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Diploma of Counselling


Counselling is recognised as one of the most personally enriching careers. As a counsellor, you’ll be doing what you love and have the security of knowing there are many opportunities for work and self-employment. There has never been a better time for you to become a counsellor.

AIPC is the largest provider of counselling courses in the country. We have specialised in counsellor training for over 30-years. We have proudly helped over 55,000 people from 27 countries pursue their personal and career interests in counselling.

Our Diploma of Counselling is a journey of self discovery, providing deep insight into why you think and behave as you do. And when you graduate, you will be extremely well prepared to pursue a career in counselling – employed or self-employed – enjoying our strong industry reputation and linkage.

Our Diploma of Counselling is accredited by the Australian Counselling Association, the peak national association of counsellors. This recognition provides substantial credibility to your qualification as you pursue your professional career.


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Icon-Course-Delivery Course Delivery

Online, Self-paced

Icon-Duration Duration

12 months (full time)

Icon-Units Structure

18 Units

You are able to gain entry to the Diploma of Counselling if you have:

  • Icon-Small-Tick Completed Year 12, or
  • Icon-Small-Tick Completed a Certificate III qualification, or
  • Icon-Small-Tick have at least 3 years of sufficient life experience (work or study), if over 21 years of age.

Our Diploma of Counselling is a nationally recognised qualification, as well as being industry accredited by the Australian Counselling Association (ACA). ACA is the leading industry body for Counsellors in Australia. Upon graduation, you automatically qualify for membership to the ACA.
  • Icon-Small-Tick Reduced Upfront (and enjoy a substantial discount).
  • Icon-Small-Tick Monthly Payment Plan (take advantage of our monthly payment plans over 21 or 24 months).
  • Icon-Small-Tick Pay via Credit Card or Direct Debit.

Our Student Support Centres are located in:

  • Icon-Small-Tick Brisbane
  • Icon-Small-Tick Sunshine Coast
  • Icon-Small-Tick Gold Coast & Northern Rivers
  • Icon-Small-Tick Sydney
  • Icon-Small-Tick Melbourne
  • Icon-Small-Tick Adelaide
  • Icon-Small-Tick Perth

Request a Course Guide

Please complete this form and we will respond within 24 working hours.

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Why study our Diploma of Counselling

Our Diploma of Counselling is a journey of self discovery, providing deep insight into why you think and behave as you do.

0 Career ready

When you graduate, you will be extremely well prepared to pursue a career in counselling – employed or self-employed – enjoying our strong industry reputation and linkage.

1 Extremely applicable

The Diploma is extremely applicable to people from all sorts of backgrounds. Whether you are seeking a fresh start in a rewarding profession; or want to acquire counselling skills as an adjunct to your core profession – such as teachers, nurses, ministers of religion, corrective services officers and administrators.

2 Counselling education specialists

We believe you're better off learning from a specialist than a generalist. Many training providers deliver courses across a variety of industries. At AIPC, we prefer to concentrate on counselling and community services education.

3 Flexible learning

With so many demands on our time it can be difficult to fit study in around other commitments, that's why our Diploma of Counselling has been designed to maximise your learning from home where you can progress through your studies at your own pace.

Course Outline


[CHCCSL001] Establish and confirm the counselling relationship #

The first unit of this diploma introduces you to the profession of counselling, its historical development as well as some of the major counselling theories and approaches which underpin it. You will also learn about a structured approach to establishing a counselling process and relationship as well as what are considered to be the key responsibilities of a counsellor.

[CHCCSL002] Apply specialist interpersonal and counselling interview skills #

This unit introduces you to a range of counselling skills and knowledge that will help you communicate effectively with clients in a counselling setting. Specifically, you will learn about microskills that will help you understand and establish rapport with clients, and specialist counselling skills for facilitating positive client outcomes.

[CHCCSL007] Support counselling clients in decision-making processes #

Counsellors often support clients to clarify their goals, explore options and develop a course of action. This unit introduces you to some key models and practices of decision-making commonly applied within the counselling process. You will also learn about some practice considerations for assisting clients in the decision-making process.

