Certificate in Counselling (Care Professionals)

Work in care professions, learn counselling skills, understand human behaviour and providing support services for elderly, disabled and other people in need.

Course Code: VPS005
Fee Code: CT
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate
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This is an excellent foundation certificate, aimed at people working or looking to work in care or health care services. 

In the discipline of psychology, the term stress is defined as the state of psycho physiological arousal.

It is virtually impossible to discuss psychological stress without describing the psychological state that accompanies it.

The dynamics of stress demonstrate the close interaction between mind and the body in human behaviour. Thus, before we discuss stress, let us first briefly take to task the mind body problem.

During our everyday conversation, we tend to use the term body for all that is concrete and tangible about ourselves -the shape of our limbs, colour of hair etc.

The term mind on the other hand refers to the intangible part of our experience -the private storehouse of our emotions and thoughts. Thus, in our every day life, we tend to use these two terms as though they refer to entirely separate entities, which exist independent of each other. This is not the case though...they are interrelated & highly inseparable!


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Certificate in Counselling (Care Professionals).
 Counselling Skills I BPS109
 Introduction to Psychology BPS101
 Psychology & Counselling BPS102
 Life Coaching BPS305
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 2 of the following 9 modules.
 Biopsychology I BPS108
 Counselling Skills II BPS110
 Stress Management VPS100
 Aged Care and Counselling BPS212
 Counselling Children BPS218
 Counselling Techniques BPS206
 Grief Counselling BPS209
 Crisis Counselling BPS304
 Horticultural Therapy BHT341

Note that each module in the Certificate in Counselling (Care Professionals) is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


Module 1. Introduction to Psychology
This course will help you to analyse aspects of a person's psychological state and apply derived knowledge to motivate that person. There are seven lessons in this course:
1. The Nature and Scope of Psychology
2. Neurological basis of behaviour
3. Environmental effects on behaviour
4. Consciousness and perception
5. Personality
6. Psychological development
7. Needs, drives and motivation

Module 2. Psychology and Counselling

A course that develops your ability to analyse psychological conditions and to apply that knowledge in counselling or advisory situations. There are seven lessons in this course:
1. Stress
2. Abnormal Behaviour
3. Individual Behaviour
4. Group Behaviour
5. Methods of Dealing with Abnormalities
6. Conflict Resolution
7. Interpersonal Communication Skills

Module 3 Counselling Skills I

  1. Learning Specific Skills - Learning methods; the counselling role
  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; psychological blocks
  8. Ending the Counselling - Terminating the session; closure; further meetings; dependency, confronting dependency.

Module 4. Life Coaching
This course is aimed at students with experience or training in health, counselling, social work, natural therapies etc. It will develop your skills in setting and achieving goals, for yourself or for those who seek your assistance. There are ten lessons:
1. Introduction: Nature and scope of life coaching
2. Individual perceptions
3. A well-balanced life
4. Coaching skills
5. Coaching models
6. Coaching and physical well-being
7. Coaching and psychological well-being
8. Coaching success
9. Goal-setting
10. Review and adjustment
This course is recognised by the Association for Coaching in the UK. Graduates are encouraged to join this association, to further their career and opportunities in life coaching, and counselling more generally.

Modules 5 and 6. Choose any two (2) module from the following :

  • Biopsychology I
  • Stress Management
  • Counselling Skills II
  • Crisis Counselling
  • Counselling Techniques
  • Grief Counselling
  • Careers Counselling
  • Professional Practice in Counselling
  • Aged Care and Counselling
  • Family Counselling


Biopsychology I
Biopsychology studies the interaction between psychology and the physical body. It would benefit
anyone working in fields of fitness or health, and most areas of psychology.
1. Introduction - Types of external and internal stimuli, mind-body debate, introduction to the nervous system.
2. The Senses - Sensory input, sensory perception, description of the major senses.
3. The Nervous System - Description of the neurons, the central nervous system, peripheral nervous
system, including the autonomic nervous system.
4. The Endocrine System - Effect of hormones behaviour and physiology, association of endocrine
system and nervous system, connection between external and internal stimuli.
5. Stress- Types of stressors, physical affects of stress, personality and stress.
6. Emotions - Homeostasis, eating disorders, physiological responses to emotions, theories of
7. Consciousness - Degrees of consciousness, awareness and attention, altered states of

Stress Management
Anxiety, tension and mental and emotional strain are common problems in modern society. This course introduces you to some practical approaches to combating stress. It covers the following topics:
1. Body changes caused by stress.
2. Developing an easy going lifestyle.
3. Pills and alcohol abuse.
4. Building self esteem.
5. Career management and achieving work satisfaction.
6. Security and Decision Making.
7. Relaxation massage, meditation and diet.
8. Evaluating and developing your own personality.

