Professional Practice In Counselling

Course CodeBPS207
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Professional Development for Counsellors 

Whether you choose to work for yourself or propose to work for someone else, understanding yourself and your strengths and weaknesses is very important. So too is recognising the value of moral and ethical codes, multicultural awareness, the benefits of supervision, and knowing when to refer a client to another professional.

Study this course to learn appropriate practices and procedures in the counselling profession. This is achieved in part through developing awareness of your own beliefs, values and any issues you might have which could interfere with the counselling process. It also includes adhering to ethical and moral standards such as continuously striving to improve oneself, and recognising when it is necessary to refer a client on to someone else for their benefit.


What will I learn in the Course?

You will study -
  • counselling practice
  • the client counsellor relationship
  • effective counselling
  • confidentiality
  • ethics
  • informed consent
  • psychometric tests
  • record keeping
  • self awareness and self monitoring in the counselling process
  • healthy personalities
  • personality theories
  • quality supervision
  • effective supervision in the counselling situation
  • mental health conditions
  • counselling referrals and much more...

Lesson Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Understanding Counselling:
    • The client-counsellor relationship
    • Effective counselling
    • Counselling the counsellor
    • Counsellor’s values
    • Multicultural counselling
  2. Ethics & Confidentiality:
    • Needs
    • A code of ethics
    • Informed consent
    • Right to privacy
    • Legal requirements
    • Use of psychometric tests
    • Ethics and multiple relationships
    • Keeping records.
  3. Understanding the Self:
    • Self-awareness
    • Self-monitoring
    • Self-concept
    • Social Perception
    • Attribution theory
    • Implicit personality theory
    • Relationships
    • Social exchange
    • Love and intimacy.
  4. Personality:
    • What is a healthy personality?
    • Trait approach
    • Psychodynamic approach
    • Humanistic approach
    • Social learning and cognitive approaches.
  5. Emotions & Behaviour:
    • What are emotions?
    • Emotions and Counselling
    • Effect on communication
    • Aspects of emotions
    • Emotional expression and counselling.
  6. Supervision:
    • Why supervision?
    • Working with others
    • Quantity and effectiveness of supervision
    • Personal counselling
    • Dependency
    • Types of supervision.
  7. Referral Practice:
    • Counselling v mental health issues
    • Secondary care counsellors
    • Abnormal psychology
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Schizophrenia
    • Personality disorders

What You Will Do

  • Explain why a counsellor needs to be open to personal growth.
  • Discuss personal qualities that are beneficial to a counsellor.
  • Discuss how the counselling of a counsellor can be of benefit to their personal effectiveness’
  • Describe how a counsellor’s own values can impose on the counselling process’
  • Outline the importance of an ongoing education and an awareness of other cultures.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of other useful counselling qualities.
  • Discuss the importance of having a ‘code of ethics’ in counselling.
  • Describe what is meant by ‘informed consent’.
  • Discuss the extent to which the client has a ‘right to privacy’.
  • Understand when and how psychometric tests may be used.
  • Describe how to keep client records.
  • Discuss how the counsellor’s own sense of self-awareness can affect the counselling process.
  • Describe how self-perception can influence identity, roles and self-actualisation.
  • Define schemas, scripts, and attributions and their influence on social-perception.
  • Discuss the effect of attractiveness, closeness and similarity on relationships.
  • Discuss the effect of different levels of self-disclosure on the counselling relationship.
  • Describe symptoms of relationship breakdown.
  • Define a ‘healthy personality’.
  • Discuss the effect of nature and nurture on personality.
  • Describe the use of 2 different personality tests.
  • Compare and contrast 2 different approaches to personality and their application to the counselling process.
  • Discuss what is meant by emotions.
  • Describe the effect of emotions on communications.
  • Define different aspects of emotions including: physiology, cognition and behaviour.
  • Demonstrate ways in which emotional expression can affect the counselling process.
  • Discuss different methods of supervision of counsellors.
  • Describe how dependency can evolve in the counselling process.
  • Discuss the importance of upgrading skills and ongoing supervision.
  • Outline methods of observation used in supervision.
  • Discuss the counsellor’s responsibility to the client.
  • Explain what might be considered as abnormal.
  • Define symptoms of commonly encountered disorders

Sample Course Notes - How Should Counsellors Deal with Emotions

An understanding of the client’s emotional world will provide an understanding of that person and their experiences.  There are, of course, vast differences in the extent to which different people are aware of, make sense of and express their emotions.  Some clients are seemingly unable to articulate their feelings. A client’s emotions in the counselling situation will give the counsellor awareness that something is taking place and also will provide clues about the client.    

What are Emotions?

Emotions are a response to eliciting stimuli. The stimuli may be external (e.g. how we respond to a situation) or they may be in the form of memories or images. The trigger may be obvious but often emotional responses are triggered automatically with little conscious awareness.

