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Copyright: 2012 Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors

Institute Inbrief - 14/10/2014


Welcome to Edition 212 of Institute Inbrief! When a friend is going through a hard time, we often think about how we can lend a hand and provide emotional support. But are we always aware of the reasons why we want to help? And what are the traps we can fall into during the process of providing emotional and psychological (or social) support?


In a two-part series (part 2 will be published in 2 weeks), we look closely at the process of helping others through social support, bringing to light some typical needs and motivations for supporting clients and loved ones, and exploring the common traps that may hinder the process.


Also in this edition:

  • Latest news and updates
  • Articles and CPD information
  • Social media review
  • Upcoming seminar dates

Enjoy your reading!





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Bachelor of Counselling


Become A Counsellor or Expand On Your Qualifications

With Australia’s Most Cost Effective & Flexible

Bachelor of Counselling


AIPC is Australia’s largest and longest established educator of Counsellors. Over the past 22-years we’ve helped over 55,000 people from 27 countries pursue their dream of becoming a professional Counsellor.


The Bachelor of Counselling is a careful blend of theory and practical application. Theory is learnt through user-friendly learning materials that have been carefully designed to make your studies as accessible and conducive to learning as possible.


You can gain up to a full year’s academic credit (and save up to $8,700.00 with RPL) with a Diploma qualification. And the program is government Fee Help approved. With Fee-Help you can learn now and pay later: the government will finance all or part of your tuition fees, which you only start to repay from $40 per week once your income exceeds $51,309.


Here are some facts about the course:

  • Study externally from anywhere in Australia, even overseas.
  • Residential Schools in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
  • Save up to $57,000 on your qualification.
  • Start with just 1 subject.
  • Online learning portal with access to all study materials, readings and video lectures.
  • No minimum HSC or OP results required to gain entry.
  • Learn in a friendly, small group environment.

You can learn more here:


Click here to see what students think of the program.



Bachelor of Psychological Science


Earn-While-You-Learn With Australia's

Best Value-for-Money & Flexible

Bachelor of Psychological Science


Psychology is one of the most versatile undergraduate courses, leading to many different career opportunities. And now there's a truly flexible way to get your qualification – with internal or external study options. It means working while you study is a realistic alternative.


Cost of living pressures and lifestyle choices are evolving the way we learn and Australian Institute of Psychology (AIP) is paving the way through flexible, innovative learning models:

  • Study externally from anywhere in Australia, even overseas.
  • Residential Schools in Melbourne*, Sydney* and Brisbane.
  • Save up to $35,800 on your qualification.
  • Get started with NO MONEY DOWN with FEE-HELP.
  • Start with just 1 subject.
  • Online learning portal with access to all study materials, readings and video lectures.
  • Accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC).
  • No minimum HSC or OP results required to gain entry.
  • Learn in a friendly, small group environment.

*Residential Schools in Melbourne and Sydney are available for CORE subjects only.


AIP is a registered Higher Education Provider with the Australian Government, delivering a three-year Bachelor of Psychological Science. The Bachelor of Psychological Science is accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC), the body that sets the standards of training for Psychology education in Australasia.


APAC accreditation requirements are uniform across all universities and providers in the country, meaning that Australian Institute of Psychology, whilst a private Higher Education Provider, is required to meet exactly the same high quality standards of training, education and support as any university provider in the country.


You can learn more here:



Diploma of Counselling


Imagine Being Passionate About Your Work

And Assisting People Every Day Lead Better Lives


It’s rare these days to hear people talk about their work with true passion. You hear so many stories of people working to pay the bills; putting up with imperfect situations; and compromising on their true desires.


That’s why it’s always so refreshing to hear regular stories from graduates living their dream to be a Counsellor. They’re always so full of energy, enthusiasm and passion. There’s no doubt that counselling is one of the most personally rewarding and enriching professions.


Just imagine someone comes to you for assistance. They’re emotionally paralysed by events in their life. They can’t even see a future for themselves. They can only focus on their pain and grief. The despair is so acute it pervades their entire life. Their relationship is breaking down and heading towards a divorce. They can’t focus on work and are getting in trouble with their boss. They feel they should be able to handle their problems alone, but know they can’t. It makes them feel helpless, worthless. Their self-esteem has never been lower. They’re caught in a cycle of destruction and pain.


Now imagine you have the knowledge and skills to help this person overcome their challenges. You assist to relieve their intense emotional pain. You give them hope for the future. You assist to rebuild their self-esteem and lead a satisfying, empowered life.


