Basic Counselling Skills

How often have you wished you could really help someone in crisis, instead of offering well-meant, but ultimately useless advice? With a little basic training, you can learn to listen, provide support and offer real guidance to people in need.

Whether you apply the skills learnt in your home community, at work, through your church or simply within your social circle, you can offer a valuable, supportive service that makes a positive contribution towards helping individuals overcome emotional hardship and issues.

This course will equip you with the skills you need to help make a difference in people’s lives.

Who Should Attend

Being able to counsel effectively is a valuable life and business skill for anyone to have, especially:

  • Voluntary lay counsellors
  • Psychology students needing practical experience before entering a Masters programme
  • BPsych students doing an internship
  • Ministers and religious counsellors
  • Teachers & other educators
  • People asked for advice at work/ - hairdressers, beauty therapists etc.

This course is suitable for anyone - no previous counselling experience is necessary.

Course Content

Module 1

In the first module we look at fundamental concepts such as:

  • What Counselling is – contrary to what most people think, counselling is NOT about giving advice.
  • The role of a counsellor – which is NOT to tell people what to do.
  • Qualities of a good counsellor – based on sound research and all of which can be practiced.
  • A Basic Counselling Model.

Module 2

In the second session we look at:

  • The Counselling Room – how to set up the counselling room; privacy and confidentiality; and issues around when you should and shouldn't touch your client.
  • Non-verbal communication (Body Language) - We learn to read our client's body language – the message they are telling us without using words - and how to change our own body language to create a positive counselling atmosphere.

Module 3

  • Empathy & Sympathy - Counsellors need to have empathy, not sympathy, for their clients. Here we learn the difference between the two, and how to be empathic.
  • Acceptance – Counsellors need to have unconditional positive regard for their clients, so what does a counsellor do when the client confesses to doing terrible things? We look at how to manage this as a counsellor.

Module 4

  • Listening - Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. Counsellors need to listen to understand. We examine what to listen for – words, style of speaking, hidden meanings, omissions, silence (there are many different types of silence).

Module 5

  • Questioning - If used incorrectly, questions can hinder communication and cause the client to put up barriers. We look at common errors in questioning and examine what we should be doing to get the most from our clients.

Module 6

  • Reflection – When we reflect, we become a 'mirror', helping the client to see themselves and their feelings more clearly.

Module 7

  • Summarising - When we summarise, we restate the client's main thoughts and feelings, to help the client get a clearer picture of their own situation, and bring order into fragments of thoughts and feelings.
  • Terminating the Session – here we look at how to end each session, so that the client feels comfortable enough to for another session. We also look at how and when to end the counselling process as a whole.
  • Principles for Counselling – Things to keep in mind as a counsellor.

Module 8

  • Practical Role Plays – we role play a real issue from the beginning to the end of a session.

Format & Duration

The course is both theoretical and practical - participants will have many opportunities to try out and practice the new skills they learn.

Eight evening sessions: 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Course Pack

Your investment includes the following:

  • A full set of course notes
  • One free telephonic/Skype consultation (max. 30 mins)
  • Course certificate *


*This is not an accredited course, so does not constitute an academic qualification. Participants will receive a certificate acknowledging they have attended the course.

Past Audiences

  • Psychology students
  • Church and faith group counsellors
  • Other lay counsellors


