Advanced Certificate in Counselling & Psychology

Study counselling & psychology for professional development or personal enrichment. An in-depth training course for counsellors with options to specialise. Learn skills to help support others. Study online & receive feedback from qualified tutors.

Course Code: VPS045
Fee Code: AC
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 900 hours
Qualification Advanced Certificate
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Develop a Career as a Counsellor

An excellent training program for anyone seeking a solid course of study in counselling. Graduates gain a broad-based education in counselling theory and practice with options to pursue specialist areas of interest through elective modules.

You can choose psychology modules which are often not found in similar level courses.

Learn how people think, interact, develop.  Know how to help, manage and teach people. 

Psychology is a broad discipline that is the scientific study of people, their thoughts, feelings, perceptions, development, behaviour, and so forth. Counselling is concerned with the processes within a relationship where one person is seeking the guidance of another to resolve problems. Counsellors don't provide solutions but they help people to find them for themselves. Having some knowledge of psychology can help counsellors to be more effective in their role.

To be able to appropriately care for clients, a counsellor will need to have undertaken a robust course to allow them to develop all the skills they will need to help their clients. This course is a comprehensive course that covers the theory, skills and techniques required by professional counsellors.  Flexible content options will allow you to specialise in an area most suited to your interest or experience. Some of the options include:

  • Stress Management

  • Conflict Management   

  • Sports Psychology

  • Life Coaching

  • Child Psychology

  • Child Counselling

  • Relationship and Communication Counselling


"Gain a greater understanding of the human mind and the counselling process with this learning program." - Tracey Jones, B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), DipSW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies), ACS Tutor

The school has been assessed as having expertise in teaching Psychology, by the Complementary Medicine Association (UK), a body which ACS has been a member of for several years. Graduates are encouraged to apply for membership of the CMA.

The study package will also provide credit toward higher qualifications through ACS Distance Education (UK) or Warnborough College (UK). The course provides an opportunity to interact with and learn from very successful, highly qualified and experienced  professionals.


Five Core Modules: The course is sequenced so that foundation knowledge and skills are established through completion of the core unit modules.  Students will be expected to complete these modules before undertaking any of the other course components. 

Two Elective Modules: Elective studies will broaden foundation knowledge and skills into other areas which are of value to persons working in one or several sectors of counselling.  They give the student the opportunity to study areas that are of interest to them. 

Research Project: The Research project builds on and reinforces the core learning.  It is 100 hours duration and contains 2 parts: the first part assists the student in developing research skills, whilst the second part involves carrying out a relevant research project. 

  • Research Project I (Stream): This develops the student’s ability to plan and conduct research, and involves a minor statistical research project and report. 

  • Research Project II (Elective): This further develops the student’s ability to monitor and evaluate a common process (or processes) relevant to their studies.  

Workshops: Workshops and assessment of student practical skills must be completed after the student has passed the core modules of this course. Alternatively, the student may undertake this after completing all study modules.

Workshops should make up 100 hours of relevant industry experience which may be undertaken anywhere in the world. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange attendance at workshops and to meet any costs incurred, whether at the school or elsewhere. However, the school will seek to assist students who are having difficulty finding suitable experience. Students may choose to set up their own workshops with an assessor or they may prefer to attend workshops which have already been established by counselling organisations or individuals in their own country.

You may choose to complete the workshop experience in a variety of ways.

  1. One to one tuition.

  2. Approved work placement.

  3. Small group seminars with approved trainer.

Whilst the school strongly advocates attendance at workshops to fulfill the supervised training aspect of the course, this may not always be possible. In that case, it may acceptable to complete the practical component by undergoing supervised training with an established counselling organisation.



Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Counselling & Psychology.
 Counselling Skills I BPS109
 Counselling Skills II BPS110
 Psychology & Counselling BPS102
 Counselling Techniques BPS206
 Professional Practice in Counselling BPS207
Stream ModulesStudied after the core modules, stream modules cover more specific or niche subjects.
 Research Project I BGN102
 Workshop I BGN103
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 2 of the following 28 modules.
 Aromatherapy VHT104
 Biopsychology I BPS108
 Child Psychology BPS104
 Health & Fitness I BRE101
 Human Nutrition 1 BRE102
 Industrial Psychology BPS103
 Introduction to Psychology BPS101
 Marketing Psychology BPS107
 Sports Psychology BPS106
 Stress Management VPS100
 Adolescent Psychology BPS211
 Aged Care and Counselling BPS212
 Anxiety Management BPS224
 Conflict Management BPS201
 Counselling Children BPS218
 Ecotherapy Practice BPS220
 Emotional Intelligence BPS223
 Family Counselling BPS213
 Grief Counselling BPS209
 Pet Therapy BPS221
 Play Therapy BRE214
 Relationships & Communication Counselling BPS208
 Research Project II BGN201
 Crisis Counselling BPS304
 Horticultural Therapy BHT341
 Life Coaching BPS305
 Neurodiversity BPS311
 Neuropsychology BPS306

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Counselling & Psychology is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Scope of Counselling

Graduates real passion have many opportunities.