As a Counsellor you can experience these personal victories every day. And it’s truly enriching. There is nothing more fulfilling than helping another person overcome seemingly impossible obstacles.


You can learn more here:



Counselling and the Brain: Five Major Processes


The research in neuroscience is highly supportive of counselling’s emphasis on deep listening, empathic understanding, strength building, and wellness (Ivey, Ivey, Zalaquett, & Quirk, 2011). Counselling is shown to change the organisation of the brain: a learning process as the brain responds to stimuli and creates neural pathways to accommodate new information (Ivey, 2009). “Information” includes experiences, actions, thoughts, and cues: both those emanating from within ourselves and those from others and most especially including those stimuli arising within the therapeutic relationship. As John Ratey (2008, in Sullivan, 2012) said, “Experiences, thoughts, actions and emotions actually change the structure of our brains” (emphasis added).


In this article we’ll briefly overview five important processes that explain the impact of counselling on the brain structure. These are: Neuroplasticity, neurogenesis, the importance of attention and focus, understanding emotion and focusing on strengths and positives.


Click here to read the full article.



Caring for others: Why do we do it?


When a friend is going through a hard time, we often think about how we can lend a hand and provide emotional support. But are we always aware of the reasons why we want to help? Is it because we feel obliged? Or perhaps because we just want to help – to be there for someone who has been around for us when we needed?


We’d like to say, “It doesn’t matter what unresolved issues are hiding in your mind. As long as you mean well, you’ll be a smash hit!” We’d like to say that, but unfortunately it isn’t always true. “Where you’re coming from” makes all the difference in where you get to when lending emotional and psychological support to someone. This isn’t merely a theory. It is a universal observation about human behaviour. As human beings, we all have needs, and how we come into relationship with others to get those needs met determines much about the quality of the experience both they and we ultimately have.


In this 2-part article series, we’ll look at some typical motivations for providing emotional and psychological (or social) support to others, and identify common traps the “unwary helper” may fall into during the process – including narcissism, transference and countertransference, enmeshment, rescuing, co-dependency and burnout. In this edition we explore each need or motivation that a support person may have for helping, and alert you to the possible “hidden” motivation (often, hidden from even the helper) that may lie within the more obvious need.


You need to care for other people


You may be a natural counsellor-type. You may have the experience that, since your pre-teen years, people have come to you to unburden themselves of life’s problems. They may find in you a compassionate heart, a fabulous listener, and a genuinely non-judgmental friend.


Congratulations! Those are wonderful qualities you bring to the helping situation. What is also possible is that, from well before your pre-teen years, your family was teaching you how to be a helper, because the family dynamic required someone (and you were somehow “elected”) to stabilise the family system. And therein lies the problem of needing to care for other people. There is nothing wrong with being a natural carer. It is a special and valuable calling, but beware of rescuing (read part 2 of this series for more detailed information).


If caring for other people is not just something you like to do, but a compulsion, a “have-to-do”, ask yourself: are there people in your life whom you can turn to when you need help? Or is it all just one-way caring? If you just like to help out, but are well-connected with people who can reflect your helping attitude back to you, providing emotional support when you need it, then you don’t need to read the rest of this paragraph. We are not talking about you. But if your worth is dependent on you being able to help another, and you find you generally don’t get cared for much in return, you might want to read next edition’s section talk about balancing care for others with self-care.


You need to move on from old hurts


Some helpees naively believe that their helper will have perfect mental health, with all emotional wounds completely healed. That would be great. All too often, however, people are drawn to the fields of mental health helping not in spite of their own hurt places, but because of them. Like Chiron, the wounded healer, they are fascinated by how someone goes from “hurt” to “healed”, and they want it, badly. Such people may have genuine natural healer tendencies, but their unconscious motivation stems more from the desire to understand and heal their own pain, so they should beware of trying to heal through the helpees.


Sometimes a troubled individual may be studying to become a helper (e.g. counsellor), but will be less effective because of not realising social support work with others triggers more of their own deep pain: pain which they are unprepared to examine. If you suspect you are in this boat, take note of next edition’s sections relating to the personal development aspects of self-care.


You need to be needed


Most helpers probably have to own some of this motivation. For many helping professionals, the material returns are not great. But we continue to offer helping services, partly because of strong altruistic urges, and also because the feeling of being appreciated/needed/valued is such a top-level reward. Imagine. You are sitting there with Sarah, a newly disabled young woman to whom you have been giving emotional and career support, and she looks up at you with immense gratitude in her eyes and says, “You have helped me so much. I don’t know where I’d be without you!” There are few who wouldn’t find that to be a heart-melting moment. There is nothing wrong with being appreciated, but as helpers we must all beware of creating dependency in the helpee.


