Course Title: Apply specialist interpersonal and counselling interview skills

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2017

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
  • Analysis/critique of work
  • Industry speakers
  • Class exercises to review discussions/lectures

Out-of-class activities

  • Independent project based work
  • Online and other research
  • Independent study

Teaching Schedule


Please note: While your teacher will cover all the material in this schedule, the weekly order is subject to change depending on class needs and availability of speakers and resources.





Structured approach

  • 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
  • Client needs and expectations

Discuss ‘Person-centred practice’

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



Review last workshop: This covered how to establish the counselling relationship and set-up the first session.  Also, the micro-skills required for effective counselling (communication techniques)

In this session we will consider the following:

  • 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



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


Final assessment – in-class activity (group work)


Final assessment – in-class activity (group work)

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

RMIT will provide learning resources for this course.  Students are expected to use Blackboard to access learning resources and assessment material for this course.

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 Blackboard for details of each assessment task and for detailed assessment criteria. The dates noted below are provisional and may be subject to change.


Assessment Task 1: Role play activity (group work) & case study scenarios

Due date: In-class April 5/6 2017

Assessment Task 2: Case study scenario and written questions

Due date: April 30 2017

Assessment Task 3: Written response & Case study scenario with written questions

Due date: July 3 2017

Assessment Task 4: Case study scenarios and written questions & Role play activity

Due date: October 20 2017

Assessment Task 5: Role play simulated activity (group work) and written task.  

Due date: In-class November 8 & 9 2017


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 through Program Administration.

Other Information


Please refer to the RMIT student page for extensive information about study support, assessment, extensions, appeals and a range of other matters:

Cover Sheet for Submissions
You must complete a submission cover sheet for every piece of work submitted in hardcopy. For every piece of work submitted online you will complete an e-Declaration. The signed cover sheet or e-Declaration acknowledges that you are aware of the plagiarism implications.


Examples of other information that could be included in this section are listed below.  Please discuss with your Program Coordinator/Manager. Information needs to be consistent across the whole program.


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) – and the RMIT Student Conduct Regulations –;ID=r7a7an6qug93


Plagiarism Software

The originality verification software Turnitin may be used in this course. For details, see:


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.

Student Complaints Policy:

Student complaints Procedure:;ID=i1lexipvjt22

Student Complaints Form:


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