[CHCCSL004] Research and apply personality and development theories #

This unit provides an introduction to key theories of human development that can be used to support a counsellor’s understanding of their clients’ needs and circumstances. You will also learn how to build and maintain updated knowledge of emerging theoretical trends.

[CHCCSL005] Research and apply learning theories in counselling #

In this unit, you will learn about learning theories and their application in counselling practice. Particularly, you will learn how to develop a behaviour change program to facilitate behavioural changes in clients, as well as critical research skills that will support you in developing an evidence-based practice.

[CHCCSL006] Select and use counselling therapies

This unit provides an introduction to the main counselling theories that will be expanded upon in the following units. Specifically, you will learn about the key concepts and principles of working from a person-centred approach.

[CHCCSL006] Select and use counselling therapies #

This unit introduces you to the key concepts and techniques of cognitive behavioural therapy. You will learn how to apply this approach in order to address client issues and facilitate change within counselling practice.

[CHCCSL006] Select and use counselling therapies #

Unit 8 introduces a solution focused approach as a goal-oriented and future-focused therapy that is widely used in counselling practice. In this unit, you will learn about the key concepts, techniques and processes of solution focused therapy, and how to apply them to facilitate change.

[CHCCSL006] Select and use counselling therapies #

This unit provides a brief overview of acceptance and commitment therapy and its application within counselling practice. You will be introduced to the key concepts, techniques and key considerations involved in applying ACT within counselling practice.

[CHCCSL003] Facilitate the counselling relationship and process #

This unit focuses on essential skills and knowledge for counsellors to support clients throughout the counselling process. This includes working collaboratively with clients to explore concerns, implement interventions, review effectiveness of counselling, and conclude the counselling process.

[CHCCCS014] Provide brief interventions #

In this unit, you will learn about the key theoretical underpinnings of brief interventions and how to implement this to facilitate client changes. Specifically, you will learn to provide appropriate support to clients at different stages of change.

[CHCCCS017] Provide loss and grief support #

This unit specifically explores the issues of grief and loss and how counsellors can support clients through this process. You will learn some key theories and skills that will help you to understand and respond appropriately to clients experiencing grief and loss.

[CHCCSM005] Develop, facilitate and review all aspects of case management
[CHCCCS015] Provide individualised support #

This unit introduces you to various aspects involved in case management work and the role of a counsellor within a case management team. Specifically, you will learn how to use individualised counselling plans to support a client’s progress within a broader case management framework.

[CHCMHS001] Work with people with mental health #

This unit focuses on how to work respectfully with clients experiencing mental health concerns. You will learn about the key principles and practices in working collaboratively with a client, their support network, and other service providers, in order to best meet their needs.

[CHCLEG001] Work legally and ethically

This unit explores the legal and ethical frameworks in which counsellors are required to work within. You will learn how to fulfil specific legal and ethical responsibilities as well as how to address common legal and ethical issues within counselling practice.

[CHCCCS019] Recognise and respond to crisis situations #

This unit focuses on working effectively with clients at risk or in crisis. Particularly, you will learn how to identify, address and respond to various crisis situations, and facilitate referrals where appropriate. You will also learn about the importance of self-care and supervision in crisis support work.

[CHCDIV001] Work with diverse people
[CHCDIV002] Promote Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Island cultural safety

In this unit, you will be guided to reflect upon gender, culture, ethnicity, subcultures, sexuality and ability, and how they are each to be valued and respected within our community and a counselling context. You will also learn to communicate effectively and respectfully with people from diverse backgrounds and situations, including people who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders. This unit also explores the concept of cultural safety from the perspective of counselling service provision and development of community services programs.

[CHCPRP003] Reflect on and improve own professional practice

The final unit focuses on the importance of engaging in a reflective practice and professional development. Specifically, you will learn to reflect on and evaluate your professional practice, partake in supervision processes, and plan for ongoing professional development to support a sustainable practice framework.

# These units require practical demonstration of skills.

The Diploma of Counselling is supported by a number of optional Advanced Study Majors. Advanced Study Majors allow you to study and gain advanced knowledge and skill in the specialised counselling area of your choice.