Helpees can, without realising it, become too dependent on the helper. It is one thing to give a hungry person a fish (and much of social support may be about that), but if we get too ambitious about continuing to secure fish, we end up only helping the helpee to forget how to fish for themselves. Sarah at some stage needs to work out for herself how to plan her next career moves, and comfort herself when things don’t go to plan. Apart from that, needing those continual “pats on the back” from others (including helpees) is not a rewarding way to live!


You like to make a difference


You may have seen helpers with this need. If this motivation applies to you, you gain much satisfaction from seeing that you are having a positive influence on people’s lives. Knowing that you are making an impact keeps you going. Having this need can serve you in mounting the necessary energy to begin and maintain a helping campaign, but do beware of disillusionment.


If the intended recipients of your care don’t respond or improve in the way that you hope, your disappointment may cause you to become impatient, or even question your purpose in helping. If this relates at all to you, don’t be discouraged. But do pay attention to next edition’s comments on how to create meaning in your life.


You need variety and want flexibility


The real world contains many cultures, issues, types of people calling out for help, and helping circumstances in which to work. If you genuinely desire to help, the possibilities for loaning your energy and skills are limitless. So, too, is the variety of ways in which you can gain meaning from your work. As a volunteer, for example, you can sometimes choose your hours – and also your disasters! Social intimate helpers may feel channelled into a particular type of helping routine, but even in this case, you can sometimes choose the services you give, and the ones you give away to others to do. You may still be able to choose how you organise your helping schedule. And you can always choose what this very personal work means to you: what purpose it meets in your helpee’s life, and in yours.


Otherwise, if you get stuck in an inflexible, unvarying routine, you may be vulnerable to meaningless, automatic helping. The risk with this is not managing boredom and lack of stimulation so that you go out of real relationship with your helpee and become a resentful helper, who would also be out of relationship with yourself. If you relate to this at all, don’t worry; there is a fix. Please see the section on burnout (next edition).


The need to give back


Maybe you acknowledge how much help others have given you in the past. Perhaps you have been positively influenced by a mentor, teacher, therapist, favourite aunt or uncle, or some other helper in your life. Now it is your turn to help; you want to do your share to make your community a better place. “Surely there is no problem associated with this very pure motivation?” you ask. And that is almost true. The desire to inspire and assist others just as one has been inspired and assisted, is a high-minded, generous aspiration. There is no intent here to make it wrong, but you might like to take note of idealising transference.


We’ll be exploring what transference is about in the next part of this series, but suffice to say, if you feel compelled to respond exactly as your role model Coach Jackman would have done, you may be serving your helpee adequately. After all, Coach Jackman had winning ways with his athletes. But remember: they were his ways; they are not yours. While imitation may be the highest form of flattery, it also can be limiting. By idealising and then imitating someone else in order to give back as they did, you are missing the opportunity to be in unique relationship with this person right in front of you: you being you, and the helpee being themselves.


Putting even a “great” person on a pedestal may keep you from developing your own individual brand of helping. And your helpee could miss out on unique contributions that you might have been able to offer, if you had been able to be yourself.


Reflecting: Needs and motivations


Reflect on the needs and motivations discussed above.  Which of these needs or motivations seem to be prominent for you? How do you know? Choose one of the needs to work with, and identify:

  • How does this unmet need of yours show up in your helping efforts?
  • How does it serve your helpee? How does it serve you?
  • What aspects of this motivation to help might be limiting: to your helpee? To you?
  • Do you have any sense of how or where this need might have originated in your life?
  • What steps, however small, might you take today to begin meeting this need for yourself, rather than attempting to have it met through your helping relationship?

Challenge yourself to go through this process with another identified motivation. Hint: If you cannot identify any needs or motivations at all, your task is to spend some time musing on why it may be difficult for you to connect with your needs.


In part 2 (next edition) we’ll identify common traps the “unwary helper” may fall into during the process of proving emotional and psychological support. The concepts we’ll be working with are narcissism, transference and countertransference, enmeshment, rescuing, co-dependency, and burnout.


This article series was adapted from AIPC’s “Mental Health Social Support” e-course. For more information, visit


Course information:


Diploma of Counselling

Bachelor of Counselling

Bachelor of Psychological Science

Vocational Graduate courses


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The Institute has a list of recommended textbooks and DVDs that can add great value to your learning journey - and the good news is that you can purchase them very easily. The AIPC bookstore will give you discounted prices, an easy ordering method and quality guarantee!