Counselling means different things to different people. It is not a 'get well quick' option, offering quick answers, but is asking the person to engage in a process and an exploration. There are many definitions of counselling. A simple version is that counselling is a working relationship where the client is helped to manage what is happening in their life and to explore their life. It is a form of psychological or talking therapy that offers people the ability to change how they live and feel. The aim of counselling is to provide the client with a more satisfying experience of life. Everyone has different needs, so counselling can be concerned with many different aspects of a person’s life.

Counsellors may work in any of the following situations:

  • Churches & Welfare organisations employ counsellors on all levels -from minimally trained volunteers to highly trained professionals

  • Careers Advisors in Employment Agencies, with Resume Writing Services, Employment Support offices (government, universities, etc)

  • Life Coaches, Food/Weight Consultants, etc

  • Youth Workers, Social Workers, Family Support Services, Health Support Services

  • Funeral Services

  • Industrial relations negotiators, union representatives

  • Teachers, Lecturers, School & College support staff

  • Support staff for medical practitioners -chiropractors, doctors, physiotherapists etc, are increasingly using counsellors to provide a supplementary service through their clinic

  • The scope and nature of counselling keeps changing, and job opportunities keep changing -It is a certainty that some of the best opportunities you will find after graduating, have probably not even been conceived at the time you commence your study. This is the nature of today's world!



Thoughts on Ending the Counselling Process

Sometimes, the counsellor may feel that the client has resolved their issues and does not need to come back. When this occurs, the counsellor should always tell the client that they are welcome back if they feel it is necessary, but as a professional counsellor, you do not see the need for them to continue at the present time.

If you are unsure about asking them back for further appointments because you yourself feel anxious about them not taking up your offer, then it is probably better to ask. At worst they will decline. It is also harder for the client to make an appointment than break one.

Where you feel the need for ongoing sessions, it is important to give the client an idea of the possible duration of the counselling relationship. This should help to counter the client’s insecurities about future sessions. It is often clear to both counsellor and client when it is time to end the whole counselling process. In some instances, particularly where dependency has occurred, it might not be so obvious. We will discuss dependency in the next lesson.

It is therefore necessary for the counsellor to frequently review the progress that is being made in the sessions and update the goals that are being achieved.If progress is not being made and goals are not being achieved, then it may be necessary for the counsellor to address this issue with their supervisor.

It is of course possible that the counsellor’s own unresolved issues are interfering. It could also be that the counsellor does not have the necessary skills in their repertoire to deal with the issues that the client has raised. Supervision may help the counsellor to deal with a client who seems unable to change. Another option is to suggest to the client that they are referred on to someone else who may be better able to help them. Of course it is important too, to note that some clients will not change.

Ending the process may be similar to ending other relationships, and it may be necessary for the counsellor to use questions to challenge the client. They may ask the client how it feels to end the relationship and other similar questions.

Why study with us?

  • Longer, more extensive training than many other programs-learning more, means you can do more, and your career is more sustainable.

  • International Recognition (IARC; CMA membership in the UK)

  • Highly qualified and experienced tutors

  • Ethical and "Green"

  • More choice and Flexibility

  • Unlimited one on one access to tutors

  • More focus on learning, less on assessment

  • Outstanding track record - graduates actually succeed!


What You Could Do With This Course

This course is a very comprehensive counselling course. It covers all the key areas of counselling from the distinction and use of microskills to the application of them in more difficult scenarios. The psychology components make it slightly different than some other counselling programs by providing students with a deeper understanding of psychological principles and how they influence behaviour. Students are also able to choose their own electives to specialise in areas of interest to them. Graduates of this course will be accomplished in counselling and feel confident setting forth on a counselling career.

The course is specifically geared towards those wishing to enter the counselling profession but will also appeal to people interested in other related areas, such as:

  • Psychology  

  • Psychotherapy

  • Health professions

  • Caring roles


ACS is an Organisational Member of the Association for Coaching (UK).
ACS is an Organisational Member of the Association for Coaching (UK).
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).

What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding of the subject. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (8-9 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- an Advanced Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email ( call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.

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Please get in touch with if you would like to be removed from our mail list.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy
Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head for TAFE, she brings a wealth of skills and experience to her role as a tutor for ACS.

Jacinda Cole (Psychologist)

Psychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist.
B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA
Jacinda has over 25 years of experience in psychology, in both Australia and England. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psychology (Clinical) and also trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the London Centre for Psychotherapy. She has co-authored several psychology text books and many courses including diploma and degree level courses in psychology and counselling. Jacinda has worked for ACS for over 10 years.

Tracey Jones (Psychologist)

B.Sc. (Psych), M.Soc.Sc., Dip.Social Work, P.G.Dip Learning Disability, Cert Editing, Cert Creative Writing, PGCE.
Member British Psychological Society, Member Assoc. for Coaching, Member British Learning Assoc.
25 years industry experience in writing, editing, education, psychology, and business. Tracey has several books and hundreds of articles published; in both fiction and non fiction.

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