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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Advanced Counselling Skills Course

Improve your counselling skills studying online. 

  • Build upon your existing counselling skills and explore beyond in a variety of areas, such as telephone counselling, online counselling, techniques for dealing with crisis situations and much more.
  • Learn to demonstrate how micro-skills can be combined in the counselling process.
  • Learn about the grief process, how we can support clients, the ethical issues of counselling and much more.
  • Pre-requisite - We recommend that you have studied an introductory psychology or counselling course before studying Counselling Skills II.

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Counselling Skills Professional Development Course - study online.

Counselling skills are used in many different situations.

  • They are used in the counselling environment, but also by many people as part of their day to day life and work.  Teachers, shop assistants, librarians, police staff, and well, basically anyone can use counselling skills as part of their daily life.  
  • Counselling skills can help us to improve our interactions and communication with other people.


This course can help you to develop and improve your counselling skills. The course covers -

  • Improving your counselling skills.
  • Understanding the use of micro skills in a counselling situation.
  • Learning counselling skills to use in many different situations and environments.
  • Studying telephone and online counselling.
  • Counselling in a crisis situation.
  • Problem Solving Techniques.
  • Depression and anger.
  • Grief and loss.
  • Suicide.
  • Dealing with problem calls in telephone counselling and much more...
  • Course Duration: 100 hours of self paced study.
  • Start Date: Counselling Skills II can be started at any time to suit you.

Work with highly qualified and experienced tutors to improve your knowledge of counselling skills.


Improve your job prospects and careers prospects by increasing your use of counselling skills.

This course is suitable for –

  • Volunteer counsellors
  • Trainee counsellors
  • Anyone wishing to start counselling
  • Police officers
  • Law enforcement
  • Teachers
  • Social workers
  • Parents
  • Foster carers
  • Carers
  • Support workers
  • Welfare workers
  • Counsellors wishing to update their knowledge
  • Retail staff
  • Hairdressers
  • In fact, anyone who works with people would benefit from using counselling skills.


The course is divided into 8 lessons as follows:

Lesson 1. The Counselling Session

  • How Micro-Skills come together.

Lesson 2. Focus on the Present

  • Present experiences; Feedback; Transference; Projection; Resistance.

Lesson 3. Telephone Counselling

  • Visual v non-visual contact; Preparation; Initial contact; Use of micro-skills; Overall Process; Debriefing; Types of Problem Callers.

Lesson 4. Dealing with Crises

  • What is a crisis?; Types of crisis; Dangers of Crises; Counsellor’s Responses and Intervention; Post-Traumatic Stress.

Lesson 5. Problem-Solving Techniques I, Aggression

  • Assisting the Client to Express Anger; Encouraging Change; Role-Play; Externalising Anger.

Lesson 6. Problem-Solving Techniques II, Depression

  • Counselling Depression; Blocked Anger; Referral Practice; Chronic Depression; Setting Goals; Promoting Action.

Lesson 7. Problem-Solving Techniques III, Grief and Loss

  • Loss of Relationships; Assisting the Grieving Client; Stages of Grief.

Lesson 8. Problem-Solving Techniques IV, Suicide

  • Ethics; Reasons for Suicide; Perceived Risk; Counselling Strategies; Counselling Skills; Alternative Approach.


  • 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.


  • 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 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.


Our sense of self refers to our mental representation of ourselves – our self-image.  It is everything that goes to make up what we see as the ‘I’ or ‘Me’.  It includes both individual and social characteristics, and it is through our inter-relationships that we develop our true sense of self. 


Awareness refers to the ability to perceive or be conscious of one of more things. Self-awareness refers to both our ability to see ourselves from the perspective of others, and the level to which we are aware of our thoughts, feelings, actions, and the effects of those on ourselves and on others. As you can see, self-awareness covers more than one psychological process. It is a key element of psychological maturity, as it contributes to a much more accurate perception of the client’s reality.  Developing client’s self-awareness is one of the basic goals of counselling.


This is how we define ourselves. From our infancy and over time, we develop self-schemas. These schemas may be positive or negative and may also contain elements of what we could become.  Our schemas tend to be self-perpetuating and resilient due to the fact that we only tend to pay heed to information that conforms to these schemas. However, they can be affected by changes in levels of self-esteem.  

There are a number of components of self-schemas:

  • Reflected appraisal. This refers to information we receive about how others perceive us, judge us and behave towards us.  Childhood experiences play a crucial role.
  • Social comparison. We compare ourselves to others from an early age, and throughout our lives.
  • Self-perception. These are beliefs about ourselves based on how we see ourselves.
  • Self-efficacy. This refers to belief in our ability to affect desired outcomes.  It reflects our sense of control and is linked to motivation, behaviour and cognition, and it may be affected by previous experience, emotions, situational factors and observation of others.

These refer to our expected behaviour in particular groups.  Some roles are gained through situations under our control (e.g. role of partner, child, parent), while others are ascribed and therefore out of our control (e.g. male/female). Social roles influence the way we see ourselves and therefore result in us behaving in a predictable or acceptable way within a particular group. We each tend to fill a variety of roles, rather than just one (such as child, mother, wife, employee, friend, teacher etc.), and it is not uncommon for an individual to have two or more roles that seem to conflict with each other.


According to the “identity process theory” (Breakwell, 1986), identity is concerned with the impact of events, and particularly ‘threats’ on identity. Identity can be seen as made up of several factors:

  • Continuity -  which implies that people will attempt to reconcile changes in themselves with their past history.
  • Distinctiveness - which distinguishes one individual from others and also serves to put people into groups (e.g. gender or ethnic groups, social groups).  We tend to seek positive ways of being distinct.
  • Self-esteem - which can be viewed as motivation to sustain and improve a positive self-concept.

