Certificate in Child and Youth Counselling

Distance education course in Youth work, counselling young people and children

Course Code: VRE901
Fee Code: CT
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate
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Do you want to make a difference to the lives of children and adolescents?
Being young is a time when we are vulnerable. Children only have limited life experience. They are constantly learning about the world around them and they need confidence to grow. The fears and anxieties of children can quickly destroy their fragile confidence if they are not provided with adequate care, love and understanding.
Those who work with children are most effective when they have an understanding of the specific problems faced by them, and what can be expected in normal childhood development. 
If you are passionate about working with children and young people then this course may be right for you. The course is a distance learning course which focuses on counselling this age group. In this course you will be able to learn about theories of childhood development (e.g. morality, cognition, psychosocial), as well as develop core counselling skills. The elective modules offer an opportunity to specialise in areas such as mental health problems which have their onset in childhood, adolescent development, and disorders of childhood. There is also the possibility of learning more general psychology which can be applied to people of all ages, or focusing on specific areas for counselling.  
You can study this flexible course in your own home and at your own pace, and you will have support from our experienced and highly qualified tutors. 
You are required to take two core modules – Child Psychology and Counselling Skills I. You can then choose a further four modules from the electives listed below.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Certificate in Child and Youth Counselling.
 Child Psychology BPS104
 Counselling Skills I BPS109
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 4 of the following 14 modules.
 Anger Management BPS111
 Counselling Skills II BPS110
 Introduction to Psychology BPS101
 Adolescent Psychology BPS211
 Careers Counselling BPS202
 Child and Adolescent Mental Health BPS214
 Counselling Children BPS218
 Counselling Techniques BPS206
 Developmental Psychology BPS210
 Developmental, Learning and Behavioural Disorders in Children and Adolescents BPS215
 Family Counselling BPS213
 Grief Counselling BPS209
 Abnormal Psychology BPS307
 Life Coaching BPS305

