Course Title: Casework, Counselling and Advocacy

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Casework, Counselling and Advocacy

Credit Points: 12


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


330H Social Science & Planning


Sem 2 2006


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 2 2007,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016,
Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019

Course Coordinator: Dr Susie Costello

Course Coordinator Phone: +613 9925 3234

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Building 8, Level 10

Course Coordinator Availability: Thursday 12-2

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

The course assumes knowledge in sociology, psychology or other fields of human study.  
Co-requisites within the same year: Critical Social Work and Ethical Legal and Organisational Contexts of Practice. These courses with Casework counselling and Advocacy are all pre-requisites for Field Education 1. 

Course Description

Casework, Counselling and Advocacy will prepare you for direct practice with people in a range of circumstances and organisational settings. You will consider how the personal and political contexts of people’s situations oppress or privilege people and critique their broader family, social, cultural, legal and psychological systems with a focus on gender, culture, class, age and other power dimensions. 

You will critique crisis and case management models and practise and receive feedback using strengths-based approaches to engage, plan and work to achieve goals with people. The course engages you in reflective practice, developing awareness of your own practice style, strengths and challenges.

The course will explore processes of advocacy and casework in building people’s inner resources and their social capital. You will discuss the contradictions and tensions that arise in working with people to achieve just outcomes. A pass in this course is required to qualify for your first field placement.


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

You will be assessed on your development of the following program learning outcomes in this course:

  • Apply specialist social work knowledge and skills to understanding and responding to contemporary social disadvantage, oppression and marginalisation, recognising the fundamentally political nature of social suffering
  • Apply advanced problem solving skills and techniques of intervention that bring together complex information transferable across different institutional and cultural contexts of practice incorporating innovative interventions to effectively meet the needs of individuals, families, groups and communities
  • Theorise and develop interventions that address the social structural and political levels through which poverty and inequality are generated and critically assess policies and programs developed to address disadvantage
  • Apply critical analytic problem solving skills to develop innovative and creative policy and practice responses to contemporary social problems and to promote the fundamental social, economic and cultural rights of individuals, families, groups and communities
  • Practice as an autonomous ethical and critical social work practitioner with a commitment to lifelong learning
  • Engage in practice which acknowledges the fundamentally multicultural nature of contemporary societies and acknowledges the unique position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, seeking to promote the rights of these groups.

At the end of this course you should be able to:

  1. Describe the purpose and function of human service organisations and social work roles in Australia and internationally
  2. Critically appraise case-management models of practice and their use in contemporary practice settings
  3. Engage clients professionally in casework, crisis, advocacy and case management processes, using strength-based approaches, and managing people who present with grief, anxiety, aggression or passivity.
  4. Analyse, name and address power dynamics, oppression and injustices in the psychological, systemic and gendered contexts of peoples’ lives.
  5. Critically reflect on your experiences of privilege and oppression, identifying your strengths and challenges in engaging people from diverse backgrounds, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.



Overview of Learning Activities

Weekly lectures, recorded on Blackboard, set readings and an online discussion board for questions will provide the background for weekly 2 hour tutorials. Tutorials provide opportunities to engage actively in experiential learning exercises via exploration of case material, self-reflection, role plays and discussions. Role plays will enhance your skills in client engagement, assessment, dealing with client aggression and conflict, grief and loss. You will take turns playing the social worker, client and observer and give feedback to your colleagues. You will be challenged to reflect on and debate different value positions, concepts and issues. 

Overview of Learning Resources

Suggested Texts 
Bob Pease, Sophie Goldingay, Norah Hosken and Sharlene-Nipperess Eds 2016 Doing Critical Social Work
Allan, J. Pease, B. & Briskman, L. (eds) (2009) Critical Social Work: Theories and practices for    a socially just world (Ed 2) Allen and Unwin, Crows Nest.
Elliott, B. Mulroney, L. and O’Neil (2000) Promoting Family Change: The Optimism Factor Allen and Unwin St Leonards.
Furlong, M. (2013) Building the Client’s Relational Base Policy Press Bristol
Healy, K (2000) Social Work Practices: Contemporary Perspectives on Change, Sage London.
Maidment, J. & Egan R. (2016) Practice Skills in Social Work & Welfare: More than just common sense Ed 3 Allen & Unwin St Leonards   
Morgan, A. (2000) What is Narrative Therapy? An Easy-to-Read Introduction, Dulwich Centre Publications  Adelaide.
Allan, J. Pease, B. and Briskman, L. (2009) Critical Social Work (Ed 2) Allen and Unwin, Frenchs Forest.Bob Pease, B., Goldingay, S., Hosken, N. and Nipperess, S. (Eds) (2016) Doing critical social work: transformative practices for social justice Arena Books, an imprint of Allen & Unwin Crows Nest

A list of recommended learning resources will be provided by your lecturer, including books, journal articles and web resources.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program capabilities. Assessment may include assessment reports, online learning tasks, in- class assessment, simulated interviews and essays. Assessment will cover both theoretical and practical aspects of your learning. Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

  • If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.
  • A student charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.
  • Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online:

The assessment tasks provide opportunities for you to demonstrate your development of knowledge and skills described in the course learning outcomes (CLO)s for this course. Assessment is based on three components: 

1. Review of Interpreter and first mock interviews (CLOs 1 and 3)   2500 words    40% 

2. Mock Interviews: practitioner assessed              (CLO 3)                                     20%

3. Case plan & critical reflection second Interview (CLO 2, 4, 5)       2500 words    40%