Bachelor of Counselling and Master of Counselling - Inherent Academic Requirements

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Bachelor of Counselling and Master of Counselling - Inherent Academic Requirements

Breadcrumbs

AR375 Bachelor of Counselling

AR708 Master of Counselling

Committed to equity and diversity

  • At USC, we are committed to facilitating the integration of all students into the University Community.
  • Reasonable adjustments in teaching and/or assessment methods can be made for students provided those adjustments do not compromise the inherent requirements of the program.
  • The inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Counselling and the Master of Counselling are the fundamental skills and abilities that the student must be able to achieve in order to demonstrate the essential learning outcomes of the Bachelor of Counselling and the Master of Counselling.
  • This Statement provides realistic information about the inherent academic requirements that you must meet in order to complete your course and graduate. Make sure you read and understand the requirements for the Bachelor of Counselling and the Master of Counselling, so you can make an informed judgement about your ability to fulfil them.

Externally accredited

USC offers the Bachelor of Counselling and the Master of Counselling which meets external Australian Counselling Association (ACA) and the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) accreditation requirements and provides graduates with the necessary qualification to be eligible for professional membership with either of the national professional counselling associations, and eventual registration as a counsellor.

Relevant standards and codes which inform the inherent academic requirements for these programs include the Australian Counselling Association Inc (ACA) Code of Ethics and Practice; the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) Code of Ethic which can be accessed at www.arcapregister.com.au

  • Key counselling practice skills are embedded and assessed throughout the Bachelor of Counselling and the Master of Counselling.
Skills you need

The Bachelor of Counselling and Master of Counselling have inherent academic requirements in five categories

  • Observational skills
  • Communication skills
  • Intellectual, such as conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities
  • Behavioural and social skills
  • Sustained Performance
Before you enrol

If you intend to enrol in a Bachelor of Counselling or the Master of Counselling at the University of the Sunshine Coast, look carefully at the inherent academic requirements listed in this statement and think about whether you might experience challenges in meeting them.

  •  If you think you might experience challenges related to your disability, health condition or for any other reason, you should discuss your concerns with a University Ability Adviser or School of Social Sciences staff.
Reasonable adjustments

Students with disabilities or other special circumstances may be provided with reasonable adjustment to enable them to meet the inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Counselling and the Master of Counselling if the adjustment is:

  • logistically reasonable
  • likely to result in the student being able to perform the skills adequately and in a timely manner.

INHERENT ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS

Observational Skills

The core observational requirements are capacity to demonstrate

  • receptiveness to information within the environment is a core requirement because students must demonstrate the required range of skills, tasks and assessments to maintain consistent, accurate and safe practice including professional care of self and others
  • examination and assessment of situations is a core requirement in ensuring safe, professional and effective counselling practice in the counselling placement context
Justification

These are inherent requirements of the Bachelor of Counselling and the Master of Counselling because observation is a skill that is utilised throughout the entire counselling interview and these programs provide eligibility for membership to the Australian Counselling Association (ACA) and the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) and for eventual registration as a Counsellor.

Adjustments

Adjustments must address the need to perform the full range of tasks involved in practice. Any strategies to address the effects of vision impairment must be effective, consistent and not compromise assessment or safety.

Exemplars

As a student you must

  • attend to non-verbal behaviour (eg observe body language, tone of voice and facial expressions) throughout the academic and counselling practice in the placement contexts
  • observe risk factors in relation to workplace health and safety to maintain consistent, accurate and safe professional care of self and others
  • be receptive to their environment, assess situations and respond appropriately
  • identify relevant aspects of a counselling practice situation.
Communication Skills

 Students must have the capacity to demonstrate:

  • Verbal communication skills
  • Non-verbal communication skills
  • Written communication skills
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills

VERBAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS

The capacity to demonstrate

  • effective verbal communication, in English, is essential to providing safe and effective delivery of counselling and needs to be respectful, clear, attentive, empathic, honest and non-judgemental and sensitive to individual and/or cultural differences
  • consistent and appropriate awareness of own verbal communication style and the ability to interact appropriately in different situations
Justification

These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Counselling and the Master of Counselling because communicating is a way to display respect and empathy to others and develops trusting relationships. Speed and accuracy of communication may be critical for individual safety or therapeutic intervention. Accurate and effective delivery of verbal instructions is critical to individual safety, support and management.

