Course Title: Apply specialist interpersonal and counselling interview skills

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2019

Course Code: HWSS6120C

Course Title: Apply specialist interpersonal and counselling interview skills

School: 365T Global, Urban and Social Studies

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5360 - Diploma of Financial Counselling

Course Contact: Jo Wallwork

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 3983

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Nominal Hours: 60

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

This course describes the skills and knowledge required to support clients to identify and work through their concerns using advanced and specialised communication skills.

The counselling skills developed within this course will be considered in a financial counselling context.

This course is clustered with three (3) other courses:

  • Establish and confirm the counselling relationship CHCCSL001
  • Facilitate the counselling relationship and process CHCCSL003
  • Support counselling clients in decision-making processes CHCCSL007

These four courses are delivered and assessed together. 

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CHCCSL002 Apply specialist interpersonal and counselling interview skills


E1. Communicate effectively

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Identify communication barriers and use strategies to overcome these barriers in the client-counsellor relationship

1.2 Facilitate the client-counsellor relationship through selection and use of micro skills

1.3 Integrate the principles of effective communication into work practices

1.4 Observe and respond to non-verbal communication cues

1.5 Consider and respond to the impacts of different communication techniques on the client-counsellor relationship in the context of individual clients

1.6 Integrate case note taking with minimum distraction


E2. Use specialised counselling interviewing skills

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Select and use communication skills according to the sequence of a counselling interview

2.2 Identify points at which specialised counselling interviewing skills are appropriate for inclusion

2.3 Use specialised counselling communication techniques based on their impacts and potential to enhance client development and growth

2.4 Identify and respond appropriately to strong client emotional reactions


E3. Evaluate own communication

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Reflect on and evaluate own communication with clients

3.2 Recognise the effect of own values and beliefs on communication with clients

3.3 Identify and respond to the need for development of own skills and knowledge

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course you will have developed and applied the skills and knowledge required to demonstrate competency in the above elements. By applying these skills and this knowledge, you will be able to use specialised communication skills within a counselling process.  You will be able to use a structured approach to establish the counselling process; work with clients to clarify goals, options, and courses of action; and manage the counselling process to its conclusion.

Details of Learning Activities

In-class activities:  

  • teacher directed group activities/projects
  • peer teaching
  • group discussion
  • class exercises to review discussions/lectures
  • role play activities
Out-of-class activities:
  • independent project based work
  • online and other research
  • independent study

Teaching Schedule

workshop one  
  • Structured approach & ‘Person-centred practice’
  • information required before seeing client
  • Legal and ethical considerations for initial stages of counselling and how to apply these – codes of
  • conduct/duty of care/mandatory reporting/privacy-confidentiality-disclosure/work role
  • boundaries/practitioner-client boundaries/discrimination/human rights
  • Using the initial session to gather client information as a foundation for counselling process
  • Communication techniques to support the initial session’s objectives
  • The client's needs and expectations
  • Establishing the nature of the counselling relationship
  • Context: financial counselling – discuss: how does financial counselling sit within a counselling
  • framework? This is an essential point to keep coming back to.
  • To consider:
  • Explaining clearly the (financial) counselling process
  • How this fits with client’s expectations, needs and immediate concerns – clarify, confirm or modify
  • client’s expectations where needed
  • Addressing anxieties re counselling process
  • Identify when client’s issues are beyond scope of own role and report/refer where necessary
  • Working on a plan for counselling in collaboration with client
  • Making documented agreement with the client
  • Communication techniques
  • identifying communication barriers and developing strategies for overcoming these
  • Micro-skills – what these are and how to use them
  • non-verbal communication
  • impacts of different communication techniques on the client-counsellor relationship based on
  • context of individual clients
  • How to take notes unobtrusively
  • The sequence of a counselling interview
  • Identifying when specialised counselling interview skills are appropriate for inclusion, and when they
  • can
  • impact positively to enhance client development and growth
  • How to identify and respond appropriately to strong client emotional reactions
  • How to reflect on and evaluate how you have communicated with the client: why do this? how to do
  • this?
  • Identify when/how/what skills need developing
 workshop two

