Inherent requirements for Graduate Diploma in Counselling


These inherent requirements apply to the following course: Graduate Diploma in Counselling (course code 1647).

Western Sydney University School of Social Sciences and Psychology (SSAP) strongly supports the right of all people to pursue a Graduate Diploma in Counselling course.

Introduction

Inherent requirements
Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course or unit that demonstrate the abilities, knowledge and skills to achieve the core learning outcomes of the course or unit, while preserving the academic integrity of the university's learning, assessment and accreditation processes. The inherent requirements are the abilities, knowledge and skills needed to complete the course that must be met by all students.

Students with a disability or chronic health condition may be able to have reasonable adjustments made to enable them to meet these requirements.

The School is committed to making reasonable adjustments to teaching and learning, assessment, clinical practice and other activities to enable students' to participate in their course. Reasonable adjustments must not fundamentally change the nature of the inherent requirement. Students are required to undertake activities which reflect the Australian health care context which may include mixed gender, religious and culturally diverse environments. For further information contact your Director of Academic Program.

Successfully completing the course enables you to apply for professional membership / registration with a state or national professional counselling association. Professional counselling associations use the term 'registration' to describe professional membership. However (as with social workers and counsellors) there is currently no national or state legal registration of counsellors in Australia, although the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) continues to lobby for such regulation.

To support potential and current students' decision making, a series of inherent requirement statements have been developed. These statements specify the course requirements of the Graduate Diploma in Counselling for student admission and progression. The statements are clustered under eight domains consisting of ethical behaviour, behavioural stability, legal, communication, cognition, relational skills, reflective skills and sustainable performance.

How to read the inherent requirement statements

If you are intending to enrol in the Graduate Diploma in Counselling course in the School of Social Sciences and Counselling (SSAP), you should look at these inherent requirement statements and think about whether you may experience challenges in meeting these requirements.

If you think you may experience challenges for any reason including a disability or chronic health condition, you should discuss your concerns with the SoNM staff, such as the Director of Academic Program, Academic Course Advisor or School Disability Coordinator or a Campus Disability Advisor. These staff can work collaboratively with you to determine reasonable adjustments to assist you to meet the inherent requirements. In the case where it is determined that Inherent Requirements cannot be met with reasonable adjustments, the University staff can provide guidance regarding other study options.

These inherent requirements should be read in conjunction with other course information and the codes, guidelines and policies of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA), the accrediting body for this course.

The inherent requirements are made up of the following five components and domains:

  • Level 1 - introduction to the inherent requirement
  • Level 2 - description of the inherent requirement
  • Level 3 - explanation of why this is an inherent requirement of the course
  • Level 4 - the nature of any adjustments that may be made to allow you to meet the requirement
  • Level 5 - examples of tasks that show you've met the requirement. These are examples only and not a comprehensive list

There are eight domains of inherent requirements in the Graduate Diploma in Counselling. Some domains have a number of sub-domains.

  • Ethical behaviour
  • Behavioural stability
  • Legal
  • Communication
  • Cognition
  • Relational skills
  • Reflective skills
  • Sustainable performance

Inherent requirement statements

Ethical behaviour


Inherent requirement statements
1 Counselling is a profession guided by the codes, guidelines and policies of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (opens in a new window) whereby Counsellors are deemed accountable and responsible for ensuring their professional behaviour in all contexts. Counsellors practising in NSW and South Australia are subject to a statutory Code of Conduct for health practitioners and there are plans to introduce a National Code of Conduct. Counsellors must adhere to these codes and should demonstrate knowledge of and engage in ethical behaviour in practice.
2 Student demonstrates knowledge of, and engages in ethical behaviour in practice.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» 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.

