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Studying professional practice is important in counselling. This course provides you with a detailed insight into professional practice in counselling.

The course is studied by distance learning.

Anyone thinking of setting up their own counselling service or business, or anyone who manages a counselling service, should have a good knowledge of professional practice. This course will provide you with detailed knowledge of the underlying theories and practices in counselling.  

Course Duration:  100 hours

Start Date:  You can start the course at any time of the year - to suit you.

Course Structure

The course is divided into seven lessons as follows:

Lesson 1 - Understanding Counselling
This looks at the client-counsellor relationship, effective counselling, counselling the counsellor, the values of the counsellor and multicultural counselling.
Lesson 2 - Ethics and Confidentiality
Lesson 2 covers needs, the code of ethics, informed consent, right to privacy,  legal requirements, the use of psychometric tests, ethics and multiple relationships, keeping records.
Lesson 3 - Understanding the Self
This lesson considers self-awareness, self-monitoring, self-concept, attribution theory, social perceptions, relationships, implicit personality theory, social exchange, love and intimacy.
Lesson 4 -  Personality
In this lesson, we consider what is a healthy personality, the trait approach, psychodynamic approach, the humanistic approach and the social learning and cognitive approaches.
Lesson 5 - Emotions and Behaviours
Lesson 5 discusses what are emotions, emotions and counselling, effects on communication, aspects of emotion, emotional expression and counselling.
Lesson 6 - Supervision
This lesson looks at -Why supervision?  Working with others, quantity and effectiveness of supervision, personal counselling, dependency, types of supervision.
Finally, Lesson 7 looks at  Referral Practice
The lesson considers - counselling versus mental health issues, secondary care counsellors, abnormal psychology, anxiety, depression,  schizophrenia and personality disorders.
There is an assignment at the end of each lesson, which you submit to your tutor for marking and feedback.  


  • 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.
  • 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 2 different personality tests.
  • Compare and contrast 2 different approaches to personality and their application to the counselling process.
  • Discuss what is meant by emotions.
  • 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

    It is assumed that students will have some previous experience of psychology.

    A suitable course if you have no previous experience might be our Introduction to Psychology course.

    Do you have any questions?


  •  If you have any questions about the course, our Counselling Tutors are more than happy to help with any advice and support.

  •  Please contact a Psychology Tutor here.

  • Why delay? Enrol today and learn more about good professional practice in counselling. 





    Studying this course will give you an in depth knowledge of good practice in counselling.
    If you work in counselling or are thinking of setting up your own professional practice, this is the course for you.  It will help you to develop your understanding of appropriate practices and procedures within the counselling profession. Students will also gain knowledge of the self, personality and emotions and their effect on the counselling process as well as being introduced to some of the most common disorders.  It also covers personal growth, psychometric testing, referral procedures and more.....

    Pre-requisites: It is assumed anyone undertaking this course will already have a basic grounding in psychology and counselling, at least equivalent to the “Introduction to Psychology” course offered through this school.

    Meet some of our academics

    Tracey Jones B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), DipSW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies) Tracey began studying psychology in 1990. She has a wide range of 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 has been a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work and has also written many textbooks, blogs, articles and ebooks on psychology, writing, sociology, child development and more. She has had also several short stories published.
    Miriam ter BorgPsychologist, Youth Worker, Teacher, Author and Natural Therapist. Miriam was previously an Outdoor Pursuits Instructor, Youth Worker, Surfing College Program Coordinator, Massage Therapist, Business Owner/Manager. Miriam's qualifications include B.Sc.(Psych), DipRem.Massage, Cert Ourdoor Rec.
    Lyn Quirk M.Ed.,Dip.Med.,Dip.SportsOver 35 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.M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy
    Gavin Cole B.Sc.,M.Psych.Psychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist. B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA Gavin has over 25 years of experience in psychology, in both Australia and England. He has co-authored several psychology text books and many courses including diploma and degree level courses in psychology and counselling. Gavin has worked for ACS for over 10 years.

    Check out our eBooks

    Psychological ProfilingPsychological profiling is used to assess anyone from potential new staff and school children to serial killers. It helps you to determine someone’s personality, neuroses, mental health and career suitability. This book provides an excellent overview of psychological profiling techniques and pitfalls.
    Psychology DictionaryThis book provides explanations for common terms used in Psychology.
    Counselling HandbookA book for both students, as well as volunteers who may be involved in helping people with problems. This is a starting point for understanding counselling, and a reference for developing counselling skills. The book contains seven chapters: 1. Where can counselling be used 2. How to see behind the mask 3. Emotions and attitudes 4. How to communicate better when all you have is words 5. Theory versus practice 6. Diffusing difficult situations 7. Golden rules or tips
    How to be a Life CoachLife coaching is a relatively new profession - although coaches have been around for a long time in the guise of trainers, instructors, managers and tutors for various professions and disciplines. Life coaching is not easily defined, but it is a type of mentoring which focuses on helping individuals to achieve what they would like to achieve and thereby to lead more fulfilling lives. Unlike other forms of coaching, it takes place outside of the workplace and is concerned with all aspects of a person’s life.