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

Summary of Core Modules –


Lesson Structure

There are 12 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Child Psychology   Levels of development, nature or nurture, isolating hereditary characteristics, Cause versus correlation, continuity versus discontinuity, cross sectional and Longitudinal studies, Reliability of verbal reports
  2. The Newborn Infant    The Interactionist Approach, Range of Reaction, Niche Picking, Temperament Stimulus seeking, Emotional Disturbances During Pregnancy
  3. States & Senses of the Infant      Sensory Discrimination, Infant States (sleep, Inactivity, Waking, Crying etc), Why are Psychologists so concerned with defining and describing these infant states?, Habituation, Crying, Soothing a Distressed Baby, Sound Discrimination, Smell and Taste Discrimination, Visual Discrimination, Depth Perception, Oral Sensitivity
  4. Learning      Habituation, Vicarious Learning, Classical Conditioning, Operant Conditioning, Reinforcement, The Importance of Learning Control, etc
  5. Emotions and Socialisation        Producing and Recognising Emotional Expression, Smiling, Biological Explanation, Perceptual Recognition Explanation, The Mother-Child Attachment, Freudian Approach Bowlby's Approach, Social Learning Approach, Harlow's Approach, The Role of Cognition in Attachment Formation, Maternal Attachment, Fear, Social Learning, Perceptual Recognition, Woman's Duel Role as Mothers and Workers, Day Care.
  6. Cognitive Development         Developing the ability to reason.
  7. Language Development       Is language learned, or are we genetically programmed with it, The Social Learning Approach, The Hypothesis testing Approach, Under extending
  8. Intelligence      Measuring Intelligence, Cultural Bias, IQ, Testing Intelligence as a tool.
  9. Socialisation: Part A      Social Cognition -self awareness, -awareness of others as individuals in their own right, -the development of empathy, -taking turns, -having a point of view/perspective,-ability to see something from another persons perspective. Friendships, Social Scripts Pretend Play
  10. Morality        Moral development, Aggression & Altruism, Freud's Approach, Piaget's Approach, Kohlberg's Approach
  11. Sexuality        Freud's phases (oral phase, anal phase, phallic phase, latent phase, genital phase) The Acquisition of Gender & Role Identity, Concept of psycho-social development
  12. Socialisation: Part B      The Family Influence, Discipline, Siblings, Family Structures, School Influence, Peer Influence, Acceptance & Rejection, Imitation & Reinforcement.
  • Identify key concepts and issues in child psychology
  • Understand theories on the psychology of the newborn infant
  • Explain the different types of sense discrimination that babies develop
  • Identify how children learn and influences on learning
  • Discuss theories of emotion and their basis in child behaviour
  • Explain how children develop cognitively
  • Explain how children develop language
  • Explain influences on the development of intelligence in a child
  • Explain personal aspects of socialisation
  • Explain factors affecting the development of morality in children
  • Explain the development of sexuality within children
  • Explain the impact of schooling and family structures on personality development
There are 8 lessons in this course:
  1. Learning Specific Skills: Methods of learning; learning micro-skills
  2. Listening and Bonding: Meeting and greeting; helping the client relax; listening with intent
  3. Reflection: Paraphrasing; reflection of feeling; client responses to reflection of feelings; reflection of content and feeling
  4. Questioning: Open and closed questions; other types of questions; goals of questioning
  5. Interview Techniques: Summarising; confrontation; reframing
  6. Changing Beliefs and Normalising: Changing self-destructive beliefs; irrational beliefs; normalising
  7. Finding Solutions: Making choices; facilitating actions; gestalt awareness circle; psychological blocks
  8. Ending the Counselling: Terminating the session; closure; further meetings; dependency, confronting dependency
  • Acquire the ability to explain the processes involved in the training of counsellors in micro skills.
  • Demonstrate the skills involved in commencing the counselling process and evaluation of non-verbal responses and minimal responses.
  • Demonstrate reflection of content, feeling, both content and feeling, and its appropriateness to the counselling process.
  • Develop different questioning techniques and to understand risks involved with some types of questioning.
  • Show how to use various micro-skills including summarising, confrontation, and reframing.
  • To demonstrate self-destructive beliefs and show methods of challenging them, including normalising.
  • Explain how counselling a client can improve their psychological well-being through making choices, overcoming psychological blocks and facilitating actions.
  • Demonstrate effective ways of terminating a counselling session and to explain ways of addressing dependency.
What You Will Do
  • Report on an observed counselling session, simulated or real.
  • Identify the learning methods available to the trainee counsellor.
  • Demonstrate difficulties that might arise when first learning and applying micro skills.
  • Identify why trainee counsellors might be unwilling to disclose personal problems during training.
  • Identify risks that can arise for trainee counsellors not willing to disclose personal problems.
  • Discuss different approaches to modelling, as a form of counselling
  • Evaluate verbal and non-verbal communication in an observed interview.
  • Identify the counsellor’s primary role (in a generic sense).
  • Show how to use minimal responses as an important means of listening with intent.
  • Explain the importance of different types of non-verbal response in the counselling procedure.
  • Report on the discussion of a minor problem with an anonymous person which that problem relates to.
  • Identify an example of paraphrasing as a minimal response to reflect feelings.
  • Discuss the use of paraphrasing in counselling.
  • Differentiate catharsis from confused thoughts and feelings.
  • Identify an example of reflecting back both content (thought) and feeling in the same phrase.
  • Report on the discussion of a minor problem with an anonymous person which that problem relates to.
  • Identify an example of paraphrasing as a minimal response to reflect feelings.
  • Discuss the use of paraphrasing in counselling.
  • Differentiate catharsis from confused thoughts and feelings.
  • Identify an example of reflecting back both content (thought) and feeling in the same phrase.
  • Demonstrate/observe varying responses to a variety of closed questions in a simulated counselling situation
  • Demonstrate/observe varying responses to a variety of open questions in a simulated counselling situation.
  • Compare your use of open and closed questions in a counselling situation.
  • Identify the main risks involved in asking too many questions.
  • Explain the importance of avoiding questions beginning with ‘why’ in counselling.
  • Identify in observed communication (written or oral), the application of different micro-skills which would be useful in counselling.
  • Demonstrate examples of when it would be appropriate for the counsellor to use confrontation.
  • List the chief elements of good confrontation.
  • Discuss appropriate use of confrontation, in case studies.
  • Show how reframing can be used to change a client’s perspective on things.
  • Develop a method for identifying the existence of self-destructive beliefs (SDB’s).
  • Identify self-destructive beliefs (SDB’s) amongst individuals within a group.
  • Explain the existence of self destructive beliefs in an individual.
  • List methods that can be used to challenge SDB’s?
  • Explain what is meant by normalising, in a case study.
  • Demonstrate precautions that should be observed when using normalizing.
  • Determine optional responses to different dilemmas.
  • Evaluate optional responses to different dilemmas.
  • Explain how the ‘circle of awareness’ can be applied to assist a client, in a case study.
  • Explain why psychological blockages may arise.
  • Demonstrate how a counsellor might help a client to overcome psychological blockages.
  • Describe the steps a counsellor would take a client through to reach a desired goal, in a case study.
  • Identify inter-dependency in observed relationships.
  • Explain why good time management is an important part of the counselling process.
  • Compare terminating a session with terminating the counselling process.
  • Demonstrate dangers posed by client - counsellor inter-dependency.
  • Explain how dependency can be addressed and potentially overcome.
  • Explain any negative aspects of dependency in a case study.

