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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