Professional Practice in Counselling

Discover how to succeed in private practice as a consultant therapist. Learn how understanding yourself can benefit your clients, the importance of an ethical code, multicultural awareness and ongoing training amongst other things.

Course Code: BPS207
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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PSYCHOLOGY AND COUNSELLING PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE

Who should study this course?
 
Whether you are a counsellor or psychologist working in private practice or for a public health service, this course may be of benefit to you. It can also be useful for other health care workers working in counselling type roles or working with those with mental health problems. 
 
What you will get from it
 
Studying this course will enhance your understanding of best care practices for clients and patients. This is achieved in part through developing awareness of your own beliefs, values and any issues you might have which could interfere with the counselling process. It also includes adhering to ethical and moral standards such as continuously striving to improve oneself, and recognising when it is necessary to refer a client on to someone else for their benefit.
 
What is professional practice?
 
It is essential that if the counsellor or psychologist is to enable the client to experience growth, they themselves must discard stereotyped roles in order that they can become a real person in a real relationship.
 
It is the counsellor’s own genuineness, alertness, and ability to make life choices that are the inspiration for clients to make changes to their own lives.

Of course, this does not have to mean that the counsellor is on top of everything at all times in their own life, but rather that they are willing to make changes where necessary. As such, the counsellor is able to convey to the client that taking risks and instigating changes can be worthwhile.

It can be argued that if the counsellor remains hidden behind low-risk behaviour and does not disclose too much about themselves, then the client will exhibit similar behaviour.

Similarly, if the counsellor portrays themselves as an expert who is there to diagnose and offer a cure, then the client is less likely to take an active role in therapy. They may also feel more impotent and helpless and consequently reveal less of themselves and become more defensive.

The psychological health of the counsellor is crucial in determining the success of the counselling relationship. A counsellor owes it to the client not to engage in counselling whilst experiencing problems of their own.

Lesson Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Understanding Counselling: The client-counsellor relationship; Effective counselling; Counselling the counsellor; Counsellor’s values; Multicultural counselling
  2. Ethics & Confidentiality: Needs; A code of ethics; Informed consent; Right to privacy; Legal requirements; Use of psychometric tests; Ethics and multiple relationships; Keeping records.
  3. Understanding the Self: Self-awareness; Self-monitoring; Self-concept; Social Perception; Attribution theory; Implicit personality theory; Relationships; Social exchange; Love and intimacy.
  4. Personality: What is a healthy personality?; Trait approach; Psychodynamic approach; Humanistic approach; Social learning and cognitive approaches.
  5. Emotions & Behaviour: What are emotions?; Emotions and Counselling; Effect on communication, Aspects of emotions, Emotional expression and counselling.
  6. Supervision: Why supervision?; Working with others; Quantity and effectiveness of supervision; Personal counselling; Dependency; Types of supervision.
  7. Referral Practice: Counselling v mental health issues; Secondary care counsellors; Abnormal psychology; Anxiety; Depression; Schizophrenia; Personality disorders.

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.

Aims

  • Discuss some of the main personal qualities that counselling will draw upon and demonstrate an awareness of the types of issues that new counsellors will need to resolve within themselves.
  • Raise awareness of: the ethical issues that arise within the profession, legal requirements, informed consent, decision-making and other related topics.
  • Gain insight into how the self, and one’s perception of the self influences both the client and the counsellor, and to understand the effect of the self upon relationships both within and outside the counselling process.
  • Enhance awareness of what is considered a healthy personality, to consider different types of personality tests, and to become aware of the application of different approaches to personality within the counselling process.
  • Explain how emotions arise, what they are, how they influence our bodies, minds and behaviour, and their role in the counselling process.
  • Understand the necessity for counsellors to have ongoing supervision throughout their professional career and to be constantly striving to upgrade their skills.
  • Delineate circumstances in which it is preferable to refer a client on to another health care professional, and to understand some of the main disorders that they may encounter.