Adjustments

Adjustments for verbal communication must address effectiveness, timeliness, clarity and accuracy issues to ensure safety and appropriate support.

Exemplars

As a student you must 

  • speak confidently to peers and supervisors in academic and professional contexts.
  • listen, understand and respond to verbal communication accurately, appropriately, empathically and in a timely manner.
  • demonstrate consistent and appropriate awareness of own verbal communication style and the ability to provide clear instructions, guidelines, feedback and reporting in the context of the situation.

NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS

Effective non-verbal communication is fundamental to clinical counselling practice and needs to be respectful, clear, attentive, empathetic, non-judgemental and appropriate to the practice context.

Students will demonstrate:

  • the capacity to recognise, interpret and respond appropriately to behavioural cues
  • consistent and appropriate awareness of own behaviours and their impact on others.
Justification

These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Counselling and the Master of Counselling because

  • The ability to observe and understand non-verbal cues assists with building rapport with people and gaining their trust and respect in academic, professional and practice settings.
  • Displaying appropriate facial expressions, eye contact, being mindful of space, time boundaries and body movements and gestures promotes trust in academic, professional and practice settings.
  • Being sensitive to individual differences displays respect and empathy to others and develops trusting relationships that are essential for effective professional support.
Adjustments

Adjustments must enable the recognition, interpretation and appropriate response to nonverbal cues as well as initiation of effective non-verbal communication in a timely and appropriate manner.

Exemplars

As a student, you must:

  • Recognise and respond appropriately to non-verbal cues in classroom and assessment situations.
  • Recognise and respond appropriately to non-verbal cues in the placement environment.

WRITTEN COMMUNICATION SKILLS

English literacy is a fundamental counselling work requirement in Australia with professional and legal ramifications. Proficiency in other languages can also be highly valued in some practice settings.

Students will demonstrate:

  • Capacity to construct coherent, timely and professional written communication in English appropriate to the circumstance.
  • Read and comprehend a range of literature and information in English.
  • Capacity to construct coherent written communication appropriate to the circumstances.
  • Capacity to understand and implement academic and practice conventions to construct written text in an appropriate manner for the intended audience.
Justification

These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Counselling and the Master of Counselling because

  • Construction of written text-based assessment tasks in English to reflect the required academic standards is necessary to convey knowledge and understanding of relevant subject matter and for demonstrating counselling practice standards.
  • Accurate written communication, including record keeping, written reports and case notes is vital to provide consistent and accurate assessments and for demonstrating professional standards in the placement context.
  • The ability to read, decode, interpret and comprehend multiple sources of information is fundamental for safe and effective assessment, treatment and professional support in the counselling placement context.
Adjustments

Adjustments must allow students to meet necessary standards of clarity, accuracy and accessibility to ensure effective acquisition, recording, comprehension and transmission of information in both academic and placement settings.

Exemplars

As a student you must

  • Construct essays, reports and other written work that meet academic and professional standards.
  • Paraphrase, summarise and reference in accordance with appropriate academic, professional and/or organisational practice conventions.
  • Develop a written framework for counselling practice as an outcome of counselling placement.
  • Read and comprehend a range of literature and information in English.

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) SKILLS

The capacity to acquire and demonstrate sound working skills in applying information and communication technologies (ICT) to communicate via a range of ICT applications and systems in both academic and professional settings.

Justification

These are inherent requirements of the Bachelor of Counselling and Master of Counselling because competent ICT skills are essential to:

  • Successfully accessing, applying and communicating information to meet learning outcomes.
  • Preparing and completing assessment tasks, counselling placements and submitting assessment items online.
Adjustments

Adjustments must demonstrate a capacity to effectively use a range of ICT to apply and communicate accurate information. USC has in place a range of strategies and technology to support students with disabilities. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the University’s AccessAbility Service.

Exemplars

As a student you must:

  • Employ a range of ICT skills, such as internet searching and word processing, to complete written and audio-visual learning and assessment activities.
  • Use a range of software, applications and devices for academic, research and placement purposes, in face-to-face and online synchronous and asynchronous communication environments.
Behavioural and Social Skills

The capacity to demonstrate

  • Relational skills
  • Ethical behaviour
  • Behavioural stability
  • Legal compliance

RELATIONAL SKILLS

Counselling practice requires the ability to use highly developed interpersonal skills and establish and maintain cordial and enduring relationships with people.