You can complement your Diploma of Counselling with as many Advanced Study Majors as you wish.

Advanced Study Majors are specifically designed to provide you with a higher level of practical and theoretical knowledge in a specialised field of counselling. They are online self-study programs that you can complete at your own pace.

AIPC offers 10 Specialised Majors, select a topic to learn more:

Unfortunately, in today's society there is an increasing need for counsellor support for individuals and families who are victims of different forms of abuse. The Abuse Counselling Advanced Study Major provides a comprehensive insight into the subject of abuse and teaches the counsellor to deal with sensitive Abuse issues in a professional and practical manner.

Topics covered in this Advanced Study Major include:
  • Defining different types of abuse and exploring the societal myths about abuse and abuse survivors
  • Exploring partner abuse and domestic violence along with common intervention methods and programs
  • The ethical and legal challenges and stresses of the role of abuse counsellor and how to address these challenges
  • How to develop a trusting relationship with clients who have been abused
  • Therapeutic techniques and approaches are explored
  • Recognising when to refer clients who have suffered abuse to another professional, and
  • Working with perpetrators of abuse.
The Relationship Counselling and Conflict Resolution Advanced Study Major presents you with a thorough exploration of the complexities of human relationships in such a way that appropriate counselling solutions can be directly related to relationship problems. The Major includes popular therapeutic approaches and counselling techniques, along with application to current significant relationship trends to give this Major a contemporary, hands-on and solution orientated approach.

Topics covered in this Advanced Study Major include:
  • the dynamics of interpersonal relationships, and recognising indications and contraindications for relationship counselling
  • types of problems presented at relationship counselling
  • the differences between men and women's styles of communication
  • key principles for effective work with couples and ways of solving relationship problems
  • the process of relationship counselling including understanding client needs and concerns, applying the CUDSAIR Seven Step Model for Solving Relationship Problems and effectively terminating sessions with couples; divorce counselling and mediation
  • exploring the dynamics of same-sex relationships and guidelines for appropriate counselling practice
  • and professional and ethical challenges of being a Relationship Counsellor.
The Introduction to Expressive Therapies Advanced Study Major presents you with an introduction to an exciting and growing area of contemporary counselling – expressive therapies. Expressive therapies are approaches that incorporate creative processes (e.g., art, drama, movement, music, writing, play, etc.) into the counselling process.

Topics included in this Advanced Study Major include:
  • The rise and evolution of expressive therapies
  • The efficacy of expressive therapies
  • Key approaches to expressive therapy and expressive therapeutic techniques (such as art therapy, music therapy, play therapy, sand tray therapy, etc.)
  • How expressive therapies can be used effectively with a different client groups
  • How expressive therapies can be used effectively with different client issues
The Grief and Loss Counselling Major is a very popular course that provides you with the knowledge and skills necessary for counselling clients who have experienced a significant loss and grief. All types of losses are considered along with the subsequent grief that occurs. The issues that accompany the loss of health, a loved one or a job must be confronted by all of us at some time or another.

Topics covered in this Advanced Study Major include:
  • the types of loss that can result in a grief reaction
  • exploring reactions to loss and grief within the definitions of 'normal' and 'complicated' grieving; the similarities and differences between men and women's grieving behaviour
  • key models to explain responses to a significant loss
  • principles for assessment and intervention in working with people who experience loss and grief
  • practical application of skills in working with grief and loss clients, including self-evaluation
  • identifying and arranging effective referral for clients to another professional
  • and challenges and stresses in the role of Grief and Loss Counsellor.
Parents perform one of society's most important functions - they raise the next generation. Unfortunately, however, we are rarely taught the skills required for effective parenting. The Child Development and Effective Parenting Major is based upon behavioural principles which when applied are highly effective in bringing about positive and healthy behaviours for both the parent and the child. The program includes an easy to follow, step-by-step approach to effective parenting which can be readily applied or taught to parents by the counsellor.