Communicating with Children and Adolescents

Counselling children or young people relies totally on being able to communicate with them. If you cannot communicate clearly and effectively; any attempt at counselling will fail.
Communication can be verbal or non-verbal. Verbal communication is what most people automatically think of and associate with the word 'communication'. It simply involves the use of words, spoken or written. Non-verbal communication involves other signals or messages   pictures, music, body language (the way the body moves or is held, gestures, facial expression, eye contact, etc.). So, even a person who is not using open modes of communication and who believes they are not communicating can be inadvertently sending out messages.

In some instances, non-verbal communication may play a greater role in the transmission of information than verbal communication. For instance, from his research Albert Mehrabian suggested a model showing breakdown of communication when two people communicate their feelings or attitudes. He proposed that the communication could be formulated as 7% verbal (what is said), 25% vocal (how it is said), and 68% facial (conveyed through facial expression). Although these findings have often been simplified and applied to everyday conversations by some authors, this formula only applies to expression of feelings or attitudes. 

Nevertheless, non-verbal communication plays a significant role in relationships and in everyday communication. Argyle (1975) posited that there are four functions of non-verbal communication:

  • Assisting speech - e.g. some words may be accentuated, talking fast or slowly, loudly or softly, the tone and quality, inflections in our voice.
  • Replacing speech - some gestures replace whole phrases e.g. looking up and sighing to mean "I despair".
  • Signalling attitudes - e.g. tapping your fingers and looking away to convey disinterest. 
  • Signalling emotions - e.g. smiling to show pleasure when bumping into someone you know. 

Types of Non-Verbal Communication 

Non-verbal elements of communication can include behaviour e.g. the distance you stand or sit from someone, whether and how you touch the other person, your actions before, during and after the communication. All these can be interpreted by the other person. For instance, if your words do not seem to match your actions or body language, the message will be confusing, contradictory or simply inauthentic. 

Non-verbal communication, or body language as it is often called, is conveyed through how we speak, our appearance, our gestures, how we stand or tilt our head, our facial expression and actions. Let's take a closer look at some of the main non-verbal cues and what the can reveal:

Eye Contact
One of the first things we notice is how someone is looking at us. The duration of eye contact means different things in different contexts and what is acceptable varies across cultures. A long stare form a loved one may indicate affection, but a long stare from a stranger could indicate hostility. In North American Indian culture a long stare from a young person may be regarded as disrespectful. Australian Aboriginal people tend to avoid eye contact particularly when talking about sensitive or serious topics.
Use of eye contact can be used to encourage people to talk about something further or to discourage it. Dilated pupils can also reveal attraction towards someone else, or interest in what they have to say. Contracted pupils can indicate disinterest, or perhaps the listener finds the topic uncomfortable to discuss.    