This fortnight's feature is...


Name: Putting together the pieces: Recovering & rebuilding life after trauma

Author: Francess Day


AIPC Price: $45.00 (RRP $56.25)

ISBN: 0-9580102-0-X


This is an important book which will greatly assist other victims of crime and trauma to confront their fears. It is written in a way that will give both moral and practical support to victims and their families.


To order this book, contact your Student Support Centre or the AIPC Head Office (1800 657 667).



A Case of Unresolved Grief


Jim had come to counselling to seek help with dealing with the sale of his late mother’s estate. He was experiencing a lot of anger with the issue and also with his brother, Frank, who was joint inheritor. Frank was facing bankruptcy and needed the proceeds of the sale of the family home to save his business.


Jim is 58 years old and inherited the family home five years ago on the death of his mother. It is a substantial property in a desirable waterfront location and the will stated that it would go to Jim as the elder son. However, in the event of Jim’s brother needing financial assistance, a clause in the will allowed for the home to be sold and the proceeds split 50/50 between the two brothers.


Jim understood that because of Frank’s financial problems the property would need to be sold to meet outstanding debts but felt very angry towards him. He said that he felt extremely angry whenever the issue of selling ‘Mother’s home’ arose but did not understand why, as he was a practical and logical person and the brothers had always been very close.


Click here to continue reading this article.



Sand Tray Therapy for the Intellectually Disabled


In the first half of the last century, British paediatrician and child psychiatrist Margaret Lowenfeld utilised sand and water in combination with small toys to help children express “the inexpressible” after reading H.G. Wells’ observation that his two sons would work out family problems playing on the floor with miniature figures (Zhou, 2009).


Lowenfeld added miniatures to the shelves of her therapy rooms, and the first child who came to use them took the figurines over to the sandbox, playing with them there. Thus, it was a child who “invented” what Lowenfeld came to call “The World Technique” (Zhou, 2009). In the 1950s, Jungian analyst Dora Kalff (Zhou, 2009) extended the use of the sand tray to adults, realising that the technique allowed not only the expression of fears and anger in children, but also processes of transcendence and individuation (in adults) which she had been studying with Jung. She called it “sandplay” (Zhou, 2009).


Click here to continue reading this article.


More articles:



Mental Health Academy – First to Knowledge in Mental Health


Get unlimited access to over 50 hours of CPD video workshops and over 100 specialist courses, for just $39/month or $349/year. Plus FREE and EXCLUSIVE access to the 10-hour Psychological First Aid program ($595.00 value).


We want you to experience unlimited, unrestricted access to the largest repository of professional development programs available anywhere in the country.


When you join our Premium Level membership, you’ll get all-inclusive access to over 50 hours of video workshops (presented by leading mental health experts) on-demand, 24/7.


You’ll also get access to over 100 specialist courses exploring a huge range of topics, including counselling interventions, communications skills, conflict, child development, mental health disorders, stress and trauma, relationships, ethics, reflective practice, plus much more. 


You’ll also get FREE and EXCLUSIVE access to the Psychological First Aid course ($595.00 value). The PFA course a high quality 10-hour program developed by Mental Health Academy in partnership with the Australian Institute of Psychology and the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors, and framed around the internationally accepted principals of the NCTSN Field Operations Guide.


Benefits of becoming a premium member:

  • FREE and exclusive PFA course ($595.00 value)
  • Over 100 specialist courses to choose from
  • Over 50 hours of video learning on-demand
  • CPD endorsed by leading industry associations
  • Videos presented by international experts
  • New programs released every month
  • Huge range of topics and modalities
  • Online, 24/7 access

Some upcoming programs:

  • Counselling the Gender-Diverse Client
  • Using CBT with Generalised Anxiety Disorder
  • Using CBT with Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Using CBT with Panic Disorder

Learn more and join today:



Have you visited Counselling Connection yet? There are over 650 interesting posts including case studies, profiles, success stories, videos and much more. Make sure you too get connected (and thank you for those who have already submitted comments and suggestions).


Introduction to Counseling: Voices from the Field


Introduction to Counseling – Voices from the field (8th edition) by Jeffrey Kottler and David Shepard is an introductory textbook for students beginning the journey to becoming a professional counsellor. Now in its eight edition, it is evident that this text has cemented its place in the realms of counsellor training programs.