Micro-skills required for effective counselling (communication techniques)


  • Looking at:
  • Following the client’s story and staying with their perspective (so client can feel comfortable and
  • express themselves/their concerns freely)
  • What the client’s presenting concerns are – exploring these to see if there are possibly underlying
  • issues
  • How to identify and promptly deal with situations requiring immediate action – this is in a financial
  • counselling context, but will need to focus on crisis situations, family violence, abuse, etc.
  • Recognising indicators of client issues that require referrals or reporting
  • Working with client barriers – these could be uncertainty/ambivalence/anxiety
  • How to support clients to experience and process difficulties
  • Paying attention to the particular story of the client in regard to parallels, links in client’s experience and
  • meaningful interventions (related to client situation)
  • Strengths-based approach – what this is, how this can work in financial counselling context
  • Using techniques such as: reflecting back; clarification; review
  • Working with the client to look at underlying issues and collaboratively working on how to deal with
  • them
  • Acknowledging and working with changes in client’s life as appropriate
  • Monitoring and reviewing counselling process with client to ensure relevance, including how counsellor
  • and how client both perceive process and progress
  • How to address tension between client’s hopes/expectations and the reality of resource limitations
  • Facilitating change at a pace that the client can work with
  • How to bring the counselling process to a conclusion:
  • Identifying this point with the client
  • Looking at what can be changed, what can’t be, in client’s life/situation
  • Using boundaries of the counselling relationship to assist ending process
  • Support client’s autonomy during ending process
  • Work with the client to identify any opportunities for further support
  • How to deal with what seems unresolved
 workshop three 
  • Assisting clients to clarify goals and requirements
  • identifying and exploring client’s aims, requirements and ideas
  • Assisting client’s with goals – how to identify these, including requirements for these
  • How client-strengths contribute to goal setting/modifications
  • Identifying when client’s aims/requirements can’t be met and what to do (includes referrals to
  • alternative sources of guidance and support)
  • Review Communication techniques – micro-skills etc
  • Exploring options with clients – look at this in counselling context and financial counselling context
  • Working collaboratively with client in considering potential courses of action for meeting client’s
  • goals
  • Looking at factors that can influence a course of action
  • What are consequences of possible courses of action? How to work with client to identify these, and
  • how to ensure client understands these
  • Looking at possible courses of action – how to work with the client to look at possible advantages
  • and disadvantages and how this matches client’s requirements – Use financial counselling context
  • Case study activities
  • Working with the client to decide on course of action, and how to consider alternatives where
  • necessary.
  • Documenting decisions and agreeing ongoing support within organisational guidelines
 workshop four

In-class assessment activity: Role Play/observation

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

Your knowledge and understanding of course content is assessed through:

  • Practical demonstration of skills
  • Case study scenarios
  • Written assignments/questions

Assessment Tasks

This course is assessed in accordance with competency-based assessment.   To demonstrate competency in this course you will need to complete the following assessment tasks to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback from the teacher when you have completed the assessment tasks.   You should refer to the assessment plan which is available on Canvas for details of each assessment task and for detailed assessment criteria.   Assessment Task 1: Role Play (in class April) Assessment Task 2: Case studies and written questions Assessment Task 3: Case studies and written questions Assessment Task 4: Video submission counselling session Assessment Task 5: Case studies with questions Assessment Task 6: Role play/observation (in class October)   Grades that apply to courses that are delivered and assessed in accordance with competency-based assessment are: CA: Competency Achieved NYC: Not Yet Competent DNS: Did not Submit for Assessment

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant unit of competency. These matrices are available with the assessment tasks on Canvas.