In a typical social exchange whoever is speaking usually looks away until they are about to finish what they are saying. The person who is listening usually looks at the other person whilst they are speaking. However, Dovidio & Ellison (1982) were able to show that people in positions of power tend to maintain eye contact when talking to someone and look away when the other person speaks. 

Facial Expression
We have a wide range of facial expressions which we use when communicating. Some of these are peculiar to the individual but many are easily recognisable within cultures and even across cultures. In fact some would appear to be innate. For instance, in humans and animals fear is expressed as a grin in which the teeth are bared and the mouth is stretched. 

In one study, Osgood (1966) identified seven different facial expressions of emotion which were observed in all cultures, namely: happiness, fear, anger, sadness, interest, disgust and contempt.   

These are particular actions made by the arms and hands. They are often used to accompany speech or highlight parts of speech. Most Westerner's would be familiar with a raised middle finger as a means of telling someone to back off. In other cultures this could have quite a different meaning.  Gestures also vary across cultures in how frequently they are used, and for how long. 

Unlike gestures which are specific, posture provides clues about our general attitude. It tells someone whether we are feeling angry, sad or happy for instance. Someone who stands with their arms loose at their sides with their palms opened outwards is likely to be seen as being relaxed and open. Conversely, someone who folds their arms and leans back would be perceived as tense and closed. Open and closed postures can also influence whether a person is perceived as likeable or not.   
This relates to personal space. Personal space is the distance we keep from other people. What is socially acceptable varies across cultures but can also vary according to the type of social interaction and the type of relationship. A dating couple will often sit together more closely than an employer and employee for example. If we encounter an angry person on the street, the further away that person is from us, the less threatening we will perceive them to be. If the angry person gets too close, the anger will seem more threatening and we may take flight to regain our personal space. 

This is sometimes referred to as haptics. Touching can occur in different circumstances during a conversation. In some cultures touching is quite common. For instance, in South American and Middle Eastern cultures it is quite usual to stand closely and touch the person you are talking to. In other cultures, it may make people feel uncomfortable. Touching can be hostile such as hitting or kicking. It can also demonstrate a degree of intimacy such as politeness, warmness, love or sexuality. 

In a counselling situation, or other therapist-client relationship, it is important for the counsellor to maintain a physical distance to avoid any misunderstandings in relation to physical contact. 

Find out more now! 
Do you think you have what it takes to help children lead more fulfilling lives? If you would like someone to contact you about this course Click and Contact us Today

What This Course Could Do For You

An understanding of children and adolescents is useful in a range of careers. It is also something which many parents can benefit from. This course provides students with a thorough grounding in normal child and adolescent development as well as insight into what can go wrong. Counselling can be of value to children as much as it is to adults, and may be of particular value to children who have mental health problems or those who face difficulties in their lives. All children deserve an opportunity to thrive in life.

This course will be of particular interest to people working in, or hoping to work in: 

  • Youth work
  • Child and adolescent counselling
  • School counselling
  • Teaching
  • Child psychology
  • Caring roles
  • Youth coaching

This course may also be of value to parents, foster parents and caregivers.

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.
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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 in your selected discipline. 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.

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

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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 (6 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- a 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.

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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.
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Course Contributors

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

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.

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.

Tracey Jones

Widely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience.
Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).


Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Tracey Jones

Tracey has over 20 years experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects.

She is a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work. Tracey has also written a text book on Psychology and has had several short stories published.

Graham Anderson

Graham Anderson B. Mech Eng (hons) Dip. Health

Graham has spent his life in the farming and agriculture industry, particularly carving a niche in the avocado sector with experience ranging from tissue culture, to nursery management to fruit marketing. He has an engineering qualification and an extensive range of mechanical skills which are now diversifying to an understanding of our internal mechanics in health and psychology with qualifications underway.

Nicola Stewart

Nicola worked in publishing before changing direction to teach Anatomy, Physiology and various complementary therapies in the UK’s post-compulsory sector for 16 years. She is the published author of 10 books, plus a range of magazine articles and has also ghost-written across a number of genres. When she is not working for ACS, she provides specialist literacy tuition for children with dyslexia.

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