The Vocational Graduate Certificate in Counselling allows
you to acquire a coherent, systemic knowledge of a dedicated
field to engage in highly specialised counselling. You
will be able to initiate, plan and implement appropriate
interventions and demonstrate personal accountability
The Vocational Graduate Certificate in Counselling consists
of five units. Two units are core units and three units
are Specialty Units from your chosen Stream.
The Vocational Graduate Diploma of Counselling provides
you with a more advanced understanding of a dedicated
field to demonstrate an expert command
of a highly specialised counselling field. You
will be able to initiate, plan and implement major interventions
and engage in supervisory, leadership and/or management
capacities in human services work.
If you continue into the Vocational Graduate Diploma
from the Vocational Graduate Certificate, you only need
to complete 3 units in addition to your Vocational Graduate
Certificate units. These units consist of one extra core
unit and two units for the Specialty Stream completed
during your Vocational Graduate Certificate. There
is also one more practical component to be completed.
The Vocational Graduate Diploma of Counselling consists
of 8 units. There are 3 core units and 5 units from your
chosen Specialty Stream.
The first two core units are the same as those completed
for the Vocational Graduate Certificate.
Core Unit 1
The first core unit (VGD1A) covers managing
and facilitating collaborative counselling practice at
an advanced level. This unit equips you to work effectively
in a multi-disciplinary team or work environment. The
processes of coordinating service delivery are analysed,
and aspects of case management are examined including
the formulation of a collaborative case plan and
the evaluation of service delivery. A range
of applications across workplace settings are covered
including hospitals, community agencies, aged care
facilities, schools, government departments and private
Core Unit 2
The second core unit (VGD2A) focuses on analysing
and implementing ethical decision making in counselling
practice and guides you in identifying
complex dilemmas in practice, the issues involved
and where to refer to make an informed decision about
the best course of action. You learn how to
evaluate chosen solutions to complex ethical dilemmas
in line with principles of reflective practice.
After completing the two core units, you progress onto
the three units of your chosen Specialty Stream.
The Addictions Specialty Stream begins
by analysing theories of substance use, misuse
and addictions beyond the basic psychological
principles of addiction to an understanding of the
interplay between social, biological, psychological,
contextual and environmental factors in the aetiology
and maintenance of addictions.
The Stream continues onto learning a wide
ranging knowledge of drug classification including
pharmacological categories to obtain
an advanced knowledge of the effects and observable
symptoms for depressants, narcotics, stimulants and
hallucinogens. You then learn how to utilise this
knowledge to help prepare clients for detoxification
The third unit prepares you to use appropriate
assessment, treatment planning and referral strategies in
counselling practice. You’ll lead the
development of a comprehensive multidimensional assessment,
design and execute an appropriate and valid treatment
plan, and monitor and coordinate referrals. Working
with coerced or mandated clients is also covered.
The Family Therapy Specialty Stream
begins with applying theoretical
concepts in family therapy such as
analysing patterns of family communication, recognising
and addressing cases of triangulation, and applying
transactional analysis to explain family communication. Contributions
of leading family therapy theorists are evaluated,
and family structure and multigenerational patterns
are examined and explained.
The Stream progress onto developing and
applying narrative intervention initiatives in family
therapy including an analysis of principles
of Postmodernism, evaluation of dominant social and
cultural narratives on individuals and families,
and integrating narrative interventions into family
The third unit concentrates on employing
systemic practice techniques in Family Therapy. You
facilitate a variety of family interventions based
on the works of Bowen and Minuchin. Skills
include family assessment interviews, genograms,
family patterns and communication transactions, relationship
boundary marking and modification using a culturally-sensitive
GRIEF AND LOSS
The Grief and Loss Specialty Stream
begins with evaluating theoretical and conceptual
methods in loss and grief practice including
theories of bereavement, phases of grief, responses to
grief, adjustment and transition processes, coping strategies,
adaptive and complicated grief, and support options.
The Stream continues with applying therapeutic
clinical approaches to loss and grief. The
integration of the goals of loss and grief therapy
into a plan for effective intervention, managing
the expression of intense emotion, and assessing
and responding to patterns of complicated or dissonant
grieving are covered. This unit also includes
developing an awareness of your personal experiences
of loss and grief and how to effectively manage this
when counselling others.
The third unit covers facilitating group
support in loss and griefand includes
the initiation, development and design of a program
for loss and grief support, planning group membership
through appropriate assessment and selection procedures,
and coordinating, facilitating, reviewing and amending
a group support program.
Each Specialty Stream is supported by a practical component
which can be completed by attending a two-day seminar;
a private assessment; or submitting a video/DVD of your
practical skills demonstration.
Additional Core Unit
The additional core unit (VGD6A) integrates
reflective practice strategies into counselling. You
develop advanced skills in self-management and monitoring
to deliver counselling that is mindful and intentional. You
examine your personal values, beliefs and biases
in detail and their impact on the role of counsellor. Feedback,
revision, evaluation, self care, professional development
and supervision are explored during the unit.
The first three units of each Specialty Stream are the
same as those required for the respective stream in the
Vocational Graduate Certificate in Counselling.
The Addictions Specialty Stream continues
with a unit covering conducting advanced
behaviour change interventions and motivational interviewing to
explore ambivalence and assess client readiness to
of change are applied to case studies and strategies
to encourage and enhance motivation are applied across
all stages of the change model.
The final unit in the Stream concentrates on applying
harm reduction, crisis intervention and risk management
strategies as a framework for responding
to crisis and risk when working with clients with
addictions. You learn to assess the level and
immediacy of risk, implement and manage risk minimisation
procedures, initiate continuing support for clients,
and coordinate and facilitate staff debriefing.
The Family Therapy Specialty Stream
progresses into coordinating interventions
for children and adolescents, adopting
a collaborative approach to goal setting and intervention
planning appropriate to the client’s stage of
The final unit of this Stream applies risk
management and crisis intervention procedures in
the practice of family therapy. Responding
appropriately and efficiently to risk situations,
managing disclosures of abuse and/or violence, and
following up the effectiveness of crisis intervention
procedures are covered. There is also an emphasis
on supervision, debriefing and self care.
GRIEF AND LOSS
The Grief and Loss Specialty Stream
continues with a focus on planning and initiating
interventions in complicated or unresolved grief including
the assessment of complicated grieving patterns and
how they are different from expected responses to
analyse client symptoms to initiate interventions to
help clients recognise inhibiting factors in the grief
process and work towards their resolution.
The final unit of this Stream provides a framework to respond
to traumatic grief. Communicating
sensitively and compassionately with individuals
experiencing sudden, unexpected loss; assessing their
readiness for intervention; and designing, managing
and implementing traumatic grief interventions are
covered in this unit.
Each Stream at the Vocational Graduate Diploma level
is supported by two practical components. Each
practical can be completed by attending a two-day seminar;
a private assessment; or submitting a video/DVD.
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