Students will demonstrate:

  • Ability to establish and maintain rapport with clients, academic staff, supervisors and peers.
  • Ability to engage in effective and empathic counselling and group work.
  • Ability to engage and relate appropriately in individual and group clinical supervision and experiential learning groups
  • Ability to develop, articulate and maintain appropriate professional boundaries.
Justification

These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Counselling and Master of Counselling because highly developed relational skills are a cornerstone of effective counselling practice, including development of therapeutic relationships that permit effective engagement, assessment, intervention and closure. Highly developed relational skills are necessary to engage effectively in individual and group supervision of client work and experiential training activities that support the establishment and maintenance of an effective and appropriate counselling relationships with clients.

Adjustments

Adjustments must not compromise the student's ability to demonstrate an acceptable level of effective relational skills.

Exemplars

As a student you must

  • build rapport in a timely and appropriate manner with a client to engage them while on placement
  • demonstrate appropriate boundaries in professional relationships consistent with the practice setting and professional counselling standards
  • manage tensions and challenges in relationships with clients, individuals, groups and communities appropriately while on placement.

ETHICAL BEHAVIOUR

Students will demonstrate knowledge of, and engage in, ethical behaviour in practice. Counselling is a profession guided by the codes, guidelines and policies of the Australian professional associations, including the Australian Counselling Association Inc (ACA) Code of Ethics and Practice and the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) Code of Ethic which can be accessed at www.arcapregister.com.au. Counsellors are deemed accountable and responsible for ensuring their professional behaviour in all contexts. They must adhere to these codes and should demonstrate knowledge of and engage in ethical behaviour in practice within their course of study.

Justification

These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Counselling and Master of Counselling because compliance with the codes, guidelines and policies facilitates safe, competent interactions and relationships for students and/or the people with whom they engage. This supports the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of all.

Adjustments

Adjustments must not compromise the Program’s Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Code of Conduct or the guidelines and policies of PACFA and ACA or result in unethical behaviour.

Exemplars

As a student you must

  • demonstrate appropriate behaviour with confidential information in classroom and placement settings
  • reflect on ethical considerations and issues and take responsibility for ensuring own awareness of ethical behaviour
  • apply ethical principles and processes to decision making in counselling placement settings.

BEHAVIOURAL STABILITY

The capacity to demonstrate behavioural stability so as to work constructively in a diverse and changing academic and clinical environment, which may at times be challenging and unpredictable.

Justification

These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Counselling and Master of Counselling because Behavioural stability is required to work individually and in teams in diverse and changing professional environments. Students will be exposed to situations which are challenging and unpredictable and will be required to have the behavioural stability to manage these objectively and professionally and to function and adapt effectively and sensitively in the role of counsellor.

Adjustments

Adjustments must support stable, effective and professional behaviour in both academic and clinical settings.

Exemplars

As a student you must

  • Be aware of own emotional reactions and appropriately engage in supervision and support to maintain appropriate behaviour while undertaking activities, reflective of the counselling profession which may include mixed gender, religious and culturally diverse environments.

LEGAL COMPLIANCE

The capacity to demonstrate knowledge of, and compliance with the legal requirements laws governing child protection, mandatory notification of children and young people at risk, and criminal activity during their course of study and on counselling placements when students may need to use such knowledge for the benefit of client individuals, groups and communities.

Counselling practice is governed by legislation covering health professions that are not subject to state registration, to enable the safe delivery of care. Counselling practice is further governed by peer regulation through professional counselling and psychotherapy organisations.

Justification

These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Counselling and Master of Counselling because knowledge, understanding and compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements are necessary pre-requisites to placements in order to reduce the risk of harm to self and others and because these programs provide eligibility for membership to the ACA and PACFA, and for eventual registration to practice as a Counsellor.

Adjustments

Adjustments must be consistent with legal and regulatory requirements.