Emotions are experienced in several ways:

  • Affectively – which refers to the feeling rather than the thinking aspect
  • Physiologically -  in the body’s response, e.g. sweating, trembling, a dry mouth, increased heart rate
  • Cognitively – as feeling responses to such cognitive factors as personal beliefs and value systems, past experiences and prior knowledge
  • Behaviourally – in the outward expression of our feelings, e.g. laughing when we feel happy, acting aggressively when we feel angry.

All of these components of emotion may be experienced by a particular individual in response to a particular stimulus.

Motivational influence

Emotions are generally experienced as being positive (e.g. contentment, happiness, enthusiasm) or negative (e.g. sadness, shame, anxiety, jealousy). Most clients who enter therapy do so because they are experiencing difficulties or disturbances in their emotions.  We generally want to act in ways that promote positive emotions and avoid or eliminate negative ones. Therefore, emotions motivate us to take action.  For example, if you feel frustrated or anxious in your job, you will try to bring about change to reduce those negative feelings.

The intensity of the emotion is also important.  The stronger the emotion, the stronger its motivational influence, and consequently the more likely we are to take action. It has also been observed (Lazarus, 1991a) that emotions seem to be related to personal goals or meaning.  An event that has little or no meaning to the individual will evoke little emotion. Too much or too little in the way of emotional intensity can cause problems for an individual.

Emotions have also been linked to survival and to our psychological health (Izard, 1990).   For these reasons it is important that we pay heed to them. They provide feedback as to what is happening within ourselves, with regard to deeper values and needs. Individuals who ignore their emotions can therefore be ignoring important aspects of themselves which may in turn lead to discontentment, unhappiness and alienation. Emotional suppression can also adversely affect mental and physical health. Chronic states of high emotional arousal that are not resolved can result in physiological damage.

The counsellor’s response to their client’s emotions also provides the counsellor with information about themselves. This process is part of ‘counter-transference’ and requires skilful interpretation.  Many training courses require the counsellor to undergo their own personal therapy or counselling, to understand this phenomenon more clearly.

Effect on communication

Emotions have an important role in communicating information about ourselves to others. We communicate our feelings through facial expressions and other expressive behaviours.  The emotions that we express will evoke certain emotions in others.  For example, an expression of sadness and grief may evoke empathy and helping behaviour in others (Izard, 1989). If we do not openly convey our emotions, others must guess our feelings. They may guess wrongly, or may even fail to notice.  The outcome can be that the individual feels misunderstood and unimportant.

Some people are at the other extreme.  That is, they are overly emphatic in the way they express their emotions. The recipient may feel confused and overwhelmed by such overly expressive behaviour. They may find it difficult to gauge how the other person really feels.

Influence on the Counselling Process

It is important that the therapist always denotes emotions as being something normal that happens to the individual rather than something to be afraid or ashamed of. However, speaking of emotions as something that happens to people, as though we cannot influence or change them, might only increase the client’s sense of helplessness before strong emotions. While the counsellor will encourage clients to acknowledge and accept their emotions as part of their experience, the client will also be encouraged to recognise the link between their affective experience, their thoughts and their behaviour, which then provides a basis on which the client can change and influence his or her emotions where such change is appropriate and desirable.

Since the mind, body and behaviour are all active ingredients of emotions, sometimes, asking questions such as ‘how does that make you feel?’ will not allow the client to express themselves adequately.  The various components of emotions in themselves should not be confused as being the emotions. It is how they relate to one another and how ultimately they relate to the subjective experience that we call emotion that is important.


Many counsellors see expression of emotion as an important part of the client’s therapy. The most beneficial area is the role of emotional expression in overcoming traumatic experiences. Research has show that suppression of memories that arouse strong emotions can have a ‘boomerang’ effect – the suppressed thoughts enter consciousness with an even greater force. It has been shown that trauma victims who disclose their painful memories, although initially distraught, are significantly happier and healthier, several weeks afterwards.  Disclosure may take several forms and even writing down an account of events has been shown to be beneficial, providing the account includes a reference to emotions.

Benefits of Studying This Course

This course is suitable for anyone currently working/training in the counselling industry or using counselling skills who wishes to improve their professional practice.

This course covers the type of background knowledge that all counsellors should possess.  It will be of most use to those with an interest in:

  • Counselling
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Social work
  • Nursing
  • Caring roles
  • Health professions
  • Teaching
  • Carers

Also -

  • Improve your knowledge of effective counselling with this 100 hour distance learning course.
  • Improve your professional practice in counselling over the course of seven lessons, with help from our highly experienced and well qualified tutors.
  • If you want to improve how you help people? If you want to improve your professional practice? If you want to be a better counsellor? 
  • Enrol now to start doing just that.


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