What You Will Do

  • Explain why a counsellor needs to be open to personal growth.
  • Discuss personal qualities that are beneficial to a counsellor.
  • Discuss how the counselling of a counsellor can be of benefit to their personal effectiveness’
  • Describe how a counsellor’s own values can impose on the counselling process’
  • Outline the importance of an ongoing education and an awareness of other cultures.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of other useful counselling qualities through role play.
  • Discuss the importance of having a ‘code of ethics’ in counselling.
  • Describe what is meant by ‘informed consent’.
  • Discuss the extent to which the client has a ‘right to privacy’.
  • Understand when and how psychometric tests may be used.
  • Describe how to keep client records.
  • Discuss how the counsellor’s own sense of self-awareness can affect the counselling process.
  • Describe how self-perception can influence identity, roles and self-actualisation.
  • Define schemas, scripts, and attributions and their influence on social-perception.
  • Discuss the effect of attractiveness, closeness and similarity on relationships.
  • Discuss the effect of different levels of self-disclosure on the counselling relationship.
  • Describe symptoms of relationship breakdown.
  • Define a ‘healthy personality’.
  • Discuss the effect of nature and nurture on personality.
  • Describe the use of different personality tests.
  • Compare and contrast different approaches to personality and their application to the counselling process.
  • Discuss what is meant by emotions with other people.
  • Describe the effect of emotions on communications.
  • Define different aspects of emotions including: physiology, cognition and behaviour.
  • Demonstrate ways in which emotional expression can affect the counselling process.
  • Discuss different methods of supervision of counsellors.
  • Describe how dependency can evolve in the counselling process.
  • Discuss the importance of upgrading skills and ongoing supervision.
  • Outline methods of observation used in supervision.
  • Discuss the counsellor’s responsibility to the client.
  • Explain what might be considered as abnormal.
  • Define symptoms of commonly encountered disorders.

How Can a Counsellor become More Effective

A number of characteristics of effective counsellors have been identified:

  • Sense of Identity - They know who they are, what they want, what they need and what they are capable of.
  • Self-Respect -They are able to offer help to others because they have a sense of self-worth. As such they can respect others.
  • Power - They recognize their own power and are happy to allow others to feel power in their presence. They do not use power for their own means, but only where it may facilitate the counselling process.
  • Changeable-They are happy to give up the security of what they know, in order to make changes if they are not satisfied. They are prepared to grow.
  • Ability to make Choices -They are able to make decisions about others, themselves and so on, but are also able to revise decisions that they made earlier in their lives. They realise that there is no absolute state and that everything needs to be continuously revised and re-assessed.
  • Liveliness-They have the ability to make life choices and live life fully, rather than merely exist. They do not remain static.
  • Sincerity-They strive to be sincere at all times. Genuineness is one of the greatest tools for reaching out to clients.
  • Humour-They retain a sense of humour, and are capable of laughing at themselves. They may also call on humour as a means of demonstrating a sense of the ridiculous and irony where appropriate.
  • Accept their Fallibility -They realise that they are capable of making mistakes, but do not dwell on them. Positive elements can be gleaned from mistakes.
  • Live in the Present -They are aware of past influences and future goals, but live in the present.
  • Cultural Awareness -Have a broad understanding of the influence of culture on both themselves and the client. They will strive to maintain and improve this awareness.
  • Commitment to Welfare -They are genuinely concerned with the welfare of others. This is essential if they are to construct a collaborative and caring relationship.
  • Involvement -They become deeply involved in their work and are able to derive meaning from it. As such they will seek to improve their knowledge and remain actively involved in their profession.
  • Psychologically Healthy -They are able to leave the emotional strains behind them when they go home.
It would be totally unrealistic to expect any individual counsellor to possess all these traits. However, if they are each viewed as a continuum, then the individual counsellor can assess to what extent each of them is characteristic of themselves, and to what extent they may need to develop others in order to achieve personal growth.
 

Benefits of Studying This Course

This course is one of the stalwarts of our counselling faculty. It covers the type of background knowledge that all counsellors should possess. Whether you choose to work for yourself or propose to work for someone else, understanding yourself and your strengths and weaknesses is very important. So too is recognising the value of moral and ethical codes, multicultural awareness, the benefits of supervision, and knowing when to refer a client to another professional. This course represents an important part of the jigsaw for all therapists.  

This course is of most value to people working in or contemplating working in:

  • Counselling
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Social work
  • Nursing
  • Caring roles
  • Health professions
 

ACS is an Organisational Member of the Association for Coaching (UK).

ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

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.

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


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.

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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 has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

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 $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) 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 exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. 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.


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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 Psycholo

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 fo

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 (Lear





Tutors

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

Julia Mayo-Ramsay

PhD (University of Tasmania), Graduate Certificate in Maritime Safety (AMC) LLM (Environmental Law ANU), GDLP (ANU), LLB (SCU), BL&JS (SCU), MAppSc (Hawkesbury), Graduate Diploma Agriculture (Hawkesbury), Certificate IV Training & Assessment, Certificate IV Frontline Management.

Dr Julia Mayo-Ramsay is a practising 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.

Yvonne Sharpe

RHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt.

Over 30 years of experience in horticulture, education and management, Yvonne has travelled widely within and beyond Europe and has worked in many areas of horticulture from garden centres to horticultural therapy. She has served on industry committees and been actively involved with amateur garden clubs for decades.

Nicola Stewart

BA(Hons); Dip.Pub; CIM Dip.Marketing; PGCE; Dip.Holistic Aromatherapy; Dip.Reflexology; Dip.Orton-Gillingham Multisensory Language Education; Masters in Education & Professional Studies/Research, PhD (underway)

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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