Exemplars

As a student you must

  • comply with relevant legislation including child protection and safety legislation
  • hold a valid Working with Children Check in certain placements
  • seek appropriate advice and supervision about the legal aspects of a practice situation when on a counselling placement
  • seek appropriate advice and supervision about the legal aspects of a practice situation when on a counselling placement.
Intellectual – Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities

The capacity to demonstrate

  • consistent knowledge and cognitive skills
  • reflective skills, including the ability to integrate a diversity of considerations.

CONSISTENT KNOWLEDGE AND EFFECTIVE COGNITIVE SKILLS

This is a core requirement of the Counselling programs because knowledge and effective cognitive skills are essential for identifying and responding to the needs of clients and to undertake safe and competent counselling practice.

Students will demonstrate:

  • capacity for independent critical thinking, creative thinking, problem solving, critical analysis, decision making, rational inquiry and self-directed learning
  • capacity to locate appropriate and relevant information and process information relevant to effective counselling practice
  • ability to integrate and implement knowledge in practice.
Justification

These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Counselling and the Master of Counselling because conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities are necessary for the students to be able to fulfil the required range of academic and practice tasks including providing safe and effective counselling practice which appreciates the various contexts and contributing factors to people’s situations and issues, and is based upon knowledge that the student must source, understand and apply appropriately. This includes the knowledge of clients and communities, as well as research and professional knowledge.

Adjustments

Adjustments must not compromise or impede student’s ability to demonstrate the minimum acceptable level of knowledge and cognitive skills required to practise safely.

Exemplars

As a student you must

  • locate, conceptualise, and use appropriate knowledge in response to academic assessment items.
  • build strong conceptual frameworks and apply knowledge of theories, models, concepts, legislation, policy and practice; in classroom discussions, group work, assessments and professional contexts.
  • appropriately apply knowledge of policy and procedures in the counselling placement.
  • identify, critically analyse and synthesise knowledge from various appropriate sources to inform assessment and the development of practice responses.

REFLECTIVE SKILLS

Counselling practice requires self-awareness and a capacity for reflection and reflexivity in order to consider the effect of one’s own issues, actions, values and behaviours on practice.

Students will demonstrate:

  • the ability to accurately reflect on their own values and life experiences, and how these influence their professional practice
  • the ability to identify and critically reflect on various contexts for the issues people face, including the social, cultural, legal and economic contexts of people’s situations and experiences, and the implications of these for practice
  • the ability to accept feedback on their professional practice and respond constructively.
Justification

These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Counselling and Master of Counselling because:

  • the ability to appreciate and reflect on the various contexts in which people experience difficulty is a core requirement for appropriate assessment and support
  • participation in supervision is a key teaching strategy in counselling education and this requires a well-developed understanding of oneself to facilitate ongoing learning
  • working with clients while on placement and understanding and responding to them requires well developed understanding of oneself and the ability to effectively manage one's reactions to situations that may arise.
Adjustments

Adjustments must not compromise the student's ability to demonstrate an acceptable minimum level of capacity in this area.

Exemplars

As a student you must

  • identify, critically reflect on relevant contexts which influence how people experience difficulty and, use this reflection to develop integrated responses to academic and placement challenges
  • demonstrate in assignments and placement the capacity to reflect on your own values and experiences and how these influence your practice
  • demonstrate an ability to appreciate and respond to complexity in counselling practice
  • identify when a practice issue is outside your scope of expertise or when one's practice may be negatively affected by personal experience and/or reactions.
Sustained Performance

Counselling practice in the placement context requires both physical and mental performance at a consistent and sustained level.

Students will demonstrate:

  • consistent and sustained level of physical energy to complete a specific task in a timely manner and over time
  • capability to perform repetitive activities with a level of concentration that ensures a capacity to focus on the activity until it is completed appropriately
  • capacity to maintain consistency and quality of performance throughout the designated period of time.
Justification

These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Counselling and Master of Counselling because sufficient physical and mental endurance is an essential requirement needed to perform multiple tasks in an assigned period to provide safe and effective support in counselling placement and professional contexts.

Adjustments

Adjustments must ensure that performance is consistent and sustained over a required period.

Exemplars

As a student you must

  • participate regularly in tutorials, lectures, workshops and skill development assessments
  • engage consistently in counselling placements over the required time frame
  • respond appropriately to academic set-backs through self-evaluation and when experiencing difficulties make this known to appropriate academic and University staff members and/or the placement supervisor.
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