Course Title: Support counselling clients in decision-making processes

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2020

Course Code: HWSS6121C

Course Title: Support counselling clients in decision-making processes

School: 375T Vocational Design and Social Context

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: 120

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 clarify their goals, explore options, and develop a course of action.

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
  • Apply specialist interpersonal and counselling interview skills CHCCSL002
  • 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:

CHCCSL007 Support counselling clients in decision-making processes


E1. Assist clients to clarify goals and requirements

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Explain clearly to clients the policy on record-keeping and confidentiality

1.2 Encourage clients to identify and explore their aims, requirements and ideas

1.3 Assist clients to identify practical goals and requirements for these, and discuss with clients how goals might be modified based on client strengths

1.4 Identify situations where aims and requirements of clients cannot be met, and make referrals to alternative sources of guidance and support


E2. Explore options with clients

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Identify collaboratively potential courses of action for meeting individual aims and requirements

2.2 Identify and explore factors which could influence the preference for, and ability to achieve, a course of action

2.3 Determine and explore features and likely consequences of possible courses of action

2.4 Check client’s understanding of what is likely to be involved in each possible course of action


E3. Support client to reach decisions

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Assist clients to assess possible advantages and disadvantages of each possible course of action, and their appropriateness for meeting client requirements

3.2 Encourage clients to decide on a course of action and to consider alternatives which could be used, if necessary

3.3 Document decisions and agreed ongoing support within organisation guidelines

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 (campus-based and online classroom) activities:

  • teacher directed group activities/projects
  • peer teaching
  • group discussion
  • class activities to review discussions/lectures
  • role play activities

Out-of-class activities:

  • independent project-based work online and other research
  • independent study

Teaching Schedule

Workshop 1 

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

Workshop 2

 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

Workshop 3

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 4

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)

Workshop 5

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

Workshop 6

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

Workshop 7 

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 8

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 

Workshop 9

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 10  In-class final assessment workshop

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/Video submission counselling session

Assessment Task 2: Case studies and written questions

Assessment Task 3: Case studies and written questions

Assessment Task 4: Role Play/Video submission counselling session

Assessment Task 5: Case studies with questions Assessment

Task 6: Role play/observation (in class)

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:


Course Overview: Access Course Overview