Relationships & Communication Counselling

School of Psychology -Relationships Counselling and Communications counsellor course. Distance Learning Course. Study for professional development or personal interest.

Course Code: BPS208
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn about communications counselling

 

Keys to successful relationships

 

There are many and varied reasons why relationships breakdown and irreconcilable differences is one of them. This occurs when two people differ in their beliefs and values and neither are willing to accept that the other person holds a different viewpoint. While agreeing to disagree would be a type of win-win in this situation, the way in which the difference is communicated and hence managed is often destructive. For example, one may continue to force the other to accept their position, through verbal attacks, or may give the ‘silent treatment’, not speaking to the other. When communication subsides into physical, verbal or emotional abuse (name calling, personal attacks, hitting, yelling, punching, pushing, verbal tirades, destroying personal items), the relationship is most often irretrievable. In fact, research has shown that once a poor or destructive communication cycle is established, it is rare that a reversal can take place as quite often, respect and trust is diminished to very low levels, and may take years of learning new skills to rebuild.

Increase your understanding of the role communication plays in creating, maintaining or destroying relationships, and develop your ability to assist others to improve their communication in relationships.

 

"Relationships start. Relationships develop. Relationships continue, but some relationships breakdown. To gain a greater understanding, this course will provide you with detailed insight into the processes involved in the development and sometimes, the breakdown, of relationships and how we can support the people involved." Tracey Jones, B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), DipSW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies), ACS Tutor

Lesson Structure

There are 6 lessons in this course:

  1. Communication in Emerging Relationships
    • Introduction
    • Problems in relationships
    • Stages in relationships
    • Interpersonal communication
    • The communication process
    • Principles of communication
    • Communication filtered through perceptions
    • Verbal communication
    • Non verbal communication
    • Communication responsibility
    • Ineffective communication
    • Signs of relationship breakdownEffective communication
    • Abuse and violence in relationships
  2. Self-Awareness and Communication Goals
    • Introduction
    • Negative communication
    • Self awareness
    • Setting the stage for change
    • Good communication is thoughtful
    • Intent
    • Awareness
    • Recognising reactive patterns
    • Relationship goals
  3. Communication Patterns in Relationships
    • Negative patterns of communication
    • Aggressive patterns
    • Victim patterns
    • Avoidance patterns
    • Thought, feeling and action cycle
    • Thoughts and feelings differentiated
    • Emotions (feelings)
    • Patterns of thought
    • Behaviour (Actions)
    • Action skills
    • Communicating intent
  4. Influences on Relating Behaviour and PBL.
    • Influences on communication
    • Environmental influences; family, culture, social, other
    • Global factors
    • Communicating and changing interpersonal needs
    • Changing expectations and needs
    • Adult psychological development
    • Erikson's psycho social stages
    • PBL to create and plan a counselling intervention for a couple who are experiencing relationship difficulties.
  5. Communication Techniques and Skills
    • Introduction
    • Triads
    • Listening
    • Paraphrasing
    • Reflective responses; emotions
    • Reflective responses; content
    • Guidelines to prevent inauthentic listening
    • Open questions
    • Message statements or requests
    • Self disclosure
    • Encouraging clients to learn communication
  6. Maintaining Relationships
    • Introduction
    • Kinds of, and stages in relationships
    • Factors to help maintain relationships
    • Agreements or contracts
    • Praise and gifts for service
    • Relationship nurturing communication
    • Straight talk

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

  • Explore the establishment of positive communication in emergent relationships and the various factors that influence relational processes;
  • Examine perceptions of ourselves and how this affects our communication and influences our communication goals;
  • To identify and examine patterns of communication in close relationships and consider the functions of thoughts, feelings and actions and how they inform our communication responses;
  • Recognise the role of third party influences when communicating in relationships and the changing needs in a persons lifetime that affect their communication;
  • Listen with improved empathy and respond accordingly;
  • To understand constructive and destructive methods of maintaining relationships.

What You Will Do

  • Determine ways in which we consciously communicate in a relationship, and ways in which we unconsciously communicate.
  • Determine different negative messages that can damage relationships, and different positive messages that can nurture them.
  • Determine attitudes or expectations (thoughts and beliefs) that can result in destructive communication, and describe one likely negative outcome for each.
  • Identify common needs that we want to satisfy through our relationships.
  • Identify cultural or social influences that affect individual and family attitudes to happiness, self-expression, and relationships.
  • Explain psychological theories and terms such as attribution theory, implicit personality theory, Gestalt impression formation, inference processes, stereotyping.
  • List benefits and disadvantages of ‘self-disclosure’ and ‘self-disguise or concealment’ (lying).
  • Define effective communication.
  • Discuss the role that judgment plays in preventing a person from understanding and/or respecting another person’s point of view and feelings.
  • Discuss strategies for replacing negative communication patterns in relationships for positive patterns.