The content is presented in an easy to follow format with a strong emphasis on personalising the learning experience. The authors highlight that the book was born out of an apparent lack of “personalibility” in academic textbooks. There was (and still is) a definite need to educate beginning counsellors in the relevant theories but also present them with insight into the personal experience of the profession. By allowing students a preview of the realities of counselling practice, the goal is to demystify the process and assist students in developing their own theoretical orientation and personal practice framework. Again the authors highlight the need to provide some understanding of what it actually means to be a counsellor – the day-to-day elements of counselling practice – rather than just an academic understanding.


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"To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity."


~ Douglas Adams

Many students of the Diploma of Counselling attend seminars to complete the practical requirements of their course. Seminars provide an ideal opportunity to network with other students and liaise with qualified counselling professionals in conjunction with completing compulsory coursework.
Not sure if you need to attend Seminars? Click here for information on Practical Assessments.
Below are upcoming seminars available for the remainder of 2014.
Click here to view all seminar dates online.
To register for a seminar, please contact your Student Support Centre.
BRISBANE (9.00am – 5.00pm)
The Counselling Process: 29-30/11
Communication Skills I: 18/10, 14/12
Communication Skills II: 15/11
Counselling Therapies I: 29-30/11
Counselling Therapies II: 08-09/11
Legal & Ethical Framework: 02/11
Family Therapy: 13/12
Case Management: 22-23/11
GOLD COAST (9.00am – 5.00pm)
The Counselling Process: 24-25/10, 05-06/12
Communication Skills I: 15/11
Communication Skills II: 12/12
Counselling Therapies II: 21-22/11
Legal & Ethical Framework: 28/11
Case Management: 17-18/10
SUNSHINE COAST (9.00am – 5.00pm)
Communication Skills I: 08/11
Communication Skills II: 09/11
Counselling Therapies I: 25-26/10
Family Therapy: 11/10
Case Management: 22/11
MELBOURNE (9.00am – 5.00pm)
The Counselling Process: 25-26/10, 15-16/11, 06-07/12
Communication Skills I: 22/11, 13/12
Communication Skills II: 23/11, 14/12
Counselling Therapies I: 18-19/10, 29-30/11
Counselling Therapies II: 25-26/10, 06-07/12
Legal & Ethical Framework: 01/11, 05/12
Family Therapy: 02/11, 12/12
Case Management: 08-09/11
DARWIN (9.00am – 5.00pm)
The Counselling Process: 18/10
Communication Skills I: 06/12
Communication Skills II: 06/12
Counselling Therapies I: 13/12
Legal & Ethical Framework: 29/11
Case Management: 15/11
ADELAIDE (9.00am – 5.00pm)
The Counselling Process: 18-19/10, 13-14/12
Communication Skills I: 08/11
Communication Skills II: 09/11
Counselling Therapies I: 22-23/11
Counselling Therapies II: 06-07/12
Legal & Ethical Framework: 15/11
Family Therapy: 16/11
Case Management: 29-30/11
SYDNEY (9.00am – 5.00pm)
The Counselling Process: 03-04/11, 27-28/11, 15-16/12
Communication Skills I: 06/11, 18/12
Communication Skills II: 07/11, 19/12
Counselling Therapies I: 11-12/12
Counselling Therapies II: 20-21/11
Legal & Ethical Framework: 03/12
Family Therapy: 04/12
Case Management: 05-06/12
LAUNCESTON (9.00am – 5.00pm)
The Counselling Process: 05/12
Communication Skills I: 21/11
Communication Skills II: 21/11
Counselling Therapies I: 31/10
Counselling Therapies II: 28/11
Legal & Ethical Framework: 07/11
Case Management: 12/12
HOBART (9.00am – 5.00pm)
The Counselling Process: 19/10
Communication Skills I: 07/12
Communication Skills II: 07/12
Counselling Therapies I: 14/12
Counselling Therapies II: 26/10
Legal & Ethical Framework: 30/11
Family Therapy: 09/11
PERTH (9.00am – 5.00pm)
The Counselling Process: 15-16/12
Communication Skills I: 22/11
Communication Skills II: 23/11
Counselling Therapies I: 06-07/12
Counselling Therapies II: 18-19/10, 13-14/12
Legal & Ethical Framework: 25/10
Family Therapy: 01/11
Case Management: 08-09/11
Important Note: Advertising of the dates above does not guarantee availability of places in the seminar. Please check availability with the respective Student Support Centre.
Course information:
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