Topics covered in this Advanced Study Major include:
  • what behaviours to expect from children at different stages and ages
  • effective methods for communicating with children
  • resolving conflict between parents and children
  • helping children to understand and deal with their feelings
  • anger management in children
  • the role of self, etc.
The Mindfulness-Based Therapies Advanced Study Major explores the key concepts of mindfulness as well as the central theories and techniques of a number of mindfulness-based therapeutic approaches.

Topics included in this Advanced Study Major include:
  • The history of mindfulness and how mindfulness was first integrated into counselling practice
  • The efficacy of mindfulness-based therapies
  • The application of key mindfulness-based approaches (e.g., ACT, DBT, mindfulness-based CBT, etc.)
  • How mindfulness-based approaches and techniques can be used effectively with different client issues (e.g., anxiety, depression, stress, problem behaviours, etc.)
  • How counsellors can use mindfulness to enhance their own practice.
The Counselling Clients with Addictions Advanced Study Major brings together theoretical analysis and a wide scope of information on drug classification. This combination allows you to build a solid foundation in counselling clients with addictions through identifying drugs (including alcohol) and their effects physically, psychologically and emotionally.

Topics covered in this Advanced Study Major include:
  • Synthesise knowledge of biological, psychological and social considerations in the formulation of a theory of addiction
  • Determine the significance of contextual factors in the development and maintenance of addiction
  • Differentiate between drug categories by analysing the defining effects and symptoms
  • Classify psychoactive drugs
  • Utilise knowledge of psychoactive drug classification and effects to help prepare clients for the potential impact of detoxification/ withdrawal.
The Family Therapy Advanced Study Major is specifically targeted to students who want to be able to shift their counselling focus to dealing with families effectively by applying family therapy concepts. Family therapy was brought together as a therapeutic framework by leading theorists that have driven this approach and its role in counselling today. Communication patterns between family members are identified and evaluated in terms of family structures and roles.

Topics covered in this Advanced Study Major include:
  • The contributions of leading family theorists
  • The family structure and multigenerational patterns
  • Communication transactions in families
  • The fundamental tenants of Postmodernism
  • The influence of dominant social and cultural narratives on individuals and families
  • Narrative principles in the practice of family therapy
  • The use of narrative interventions in family therapy processes
  • The use of the narrative techniques in practice
It is essential for counsellors and other helping professions to have an understanding of the history and context of colonisation and how it relates to social and emotional wellbeing and mental health issues experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in contemporary Australia. Topics covered in this Advanced Study Major include:
  • An introduction to the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia
  • Exploring the issues of dispossession, displacement, removal, and control over Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • Understanding issues and influences on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing
  • An overview of frameworks and practices to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients
  • Learning how to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, families and communities
  • Healing approaches including the Red Dust Healing Program and the Marumali Journey of Healing
  • How to use respectful language and participatory processes when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
Having children and adolescents as your client brings with it a range of unique rewards and challenges. Their cognitive, emotional, and physical development can occur at a rapid pace, all whilst trying to make sense of the world. This can lead them to be extremely vulnerable. Your counselling space needs to be able be appealing and you need to have a large repertoire of skills and activities to keep your clients engaged. Topics covered in this Advanced Study Major include:
  • Understand the main developmental theories and frameworks
  • Learn how to quickly develop trust and rapport with young clients
  • Work effectively with other stakeholders of your client
  • Work with young people with mental health issues or at risk of suicide
  • Learn how trauma, abuse and neglect impacts children and teenagers

* Please note that whilst Advanced Study Majors are highly relevant to specialty areas in counselling practise, they do not form a part of the accredited curriculum.

Our Diploma of Counselling is the most competitively priced counselling qualification available in Australia.

We have a payment method to suit every student. If you decide to pay for your course upfront you will enjoy a substantial discount. If you would prefer to spread out your payments, you can take advantage of our monthly payment plans.

To further assist make training as accessible as possible, we separate payment for tuition (theory elements) from that of the practical course elements. Payment for the practical elements is done as they are undertaken. See full details below.

We always strive to keep counselling education as affordable as possible, opening up quality education for everyone.

