommended resources can be found on the MyUni website for this course.
    Online Learning
    3.3.1 MyUni
    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
    Please check the website regularly as it may contain announcements that are relevant to your study in the course. If you would like the opportunity to network with other students, you can use the Communication features in the site:
    Discussion Board – Users can post discussion items and reply to other posts. Note: If you would like to have a specific Discussion Board Forum created, please send your request to
    Send Email – This feature enables users to send email to fellow students.
    Group Pages – Groups enable Users to collaborate with each other. Groups usually consist of a smaller group of Users in a course or organisation, such as study groups or project groups. From a Group Page, users may send email, exchange files, enter discussion forums or enter collaboration sessions.  Note: Only members of a particular Group can access the Group communication features (discussion forums, email, etc.). If you would like to have a specific Group Page created, please send your request to For example, Group Pages can be created to include students living in the same geographical area or students working for the same organisation.
    Please note that you also have access to individual MyUni sites for EACH course you are enrolled in. Please check the sites regularly as they may contain important announcements that are relevant to your study in the course.

    3.3.2 Access Adelaide
    Access Adelaide is the name of the online service that allows you to access and, in some cases, amend your records. It can be found at: You can log into Access Adelaide to view: your enrolment details for any term, your academic results, your unofficial academic transcript, your personal details, the fees, charges and payments on your University account, your exam schedule, your graduation eligibility details.
    As a student you can: change your address and telephone details (please inform the Discipline as
    well) change your password, set a password clue to help you remember your password.

    3.3.3 Student email
    It is important that you set up your student email and check it regularly. Information from your course coordinator and student administration will be sent to you at your University of Adelaide email address. It is your responsibility to check your email. You will need your student number located on your student card to log in.

    3.3.4 Computers
    Where can I use a computer in the University? Computing facilities are provided to students by the University, and there are
    several suites of computers available, including at the Barr Smith Library and in Hub Central. The University web site has a list of computer labs at:

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The aim of this course is to enable students to develop an understanding of the core counselling process, and to acquire the fundamental counselling skills that are essential for any counselling or psychotherapy practice.

    We encourage you to see practice sessions as an ‘experimental laboratory’ where you can try out new behaviours, be relieved of the ‘pressure to be perfect’, be supported by staff and peers, and to offer support to fellow students in learning. In the practice sessions, students are asked to work in practice groups to apply the material covered in lectures.

    Practice activities
    There are two kinds of possible practice activities in this course. These are: counselling interviews with three other students—using real material,—where each member takes on a specific role (for detail see ‘roles and tasks’ below); pencil and paper activities that are usually conducted in small groups.  For details of how to undertake both kinds of practice activities, see sections below.

    Counselling interviews
    The skills you will be taught will be practised in the sequence outlined in the counselling process: attending, observing, listening and responding. There are three roles that you will undertake as you learn these skills. These are the roles of ‘student-counsellor’, ‘student-client’, and ‘observer’, which you will receive detailed information about at the commencement of the course.

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

    The teaching methods in this course will employ a range of techniques to allow the integration and understanding of the content
    presented. Counselling practice sessions and workshop activities will be employed in addition to the traditional methods of communicating information. Further, it is expected that by creating an environment that promotes the practice of individual responsibility as essential for students in managing their own and others learning, it will also complement the expectations that
    current counselling agencies adopt.

    Counselling Skills One will be run as a series of 10 three hour seminars/workshops. There will be a strong emphasis on participation and experiential learning, and as such it is essential that you meet the 100% attendance requirement of this course.

    Finally, it is assumed that all students are of a mature age, professionally educated and motivated to adopt the responsibilities  associated with post-graduate study. Therefore, a level of intellectual effort (including private study time outside of formal class time  per week), and a level of commitment and participation in class activities, is expected.
    Learning Activities Summary



    Overview of Course

    Course learning outcomes; assessment; Establishing norms. Clarifying Roles of Student-Counsellor; Student-Client & Observer.

    Theoretical Orientation

    3 Phase Model of Helping:Exploration and Responding; Self Understanding & Personalising; Initiate & Action.

    Pre-helping Skills

     Creating a Suitable Counselling Environment. Optimal Attending & Observing Skills.

    Listening and Responding

    Understanding & Demonstrating Empathy. Formulating Empathic Responses.