A satisfied and well-adjusted individual would have a strong sense of continuity, moderate distinctiveness, and high self-esteem. People often do not fit this profile, either because they have not developed these characteristics or because ‘threats’ such as loss of employment have affected them. Such threats to identity can cause extreme distress.

We have a number of coping mechanisms to deal with these identify threats:

  • Intrapsychic mechanisms – which may take the form of denial or of mental preparation.
  • Interpersonal mechanisms – which may occur as social withdrawal or as social deceit (not informing others of changes).
  • Inter-group mechanisms – which may involve gaining social support from a different social group.

An understanding of such issues can enable the counsellor to deal more effectively with identity issues and ‘threats’.  The counsellor may need to work on creating more positive coping mechanisms to replace maladaptive ones.

Influence of self-awareness

While self-awareness is a very desirable ability, extreme self-awareness can be very uncomfortable, and can lead to over-concern with how others see us, and fear that our behaviour is at variance with that which is expected or approved by others.  A certain level of social anxiety is quite normal in some situations, and most people have experienced social anxiety at some time. It can be particularly painful, though, for those with low self-esteem.  

The feeling that others are evaluating us, or that they will, can lead to intense social anxiety and doubt regarding our acceptability and our abilities.  In its chronic state, preoccupation with self-awareness can lead the individual to become socially withdrawn.  Consequently, they may have fewer chances to engage in social skills, and become increasingly shy.

A number of contributory factors to social anxiety have been identified:

  • how conspicuous the person is
  • the number of people present
  • the familiarity of those present
  • the novelty of the situation
  • the perceived similarity of those present
  • the behaviour of those present.

For example, many of us will feel more anxious if we feel that we stand out in a group of strangers, or we are in an unfamiliar situation. 

Other factors can make individuals even more susceptible to these stressors. They can include:

  • faulty self-statements
  • faulty perceptions of others
  • lack of social skills.

The counsellor needs to discern whether a client’s extreme self-awareness is a result of one or all of these (which is most likely). Cognitive therapy that shifts the focus of the person’s attention onto those present can help to alleviate high levels of extreme self-awareness.  

The counsellor’s self-awareness is crucial for two main reasons: it frees the counsellor to focus on the client rather than (unconsciously or consciously) be influenced by his or her own needs and attitudes; and it allows the counsellor to monitor the effects of their behaviour on the client.

Counsellor self-awareness

One more reason that a counsellor should undertake counselling as part of counsellor training is to develop greater self-awareness. The counsellor’s perceptions of self will influence the counsellor’s behaviour, which in turn, will affect the client. 

A counsellor needs to develop a more realistic and accurate self-awareness, which includes recognising strengths and weaknesses, needs, and established patterns of thought and behaviour. Then, the counsellor can work on his or her own negative or unrealistic thought patterns, and change behaviour patterns. Once more, this work will clear away possible impediments and limitations in the counsellor’s thinking and prepare him or her to better understand what such work involves when dealing with clients. 

Also, counsellors need to try to see themselves as their clients might perceive them and to try and understand what impact this might have on their clients.


This is similar to self-awareness.  When self-monitoring it is essential to strike a balance:  too much can result in the individual losing track of themselves and too little can result in them appearing to be insensitive to the emotional needs of others. Low self-monitors only tend to feel the impact of their lack of self-awareness indirectly, whereas those that they relate to feel it directly.

A counsellor may encourage a high self-monitor to re-discover their goals and needs, and a low self-monitor to become more self-aware and hence socially flexible.

The counsellor should also self-monitor as part of his or her personal and professional growth. It is a part of the counsellor’s role to be aware of both the client and him or herself.  The counsellor needs to be able to switch attention between self and client whilst simultaneously processing information and applying it to theory.  Clearly this is very demanding and can result in ‘burnout’, a state of physical and psychological fatigue, if not managed properly.

The Counselling Skills II course looks at many different areas, including suicide.


You can start the course at any time.

It is studied by distance learning, so you can study in the comfort of your own home. But this doesn't mean you are all alone in your studies.  Our highly qualified and friendly tutors are there to help you every step of the way.  If you have any questions at all, they are always happy to help.

Each lesson includes set tasks, and is completed with an assignment which the student submits to their course tutor.  The tutor will mark the assignment and return this to the student with comments and suggestions for further reading.

Pre-requisite - We recommend that you have studied an introductory counselling or psychology course prior to studying this course, such as Introduction to Psychology or Counselling Skills I.  If you are not sure if you have suitable previous experience, then please get in touch with us and we can discuss this with you. 


"I have done several counselling courses in the past and the coaching course fitted in well with the learning experiences I had encountered previously. The reading material was detailed and interesting and the feedback was detailed and constructive.
Sarah, Life Coaching

 " The online courses are very easy to use and follow. Prompt friendly replies from tutor to any queries. Course structure flows freely. Very satisfied with course and results..."
- Diana (completed ACS Online course in Introduction To Psychology and Psychology And Counselling)


If you would like to improve your Counselling Skills -

  • This course has been developed to improve your counselling skills.
  • The course is useful to improve your job and career prospects and the ways in which you interact with others.
  • People use counselling skills in many different jobs and developing your skills is important to work with people.


If you have any questions about the course, please get in touch today - submit your questions to our Psychology And Counselling tutors.

Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

Tracey Jones (psychology)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.

Check out our eBooks

Grief and Crisis CounsellingA guide to understanding and helping people through difficult times
Family & Relationships CounsellingThe Family and Relationships Counselling ebook is an informative and helpful read for anyone who wants to improve their relationships or even help other people improve or nurture their own relationships.
Professional Practice for ConsultantsExplore becoming a consultant. This ebook contains chapters on how to be a consultant, packaging your services, delivering the services, building your resources, finding the work and getting the job, planning and ethics.
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