4 Adjustments must not compromise the codes, guidelines and policies of PACFA or result in unethical behaviour. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Complying with conduct required to maintain professional registration as a Counsellor
» Understanding and practising appropriate professional boundaries including confidentiality and duty of care in work with clients on placement

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Behavioural stability


Inherent requirement statements
1 Behavioural stability is required to function and adapt effectively and sensitively in this role.
2 Student demonstrates behavioural stability to work constructively in a diverse and changing academic and clinical environment, which may at times be challenging and unpredictable.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Behavioural stability is required to work individually and in teams in diverse and changing 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

4 Adjustments must support stable, effective and professional behaviour in both academic and clinical settings. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Being receptive and responding appropriately to constructive feedback
» Managing own emotional state in order to be able to develop and maintain an appropriate relationship with a diverse range of clients, professional colleagues and supervisors, academic staff and peers.

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Legal

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Communication

This course requires effective, verbal, non-verbal and written communication skills.

Verbal

Inherent requirement statements
1 Effective verbal communication, in English, is an essential requirement to provide safe and effective delivery of counselling and needs to be respectful, clear, attentive, empathic, honest and non-judgemental.
2

Student demonstrates:
» Sensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences
» The ability to listen, understand and respond to verbal communication accurately, appropriately, empathically and in a timely manner
» Consistent and appropriate awareness of own verbal communication style
» The ability to provide clear instructions and guidelines in the context of the situation
» Timely clear feedback and reporting

3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Communicating in a way that displays 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

4 Adjustments for verbal communication must address effectiveness, timeliness, clarity and accuracy issues to ensure safety and appropriate support. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Participating in tutorial and clinical discussions
» Engaging in verbal reflection with peers, tutors and clients.

Non-verbal

Inherent requirement statements
1 Effective non-verbal communication is fundamental to clinical counselling and needs to be respectful, clear, attentive, empathic, and non-judgemental.
2 Student demonstrates:
» The capacity to recognise, interpret and respond appropriately to behavioural cues
» Consistent and appropriate awareness of own behaviours
» Sensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» The ability to understand non-verbal cues assists with building rapport with people and gaining their trust and respect in academic and professional relationships
» Displaying consistent and appropriate facial expressions, eye contact, being mindful of space, time boundaries and body movements and gestures promotes trust in academic and professional relationships
» Being sensitive to individual and/or cultural differences displays respect and empathy to others , and develops trusting relationships
» The ability to understand non-verbal cues is essential for safe and effective observation of clients' symptoms and reactions as part of their assessment and treatment.

4 Adjustments must enable the recognition, interpretation and appropriate response to non-verbal cues as well as initiation of effective non-verbal communication in a timely and appropriate manner. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Recognising and responding to non-verbal cues indicating a change in the emotional state of a client during placements
» Recognising and responding to non-verbal cues in classroom situations

Written

Inherent requirement statements
1 Effective written communication, in English, is a fundamental counselling responsibility with professional and legal ramifications.
2 Student demonstrates capacity to construct coherent written communication appropriate to the circumstances.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Construction of written text based assessment tasks to reflect the required academic standards are necessary to convey knowledge and understanding of relevant subject matter for professional practice
» Accurate written communication for a range of purposes and audiences is vital to provide consistent and safe client care

4 Adjustments must not compromise the necessary standards of clarity, accuracy and accessibility to ensure effective recording and transmission of information in both academic and clinical settings. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Constructing an essay to required academic standards including appropriate referencing of sources
» Preparing clinical reports which are appropriate to the purpose and audience, and completed in a timely manner

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Cognition

This course requires knowledge of theory and the skills of cognition and literacy.

Knowledge and cognitive skills

Inherent requirement statements
1 Consistent knowledge and effective cognitive skills must be demonstrated to undertake safe and competent counselling practice.
2 Student demonstrates:
» The capacity to locate appropriate and relevant information
» The ability to process information relevant to practice
» The ability to integrate and implement knowledge in practice
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Safe and effective counselling practice is based on identifying and accurately extracting plus understanding information from a range of sources and applying this appropriately.