Reduced Upfront Payment
Monthly Payments**

Diploma of Counselling

x 21 months

+1 Advanced Study Major (+1 Free ASM)

x 24 months

+2 Advanced Study Major (+2 Free ASM)

x 24 months

+3 Advanced Study Major (+3 Free ASM)

x 24 months

+4 Advanced Study Major (+4 Free ASM)

x 24 months

+5 Advanced Study Major (+5 Free ASM)

x 24 months

*Total upfront course cost is $6,470, which includes tuition of $4,790, plus 12 practical sessions each of $140. The practical elements are paid for as they are undertaken. They can be completed either on-campus (via eight 1-day and two 2-day workshops), online (via Zoom/Skype), by uploading a video demonstration, or by having a private assessor assess your skills.

**Monthly payments can be made by Credit Card or Direct Debit.

For over 30-years AIPC has set the benchmark for service and support in external counselling studies. We are the only counselling educator to offer a complete external study support system that has been developed and refined over decades of research and continual student feedback.

As a student you have unlimited access to the Institute’s Toll Free 1300 Study Assistance Line. Our Degree-qualified Education Advisers are available 9am and 5pm EST Monday to Friday to provide you with friendly academic support. Their focus is to support you throughout your studies so you can graduate in the time frame you set. This includes answering questions on assignment topics, personal coaching on assignment writing, and giving hints and tips on specific concepts. The Study Assistance Line is there whenever you feel you need a bit of extra guidance.

The structure of the Diploma of Counselling ensures you graduate with sufficient practical skill so you can apply your counselling knowledge with confidence. The course includes a number of practical components that cover a range of topics including Communication, Counselling and Interview Skills, The Counselling Process and Practical Application of Counselling Therapies.

Because we have students all across Australia, and indeed the world, we provide a variety of flexible options to enable timely and effective completion of the practical components. Regular seminars give you the opportunity to apply the theory you have learned in contemporary counselling scenarios. They are also a great opportunity to get together with fellow students and participate in casework sessions under the guidance of a qualified Lecturer. Seminars are held regularly in most capital cities throughout Australia.

Students who may not be able to attend seminars for whatever reason, can elect to complete the practical components through alternate means, such as a one-on-one or small group session with a private assessor. We have private assessors in numerous regional areas across Australia.

Students can also complete their practical components by recording their demonstration of skills and uploading to us. We have guidelines available to assist students compile their recordings and develop effective role plays to demonstrate their skills.

Optional tutorials are a support service that is available at most Student Support Centres. Tutorials provide you with support on each written subject. They are conducted as a two-hour mini-lecture and will assist you in understanding theory, provide you with tips on how to structure your study timetable, help you successfully compile your assignments and give you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

If you are unable to attend a tutorial, you can always call our friendly Education Advisers on the national Toll Free Study Assistance Line and have your questions answered over the phone – or just email your Tutor.

The Institute website is an extremely helpful study resource. Via the website you can access the My.AIPC Student Portal which is your link to numerous study support and e-learning functions. You can:

  • Download electronic versions of your workbooks,
  • Complete your activities and upload for marking,
  • Contact an Online Education Adviser for study assistance,
  • Access the Knowledge Base, a massive database of the most commonly asked academic questions, categorised for particular subjects, activities and concepts,
  • See when seminars are available in your area,
  • Plus much more.

The Institute has developed a comprehensive range of resources to help you expand your knowledge and practical skills throughout your studies and beyond. 

As a student you receive a complimentary subscription to The Professional Therapist magazine. The Professional Therapist is a quality industry publication full of practical case studies and counselling scenarios to hone your skills and broaden your knowledge. 

The Institute also has a large reference list of books and resources for students who wish to broaden their reading. This list covers the areas of Counselling, Psychology, Sociology and Behavioural Science. 

Capitalising on the accessibility of the internet, the Institute has developed two websites to complement your studies. The Institute's Articles site at is an online facility where you can browse numerous articles on a variety of counselling topics. And Counselling Connection, the Institute's official blog, at, assists you with access the latest information about counselling and what's happening in the industry. 

There are also numerous ways to connect to the Institute through social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Google Communities.

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Please complete this form and we will respond within 24 working hours.