Relationships Require Work

Good relationships and good communication do not just happen. They are the result of sensitivity to one’s own feelings, thoughts and actions, and to others’ thoughts, feelings and actions.

Communication is the foundation of a relationship and the glue that holds a relationship together, yet research shows that relatively few of us are aware of how and what we communicate, or take time to plan our communications to ensure mutual understanding and goodwill. Rather, most of us tend to speak and act without much pre-thought or without much consideration of likely consequences. Few of us understand how communication works, and how much it contributes to either our good or our poor relations with others, which means that few of us take the time to work on improving our communication skills, or break established patterns of negative communication. Given this situation, the opportunities for communication problems and misunderstanding are enormous.

No matter who your client, what age they are at, or what background they come from, however, they can be encourage by knowing that good relating skills and communication can be learnt. At first, they may find the new skills uncomfortable, challenging, difficult to remember, or even insincere. However, as they begin to see the positive effects upon themselves and their relationships, the skills will become part of their conscious efforts to build and maintain positive relationships. Eventually, they will become second nature (habits), and your clients will enjoy the benefits and challenges of being a good communicator.

Why Relationships End

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. Also, relationships between younger couples are more likely to dissolve than those of older people.

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.

Relationships Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Some relationships last a lifetime and others only a day. Some relationships are close and others are superficial.

Through this course you learn to understand and appreciate the great diversity that can exist in relationships, from families to work groups and social encounters.

With a better understanding, you have an enhanced capacity to help people who are having difficulties in their relationships; and that is a valuable skill, not only for professional counsellors, but for anyone who is interacting with people, in any context.

Where this course might lead

If you are already working in counselling, this course may simply help to further develop your knowledge and skills, expanding  possibilities for business or employment.

Understanding Relationships can Benefit You Beyond Counselling

Relationships are critical in every workplace - relationships between customer and supplier, employer and employee, between fellow workmates, and between colleagues outside of your place of employment.

This course can give you a range of what are called “micro skills” that can help you interact with clients, colleagues and others to help them to work through and find resolutions to all sorts of problems.

These skills can be used in all sorts of situations to good effect. For instance, ‘active listening’ can be used to demonstrate to someone that they are being heard. With active listening, the listener pays full attention to what the person is saying with the intention of being able to provide feedback and summarise what they have said. As such, it is possible to ensure we are clear about what they have said.

This is a valuable skill to have in any profession where you are interacting with other people. For example, consider someone working in customer service. If a customer visits their store and asks for a certain product, the sales person will quickly endear themselves to the customer if they carefully listen to what the customer requires and they can provide feedback which shows they have understood them.

The interpretation of body language and non-verbal cues, provides useful information to counsellors and psychologists about how someone might be thinking or feeling. Outside of a therapeutic relationship though, this information might help inform decisions for police officers, customs officers, lawyers, or even managers about when or how to instigate particular company policies.

 

 

 
 
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Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

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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
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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.

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

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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).

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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 $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.

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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 (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,





Tutors

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

Rosemary Davies

B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing

Originally from Melbourne, Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Burnley, a campus of Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer.

She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe.

Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy

Lyn has 35 years of experience in the Fitness, Health and Leisure Industries. She has a string of qualifications that are far too long to list here; being qualified and registered to teach, coach or instruct a wide range of different sports and other skills.

Lyn established and managed Health clubs at three major five star resorts on Australia's Gold Coast, including The Marriott. She was a department head for a large government vocational college (TAFE), and has conducted her own aquafitness business for many years. Lyn has among her other commitments worked as a tutor for ACS for almost 10 years, and over that time, participated in the development or upgrading of most courses in her fields of expertise.

Sarah Pirecki

BAnVetBioSc., Dip. ProjMgt (TBC).

A passionate advocate for animal health and welfare. Sarah completed a Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience majoring in Animal Health and Disease and is currently completing a Diploma of Project Management. She has a wide range of experience working in agricultural settings, veterinary nursing, assistance dog raising, and animal education.

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