    Listening and Responding

    Responding to Meaning: Externalised Responses.

    Discriminating between Effective and Ineffective Responses

    How to Rate Counsellor Responses.

    Developing Counselling Skills

    Skills Practice in Groups of Four.

    Developing Counselling Skills

    Skills Practice in Groups of Four: Group Practice: Self Reflective Exercise; Review Assignment 1.

    Developing Counselling Skills

    Advanced Empathy; Skills Practice; Review Assignment 2.

    Developing Counselling Skills

    Person-centred Therapy: Current Applications in Counselling Agencies Skills Practice

    Developing Counselling Skills

    Bringing it All Together. Assessment 1 Feedback & Assessment 2. Where To From Here: Counselling Skills 2. Closure.

    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

    Assessment Type


    Learning Outcome(s) being addressed

    Class Participation




    Written Assignment




    Skills Application



    1, 3, 4, 5, 6

    The course is assessed by non-graded pass. This is because it is primarily focused on the attainment of skills and is very practically  based. Core competencies are required to be demonstrated, showing emotional awareness, sensitivity and interactive skill as well as academic understanding. Non-graded pass supports the creation of a supportive atmosphere in which students can safely experiment with the various exercises and counselling practice which is done in the class.

    Assessment Related Requirements
    Assessment Detail
    Class Participation

    In accordance with both university policy and the group norms identified in class.

    Written Assignment

    Completion of an assignment booklet, to be submitted online through MyUni.

    Skills Application

    Completion of a video/digital recording session in which student counsellors will deliver a series of responses (in accordance with the criteria set in the assignment) to a student-client presenting a genuine counselling issue. A critique of the counselling session is also required.

    Submission of Assignments

    Assignments will be submitted via MyUni.

    All extensions for assignments must be requested, at the latest, by the last working day before the due date of submission.   Extensions will generally be granted only on medical or genuine compassionate grounds. Supporting documentation must be  provided at the time a student requests an extension. Without documentation, extensions will not be granted. Late requests for  extension will neither be accepted nor acknowledged.

    Only the Course Co-ordinator(s) may grant extensions.

    Supporting documentation will be required when requesting an extension. Examples of documents that are acceptable include: a  medical certificate that specifies dates of incapacity, a police report (in the case of lost computers, car & household theft etc.), a  letter from a Student Counsellor, Education and Welfare Officer (EWO) or Disability Liaison Officer that provides an assessment of  compassionate circumstances, or a letter from an independent external counsellor or appropriate professional able to verify the  student’s situation.  The length of any extension granted will take into account the period and severity of any incapacity or impact 
    on the student.  Extensions of more than 10 days will not be granted except in exceptional circumstances.

    Late submission
    Marks will be deducted when assignments for which no extension has been granted are handed in late.

    All assignments, including those handed in late, will be assessed on their merits. In the case of late assignments where no  extension has been granted, 5 percentage points of the total marks possible per day will be deducted. If an assignment that is 2  days late is awarded 65% on its merits, the mark will then be reduced by 10% (5% per day for 2 days) to 55%. If that same  assignment is 4 days late, the mark will be reduced by 20% (5% per day for 4 days) to 45%, and so on.
    The School of Public Health reserves the right to refuse to accept an assignment that is more than 7 days late.

    Assignments submitted after the due date may not be graded in time to be returned on the listed return dates.

    Students submitting examinable written work who request (and receive) an extension that takes them beyond the examination  period are advised that there is no guarantee that their grades will be processed in time to meet usual University deadlines.
    If a student is dissatisfied with an assessment grade they should follow the Student Grievance Resolution Process 
    <>. Students who are not satisfied with a particular assessment result should raise their concerns with Course Co-ordinator(s) in the first instance. This must be done within 10 business days of the date of notification of the result. Resubmission of any assignment is subject to the agreement of the Course Co-ordinator(s) and will only be permitted for the most compelling of reasons. 

    Please note that Counselling Skills 1 is assessed according to the GS8 Grading Scheme. Please see the relevant assessment  grading categories, below.

    Course Grading

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

    GS8 (Coursework Grade Scheme)
    Grade Description
    CN Continuing
    FNS Fail No Submission
    NFE No Formal Examination
    F Fail
    NGP Non Graded Pass
    P Pass
    C Credit
    D Distinction
    HD High Distinction
    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.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.