Course Title: Apply specialist interpersonal and counselling interview skills

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2020

Course Code: HWSS6120C

Course Title: Apply specialist interpersonal and counselling interview skills

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: 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 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 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 2   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 3   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 4


In-class final assessment activities

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) 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:

Course Overview: Access Course Overview