4 Adjustments must not compromise or impede student's ability to demonstrate the minimum acceptable level of knowledge and cognitive skill required to practise safely. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Ability to conceptualise and use appropriate knowledge in placement settings
» Ability to conduct individual and group sessions for clients based on relevant treatment plans

Literacy (language)

Inherent requirement statements
1 Competent literacy skills are essential to provide safe and effective counselling practice.
2 Student demonstrates:
» The ability to acquire information and accurately convey appropriate, effective messages
» The ability to read and comprehend a range of literature and information
» The capacity to understand and implement academic conventions to construct written text in a scholarly manner including making explicit links between practice and theory
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» The ability to acquire information and to accurately convey messages is fundamental to ensure safe and effective assessment, treatment and delivery of counselling practice
» The ability to read, decode, interpret and comprehend multiple sources of information is fundamental for safe and effective delivery of counselling practice

4 Adjustments must not compromise the student's ability to demonstrate the minimum acceptable capacity to effectively acquire, comprehend, apply and communicate accurate information and engage in written reflection. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Conveying a spoken message accurately and effectively during placements
» Paraphrasing, summarising and referencing in accordance with appropriate academic conventions
» Producing accurate, concise and clear documentation while on placement which meets legal and professional requirements

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Relational skills


Inherent requirement statements
1 Counselling practice requires the ability to use highly developed interpersonal skills and establish and maintain strong relationships with people.
2

Student demonstrates:
» The ability to establish and maintain rapport with clients, academic staff, supervisors and peers
» The ability to engage in effective and empathic counselling and group work
» The ability to engage and relate appropriately in individual and group clinical supervision and experiential learning groups

3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Highly developed relational skills are a cornerstone of effective 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 therapeutic relationship with clients

4 Adjustments must have the ability to demonstrate effective relational skills. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Building rapport with a client in order to engage them in effective counselling while on placement
» Effectively using relational and interpersonal skills to manage the therapeutic relationship with clients
» Relating effectively, openly and sensitively to academic staff, supervisors and peers

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Reflective skills


Inherent requirement statements
1 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.
2

Student demonstrates:
» The ability to accurately reflect on their counselling performance
» The ability to accept feedback on their counselling practice and respond constructively

3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Participation in supervision is a key teaching strategy in counselling training which requires well developed understanding of oneself in order to appropriately engage in this activity
» 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

4 Adjustments not compromise the student's ability to demonstrate an acceptable minimum level of capacity in this area. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Identifying when a clinical issue is outside one's scope or expertise, or when one's practice may be negatively affected by a counsellor's personal experience and/or reactions.
» Identifying how one's own relational style and behaviour may impede or enhance work with particular clients on placement
» Identifying and bringing difficult areas of one's clinical practice to supervision in order to reflexively improve therapeutic work with clients on placement
» The constructive use of one's own responses within the interpersonal counselling and supervisory relationships

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Sustainable performance


Inherent requirement statements
1 Counselling practice requires both physical and mental performance at a consistent and sustained level to meet individual and group needs.
2 Student demonstrates:
» Consistent and sustained level of physical energy to complete a specific task in a timely manner and over time
» The ability to perform repetitive activities with a level of concentration that ensures a capacity to focus on the activity until it is completed appropriately
» The capacity to maintain consistency and quality of performance throughout the designated period of time
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

» Sufficient physical and mental endurance is an essential requirement needed to perform multiple tasks in an assigned period to provide safe and effective support

4 Adjustments must ensure that performance is consistent and sustained over a required period. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Campus Disability Advisor.
5

Exemplars:

» Participating in tutorials and lectures
» Providing consistent placement practice over a negotiated time frame

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*Developed from: Johnson, A., Allan,T., Phillips,K., Azzopardi,T., Dickson,C., Goldsmith,M & Hengstberger-Sims, C. (2011). Inherent Requirements of Nursing Education (IRONE), Western Sydney University School of Nursing & Midwifery and Student Equity & Disability Services.


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