Counselling Skills II

Study Advanced Counselling skills and gain a more in-depth understanding as to the use of counselling skills. Professional Development for those working in counselling, welfare, human resources management or help services.

Course Code: BPS110
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn Advanced Counselling Skills

Micro-skills are the tools of the trade for counsellors. They are the techniques which counsellors use to help clients find solutions for dealing with their problems. Nevertheless, just understanding micro-skills is not necessarily enough. In this fascinating course students are encouraged to hone their micro-skills and apply their understanding to a range of real-life problems which any counsellor may have to deal with. 

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It is sometimes the case that clients expect that the counsellor will be able to conjure up an instant cure. In such cases, it may well be necessary for the counsellor to spell out to the client that they are not an expert who can offer a magical solution to the client’s problems, but that their role is to help the client express their problems and feelings so as to gain a better understanding of themselves. The client needs to understand that it is not the role of the counsellor to offer advice, but rather to enable the client to find their own solutions that are right for them. It may also be necessary to inform the client that finding solutions to problems can take a long time, and that they may need to exercise patience and be prepared to commit to a number of sessions.

Take this course to increase your understanding of the use of counselling skills

  • Studying this course will help you to better help your clients and refine your micro-skills. 

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  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 approaches

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Demonstrate the application of micro skills to different stages of the counselling process.
  • Role-play the dynamics of the counselling process including such phenomenon as present experiences, feedback, transference, counter-transference, projection and resistance.
  • Demonstrate telephone counselling techniques.
  • Develop appropriate responses to crises, both emotional and practical.
  • Show ways of encouraging the client to deal with aggression.
  • Demonstrate different ways of encouraging the client to cope with depression.
  • Discuss strategies for dealing with grief.
  • Develop different strategies of helping suicidal clients.

What You Will Do

  • Identify clearly the stages in the counselling process.
  • Explain how a counsellor might encourage the client to relax in the first session.
  • Demonstrate at what stage the counsellor should bring in micro-skills other than those of minimal responses and reflection of content and feeling.
  • Demonstrate at what stage the counsellor should focus attention on the client’s thoughts and why.
  • Demonstrate control techniques in conversation, in a role play.
  • Correlate certain types of non-visual cues with feelings in a case study.
  • Show how a counsellor could assist a client to consider the present and how this could facilitate the counselling process.
  • Demonstrate appropriate use of feedback in the counselling situation.
  • Demonstrate inappropriate use of feedback in the counselling situation.
  • Distinguish between transference and counter-transference.
  • Demonstrate telephone counselling techniques in a role play.
  • Describe how to deal with a distressed client (male/female) through telephone counselling.
  • Show how to terminate a telephone counselling session.
  • Explain the main advantages of telephone counselling.
  • Describe techniques to effectively deal with nuisance callers in telephone counselling.
  • Evaluate how a crisis was managed by a person, in a case study.
  • Outline the main crisis categories.
  • Demonstrate different practical responses that might be applied to a crisis.
  • Show when it is appropriate for a counsellor to conclude crisis counselling.
  • Analyse an aggressive/violent outburst (physical/mental) by an individual; in a case study.
  • Explain an aggressive/violent outburst (physical/mental) by an individual; in a case study.
  • Demonstrate how a counsellor might encourage a client to appropriately express their anger.
  • Explain why it is important that clients become aware of the physiological effects of anger.
  • Identify the origin of depression in a case study.
  • Explain the origin of depression in a case study.
  • Explain the relationship between depression and blocked anger.
  • Demonstrate how a counsellor could encourage a client to explore their anger.
  • Identify risks involved in dealing with someone with chronic depression.
  • Explain the benefits of goal-setting to the counselling process.
  • Identify when depressed clients should be referred on to other professionals.
  • Evaluate the grieving process in a case study.
  • Compare the grieving process in a case study, with the 7 classic stages of grieving.
  • Determine which stage of grieving was most difficult in a case study.
  • Explain the significance of denial in the grieving process.
  • Demonstrate how a counsellor could combat feelings of denial in grieving.
  • Explain why it is important for both the client and the counsellor to understand the grieving process.
  • Research into suicide, to determine attitudes, information and support services available in the student’s country.
  • Discuss a variety of different people’s views on suicide.
  • Describe 6 high risk factors to be looked for when assessing the likelihood of a person committing suicide.
  • Demonstrate alternative strategies that a counsellor might use to become more aware of a depressed client’s risk of suicide.
  • Explain how a counsellor might learn to challenge their own irrational beliefs in order to help a suicidal client.
  • Compare working with and working in opposition to a client.

Counselling is Often about Relationships

A good counsellor needs to understand relationships for many reasons.