Other Information

Please refer to the RMIT student page for extensive information about study support, assessment, extensions, appeals and a range of other matters:   Attendance   It is strongly advised that you attend all sessions in order to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring the maximum opportunity to gain the competency.   Applying for Special Consideration   If you are seeking an extension of more than seven calendar days (from the original due date) you must lodge an Application for Special Consideration form, preferably prior to, but no later than two working days after the official due date. Late applications will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances. For information about Special Consideration and how to apply, see: ( ( (   Assessment Appeals   If you believe your assessment result or final result is wrong please contact the course coordinator and provide the reason why you think your result is incorrect. Valid reasons for seeking a review of results include: 1. a) You believe an error has occurred in the calculation of the grade; or, 2. b) You believe the assessment did not comply with criteria published in the Course Guide; or, 3. c) You believe the assessment did not comply with University Policies on Assessment (i.e. an error in process has occurred). Full details of the procedure (including appeals procedure) can be located at this RMIT site: ( ( (   Academic Integrity   Academic integrity means honesty and responsibility in scholarship through respecting the work of others whilst having the freedom to build new insights, new knowledge and ideas. RMIT University upholds the values of academic integrity as fundamental to the scholarship undertaken by all members of its community. Whenever you refer to another person’s research or ideas (either by directly quoting or paraphrasing them) you must acknowledge your source. If you are even in doubt about how to properly cite a reference, consult your lecturer or the academic integrity website: ( ( ( The RMIT library provides tools to assist with your referencing ( ( (   Plagiarism and Collusion   Plagiarism and collusion constitute extremely serious academic misconduct, and are forms of cheating. You are reminded that cheating, whether by fabrication, falsification of data, or plagiarism, is an offence subject to University disciplinary procedures. Plagiarism is the presentation of the work, idea or creation of another person as though it is your own. It is a form of cheating and is a very serious academic offence that may lead to expulsion from the University. Plagiarised material can be drawn from, and presented in, written, graphic and visual form, including electronic data, and oral presentations. Plagiarism occurs when the origin of the material used is not appropriately cited. Plagiarism is not acceptable.   Examples of plagiarism include: Copying sentences or paragraphs word-for-word from one or more sources, whether published or unpublished, which could include but is not limited to books, journals, reports, theses, websites, conference papers, course notes, etc. without proper citation; Closely paraphrasing sentences, paragraphs, ideas or themes without proper citation; Piecing together text from one or more sources and adding only linking sentences; Copying or submitting whole or parts of computer files without acknowledging their source; Copying designs or works of art and submitting them as your original work; Copying a whole or any part of another student's work; and Submitting work as your own that someone else has done for you. Enabling Plagiarism: the act of assisting or allowing another person to plagiarise or to copy your own work is also an offence. For further information, please see the RMIT Plagiarism Policy –;ID=sg4yfqzod48g1 (unresolved) (;ID=sg4yfqzod48g1) (unresolved) (;ID=sg4yfqzod48g1) (unresolved) (;ID=sg4yfqzod48g1%29) (unresolved) – and the RMIT Student Conduct Regulations –;ID=r7a7an6qug93 (;ID=r7a7an6qug93) (;ID=r7a7an6qug93) (;ID=r7a7an6qug93%29) 12/21/2017 LAW5734C | ServiceNow ( 6/6   Complaints Procedure   RMIT University is committed to providing a harmonious study and work environment for all students and staff. The University recognises your right to raise concerns about academic, administrative or support services without recrimination and has policies and procedures to assist in the resolution of complaints. Most issues are resolved at the local level and you are encouraged to take steps to resolve your issue locally. The student complaint procedure details steps to take if your problem is not resolved or you believe the response you received is unreasonable. See this link on the RMIT webpage for further information: ( ( ( Working with Children Check – This course requires a Working with Children Check Police Check – This course requires a satisfactory Police Check Course Overview: Access Course Overview ( ( Course Overview: Access Course Overview (

Course Overview: Access Course Overview