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# Mandy Du Plessis - Third Year Psychology Student
"Do it!! It's invaluable to ANYONE in any course of life."
# Braden Van der Walt - Third Year Psychology Student
"They should do it even if they are not wanting to become a psychologist or counsellor as it gives you tools for everyday life and dealing and helping people with problems."
# Calvin Pienaar - Intern Registered Counsellor
"Do it! I'm doing my trauma counselling internship and this course heavily increased my confidence and I got to see how I could apply all the theory and also know that I am doing it right."
# Steven Edwards - Youth Counsellor
"It's worth it. Even if you aren't planning on doing counselling as such, the skills you will learn will help in all areas of life."
# Sean Lategan - Church Youth Counsellor
"Go for it! Invaluable. You won't regret it in the least!"
# Nicole Remini - Third Year Psychology Student
"A definite must!"
# Candice Simmons - Third Year Psychology Student
"Do it! Do it! Do it! Even if you are not interested in counselling, then do it for social improvement."
# Georgi Drummond - Third Year Psychology Student
"Absolutely valuable no matter one's profession. EQ Skills take one through life - boost all areas of life and this course equips you with valuable life skills."
# Craig Stephen - Third Year Psychology Student
"They should do this course simply bacause it clarifies true understanding in terms of what counselling is and how it should be done."
# Vasanthie Pillai - Attorney - Child Protection
"This course definitely helps with all areas of one's life - relationships, with family, colleagues and the world at large! I would strongly recommend it."
# Kurt Hulley - Third Year Psychology Student
"Take it, otherwise you will lose out big time!"
# Shanna Evans - Third Year Psychology Student
"Take the opportunity, so benefiting even in your own personal life."
# Tristain Kirk - Third Year Psychology Student
"DO IT!!"
# Michelle Smith - Psychology Honours Student
"Definitely definitely do it! It will improve even your social skills."
# Chanelle Strydom - Psychology Honours Student
"I would tell them to take this opportunity because it's beneficial in all areas of life not just in a counselling context."
# Jamie Johnston - Third Year Psychology Student
"I would highly recommend doing this course, as it is highly useful and builds confidence."
# Safia Sayed - Third Year Psychology Student
"To another person thinking of doing this course I'd say go for it! This is very helpful and vital for everyday life."
# Shelly Neilson - Psychology Honours Student
"I would tell them to go ahead and do it as the work may be familiar but the practical aspect is very valuable. I have been doing psychology for 4 years and I am an honours student and I still learnt so much."
# Francine Anthea Reddy - Psychology Student
"I would encourage someone to take this course."
# Nomusa Hlongwane - Third Year Psychology Student
"I would definitely encourage them to do it."
# Karusha Hurbans - Third Year Psychology Student
"That it is a valuable and enriching experience. There is a wealth of knowledge to be gained."
# Andrenna Naidoo - Third Year Psychology Student
"Go for it! It really will change the way you communicate and read people. Your social circle will develop tremendously."
# Serge Bega - Third Year Psychology Student
"You really should do it as the skills you learn you will use to better all your relationships in everyday life as well as in the counselling setting."
# - Third Year Psychology Student
"Do it. It helps in terms of understanding others. It taught me to have more empathy and be reserved with my judgments."
Justin Hoar
# Lee Fernandes - Lecturer & Counsellor
"I would highly recommend this course to others!"
# Mary-Ann Wanliss - Church Youth Counsellor
"Absolutely go for it!"
# Tafseera Ismail - Psychology Student
"I would recommend it to anyone that is interested in doing this course. I had a great experience and learnt so much."
# Sanushka Naidu - Psychology Student
"I encourage them to do it as I have learnt and grown a lot. It was enjoyable."
# Heeralall Sowamber - Hare Krishna Priest
"It's not a want, but definitely a need for anyone to attend this useful course."
# Ingrid Scott - Focus on the Family Employee
"I would encourage someone thinking of doing this course to make it their first priority."
# Prathna Lutchmee Kallichurum
"Don't think twice, do it."
# Radha Govindasamy - Focus on the Family Employee
"This is a brilliant course - it really improves us. It also changes our perspective to other people."
# Vaughn Williams - Lecturer
"It was great - they must attend."
# Nikita Maritz - Psychology Student
"Do it!! Do it now!!!"
# Ashleigh Waltham - Psychology Student
"I loved this course! It has taught me valuable life lessons!"
# Michaela Mulvey - Psychology Student
# Rowan Alberts - Student
"What you waiting for?"
# Shailen Singh - Counsellor & Trainer - Focus on the Family
"All professionals and varsity students must attend a basic counselling course that will develop them in all facets."
# Susanne Laabmayr - Third Year Psychology Student
"Not only is this course amazing - you learn way more than you imagine - but Claire is someone who as a person makes you feel absolutely comfortable and accepted for who you are!"
# Bronwyn Oliver - Third Year Psychology Student
"I would highly recommend this course because it has taught me so many life skills and has greatly improved my confidence."
# Thamini Naidoo - Third Year Psychology Student
"Do it! You will not believe how it will change your life! Amazing course!"
# Shanno Enoch - Counsellor - Focus on the Family
"Definately! [do this course]. For me it is not just for counsellors - I would recommend teachers, lawyers, doctors, managers, bosses etc to do this course. This course is about life."
# Zachary Hill - Third Year Psychology Student
"I would encourage them to take part in the course as I have personally found it to be incredibly beneficial and enjoyable. It was a phenomenal experience.
# Bianca Joiner - Third Year Psychology Student
"If you know nothing about counselling, after this course you will know everything. Always a laugh and never boring. Fantastic."
# Tafseera Ismail - Third Year Psychology Student
"I feel the entire course was done beautifully. Claire has done her best to see to it that we are taken care of in respect to understanding the work and leaving with something valuable."
# Mary-Ann Wanliss - Volunteer Youth Counsellor
"I found the lessons were exceptional, and not just a repeat of the notes.
Ideas and explanations were always good."
# Nicole Remini - Third Year Psychology Student
"Your counselling course has helped so much and it is amazing how much of it actually works in the real world!"
# Stephen Edwards - Youth Counsellor
"I thought your facilitation made this course. It's easy to present material, but keeping everyone's attention and drawing links to make it relevant is the difficult part - which you did very well. I really enjoyed the variety of ice-breakers and method of running each session. There was constancy, but enough difference / change to keep my / our attention."
# Jamie Johnston - Third Year Psychology Student
"I think that the whole course was set at a good pace and in a comfortable environment, I never felt pressured or uncomfortable. The lectures were helpful and Claire was a wonderful lecturer."
# Calvin Pienaar - BPsych Intern
"I felt you always stayed with us and allowed for plenty questions, which we all learnt from. I enjoyed your warmth in facilitating and I never felt intimidated, that you were a psychologist and I was a lay counsellor."
# Mandy Hagen - Psychology Student
"Completely encouraging without demanding.
Easy to talk to and great feedback.
I really enjoyed this as I felt no pressure to do anything I didn’t want to."
# Nicole Remini- Third Year Psychology Student
"Excellent, the worst is being lectured by someone who has no practical experience and can’t use any practical examples. Helps to be lectured by a professional!!"
# Bronwyn Oliver - Psychology Student
"Claire was a great teacher and made me feel comfortable in the classroom and not scared to just try, even if it might be wrong – we just kept on learning whilst enjoying it."
# Steven Edwards - Youth Counsellor
"I thought your facilitation made this course. It’s easy to present material, but keeping everyone’s attention and drawing links to make it relevant is the difficult part – which you did very well. I really enjoyed the variety of ice-breakers and method of running each session. There was constancy, but enough difference / change to keep my / our attention."


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