Relationship issues are often the reason why someone needs counselling. Sometimes this may be because a relationship has been threatened or damaged; or perhaps the relationship has disappeared from the person's life for one reason or another.

Relationships are fluid

They are constantly changing. If you consider any relationship you have now and compare it to how it was in the past no doubt you will be able to identify changes. Perhaps the relationship has now improved compared to how it was. Maybe it has not. Sometimes even the most enjoyable relationships - those with the highest levels of satisfaction can become strained and erode over time. 

Social and demographic factors often play a role in relationship breakdown. For instance, people from markedly different backgrounds are less likely to have marriage relationships which last (Jaffe & Kantner, 1979). Also, relationships between younger couples are more likely to dissolve than those of older people (Bentler & Newcombe, 1978). 

Besides these more general reasons, relationships also end because of interpersonal factors. Some people may be poorer at communicating what they need or want in a relationship. They may accuse their partner of misconduct without really examining the facts or listening attentively to what they have to say.  In any relationship success relies on both people having a strong sense of self. We need to be aware of our own qualities and to be able to see them in others. There also needs to be healthy and clearly defined boundaries.

Other factors which affect the life of relationships are the amount of self-disclosure and responsiveness to the other person. When either of these things is not present, there is often conflict in relationships and they can end. In a study by Markman (1981) it was found that just before couples got married those who reported positive experiences of responsiveness were more likely to be satisfied with their marriage five years later.

Dealing with Dissatisfaction

In one study of romantic couples, Rusbult (1987) identified four methods which were often used to deal with dissatisfaction in relationships:

  • Exit strategy - This is literally removing oneself from the relationship, or removing oneself mentally by talking and thinking about leaving.
  • Neglect - This is allowing the relationship to break down by not attempting to resolve dissatisfaction.
  • Loyalty - This is riding through the storm; staying in the relationship and hoping for better times ahead. 
  • Voice - This is talking about issues and problems associated with the relationship.

Tips on Ending a Relationship Positively

One of the reasons people find ending romantic relationships so difficult is because it involves the loss of an emotional attachment which is often very difficult to remove and replace. People who have an anxious-ambivalent attachment style, i.e. dependent but suspicious and distrusting, find relationships breakdowns particularly difficult to cope with. They often see it as reaffirming their feelings of abandonment. Also, people who have had poor relationship experiences in the past may find that relationship breakdown destroys their trust in others and makes it more difficult to embark on new relationships. However, any relationship breakdown is likely to affect both people and there is a good chance that at least one of them will suffer. It is therefore very important to try to dissolve relationships with empathy for the other person.

A simple tip is not to end a relationship as the other person is going out. It sounds obvious but if they are just about to leave for work or go away for a few days, the news will not come at the best time. They may not have time to really discuss it properly with you and will go off feeling sad and unsure of themselves. 

Do not break up over the phone. It is better to break up face to face. You can see how each other are reacting and can try to talk through the situation and explain your feelings clearly. If you do this over the phone, it is too easy for one of you to slam the phone now and not really talk through what has happened.

Definitely DO NOT end a relationship over text or by social media. This is humiliating for the other person, knowing that you have not bothered to tell them in person and potentially that all their friends already know. We hear stories of people changing their “status” on social media as single, before they have told the person that they have ended their relationship.

Do not ask someone else to tell the person the relationship is over. Show respect to them and do it yourself.

Do not end relationships in a public place. This is not fair on the person concerned as they may be very upset.

Do not tell other people first. Do not tell friends or family you are going to end a relationship before you tell the person concerned. They may start to realise that something is happening if people start acting differently around them or even tell them. Then they will be more hurt that other people knew before they did.

Do not end a relationship during an argument. Things can be said in the heat of the moment, more than we really want to say. We may want to end a relationship for a number of reasons, but in an argument, those factors can become exaggerated and hurt the other person more.

Make sure the person is aware that you are not happy. It should not come as a total shock that a relationship is over.  It is not good to say, you are not happy and that is it, it does not give the other person chance to change or to find out what has gone wrong.

The Benefits of Studying This Course

This course is the perfect accompaniment to our Counselling Skills I course. It builds on the micro-skills by drawing them all together and working through specific applications of those skills for mental health problems such as depression, grief and anger. It also covers other areas of counselling like telephone and internet counselling and their relevance to a counsellor's repertoire. Graduates of this course will have good insight into how and when to apply particular helping skills when treating difficult cases.

Suitable for -

This course is aimed at people working in or interested in working in:

  • Counselling
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychology 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.
 Principal John Mason is a member of the ANZMH. ACS Students are invited to join
Principal John Mason is a member of the ANZMH. ACS Students are invited to join

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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.

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).

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.

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