Counselling Skills II

  1. The Counselling Session - how micro-skills come together
  2. Focus on the Present - present experiences; feedback; transference; projection; resistance
  3. Telephone Counselling - non-visual contact; preparation; initial contact; use of micro-skills; overall process; debriefing; types of problem callers
  4. Dealing with Crises - defining crisis; types of crisis; dangers of crisis; counsellor’s responses and intervention; post-traumatic stress
  5. Problem-Solving Techniques I: Aggression - expressing anger; encouraging change; role-play; externalising anger
  6. Problem-Solving Techniques II: Depression - blocked anger; referral practice; chronic depression; setting goals; promoting action
  7. Problem-Solving Techniques III: Grief and Loss - loss of relationships; children and grief; stages of grief
  8. Problem-Solving Techniques IV: Suicide - ethics; reasons for suicide; perceived risk; counselling strategies; alternative approach.



It's natural for people to use any of a range of different defence mechanisms to avoid dealing with underlying problems they encounter.
The skilled counsellor needs to understand and detect these mechanisms; then develop a range of ways to respond and hopefully diffuse these defence responses, ultimately enabling the real issues to be dealt with.


Memories that cause anxiety are kept out of our conscious awareness as a means of protecting ourselves. This is also called motivated forgetting. This involves repressing the chaotic desires of the id into the unconscious realm. Often these repressed desires will still find expression in dreams, slips of the tongue or psychopathological symptoms.


This involves displacement of a disturbing emotion such as anger, from one person to another. Displacement reduces anxiety produced by the unacceptable wish, but at the same time it partially gratifies that wish. The basic emotion of irrational anger toward a parent (for example) cannot be removed. The individual will instead direct this anger toward another less important, less threatening person.


This is when we pretend to have a socially acceptable reason for a form of behaviour that is actually rooted in irrational feelings.

Example: A person is angry with their mother and wants to avoid her. They then give a false reason for not going to visit her (eg. It is too far away).


This is a particular form of rationalisation. It involves projecting our own undesirable characteristics onto someone else.

Example: You feel an irrational hatred toward someone else, and then you go around telling people that the person concerned hates you.


This involves unconsciously covering up what you really feel by behaving in the opposite manner, without realising it.

Example: A woman, who could not obtain an abortion, might harbour a lot of hatred towards her child, and unconsciously still want to get rid of it. Instead she behaves lovingly and over protective to the child, to an excessive degree.


This involves detaching ones self from deep emotions about an issue, by dealing with it in abstract and intellectual terms.


This involves simply denying that a situation or emotion is real (simple but extreme!)

This is a defence most frequently employed by a person who has lost a loved one -they go through a period of refusing to believe that it is true.


This involves establishing a secondary socially acceptable goal that can be satisfied; instead of satisfying the primary (original) goal.Example: An excessively aggressive person might satisfy their desire to kill by joining the army where it can be socially acceptable to kill. Defence mechanisms all play the role of distorting reality to a greater or lesser degree, in order to get rid of anxiety producing feelings. Nevertheless, they are necessary to keep our psyches from being overloaded with the id's irrational feelings. They can however be over used by certain individuals so that reality becomes distorted to an unhealthy degree.The use of defence mechanisms is inevitable and necessary; however an individual can rely on them too much; resulting in personality problems.


How This Course Could Help You

Counselling is a rewarding area to work in. Many counsellors come from different walks in life and have different types of skills they can bring to the table. This certificate course provides a good opportunity for people to turn their interests, natural abilities and life skills into a study program. The course provides a solid foundation for getting involved as a counsellor or working in a similar role. It can also serve as a great stepping stone to further study and personal development.

This course is most likely to appeal to people working in, or hoping to work in: 

  • Counselling
  • Health professions
  • Caring roles
  • Aged care
  • Disability Services

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.

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.

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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 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.

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 login.training 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 (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.

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 acs@oamps.com.au.

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 (admin@acs.edu.au) call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.

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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 (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.


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

Julia Mayo-Ramsay

Dr Julia Mayo-Ramsay is a practicing environmental and agricultural lawyer. She holds a PhD in International Environmental Law, LLM, BLJS, GDLP, LLM (Environmental Law) and a Master of Applied Science (Agriculture).
Julia started out in agriculture working on various dairy farms in the 1980s before working as dairy manager / tutor at Hawkesbury Agricultural College Richmond NSW. Julia then went on to work at Riverina Artificial Breeders at Tabletop (Albury) NSW as an embryo transfer technician assisting vets with artificial breeding and embryo transfer in cattle, sheep and deer. This was followed by two years as a herd manager for a very large commercial dairy herd milking 3,000 cows over three dairies on the outskirts of Sydney before heading overseas. In 1994 Julia accepted a position in NE Thailand at the Sakhon Nakhon Institute of Technology (now a University) training farmers and students in cattle breeding and dairy farm management. On returning to Australia in late 1996 Julia completed a Master of Applied Science in Agriculture at Hawkesbury Agricultural College (UWS) as well as law degrees and maritime studies. Julia now works as a Lawyer in the area of environmental and rural law.
Currently Julia teaches a variety of maritime subjects for Marine Rescue NSW.
As well as teaching Julia is working on a number of environmental research projects.

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.

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.

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