AIPC News Header



Editor: Sandra Poletto

AIPC appreciates your feedback. Please email with any comments, suggestions or editorial input for future editions of Institute Inbrief.

Support Centres

Brisbane, TAS & NT
1800 353 643
1800 677 697
1800 622 489
1800 246 324
1800 246 381
Regional NSW
& Gold Coast

1800 625 329
Regional QLD
1800 359 565

1800 246 381
New Zealand
+64 9919 4512


If you are not already on the mailing list for Institute Inbrief, please subscribe here.


AIPC Diploma of Counselling
AIPC  Bachelor of Counselling
AIPC Diploma of Community Services
AIPC Diploma of Youth Work
AIPC Master of Counselling
Mental Health Academy


Facebook Google+ Twitter YouTube

No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission. Opinions of contributors and advertisers are not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher makes no representation or warranty that information contained in articles or advertisements is accurate, nor accepts liability or responsibility for any action arising out of information contained in this e-newsletter.

Copyright: 2012 Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors

Institute Inbrief - 11/01/2017


Welcome to Edition 262 of Institute Inbrief and to 2017! We all communicate – even when we are in silence. But how much do you know about communication? In this edition we look at five fundamental principles of human communication, and note what the practical (skills) implications are for you.
Also in this edition:
  • Balance and Stress Management
  • The Neurobiology of Trauma
  • Book Review: Masterminds and Wingmen
  • Social Media Updates & Much More!
Enjoy your reading!
Join our community:
Bachelor and Master of Counselling
Semester 1, 2017 intake – closing soon
Have you started thinking about study in 2017?
Our Semester 1, 2017 intake is now open for the Bachelor of Counselling and Master of Counselling.
Places are strictly limited, so please express your interest early.
The programs are all government Fee-Help approved, so you can Learn Now and Pay Later.
Some unique features of the programs include:
  • [Master] Receive up to 6-months credit for prior Counselling studies
  • [Bachelor] Affordable, high quality tertiary education
  • Study externally from anywhere in Australia, even overseas
  • Residential Schools in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth*
  • Start with just 1 subject
  • Online learning portal with all study materials, readings and video lectures
  • Live in Sydney? Attend regular classes at our Parramatta campus*
*New students in Bachelor of Counselling only
You can learn more about the programs here:
Bachelor of Counselling:
Applications will exceed available places, so we urge you to submit your obligation free expression of interest now.
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:
Other courses:
AIPC’s Community Services Courses – helping you help your community!
We’ve helped people from all sorts of backgrounds become counsellors, and now we can assist you in fulfilling your goal of working within the Community Services sector! From 2017, AIPC is delivering the following two new courses:
Diploma of Community Services (Case Management) – learn more
Diploma of Youth Work – learn more
There has never been a better time for you to become involved and invested in the Community Services industries. It is predicted, between the years of 2015 to 2019, that employment within the Health Care and Social Assistance industries will increase by 18.7% (, 2015).
By gaining a qualification in Community Services (Case Management) or Youth Work, you will be contributing to an industry that serves a very important purpose: to assist those with personal or relationship challenges. There is nothing more fulfilling than helping others overcome seemingly impossible obstacles. And there’s no better time to do that than now!
To learn more about these programs, visit
Basic Principles of Communication
We’ve been doing it since the first humanoids appeared on the planet, so by now – hundreds of thousands of years into our existence – we have some basic notions about what governs our communication. We understand that our human interactions are purposeful, not random. We observe that we make choices, that there is usually room for another meaning from what we intend (so communication is ambiguous), that any communication has both a content and a relational dimension, that power is usually involved, and that it is inevitable, irreversible, and unrepeatable. Let’s look at those in turn, and also note what the practical (skills) implications are for you.
Communication is purposeful
From the baby’s early cries to get food or comfort, we make utterances with a purpose: in fact, a variety of purposes. The most commonly acknowledged motivations are that we communicate in order to:
  • Relate: forming relationships with significant others, interacting with the people of our lives in order to get our needs met
  • Learn: gaining knowledge of ourselves, others, and the world around us
  • Play: enjoying the moment in all its richness; relaxing; experiencing whatever is happening
  • Help: offering advice, solutions, or assistance to those who may need it
  • Influence: changing the attitudes or behaviours of others or strengthening our position
What this means for skills development
Once we become more conscious about what our purposes are, we can guide both our verbal and our nonverbal messages with greater accuracy. We can also tune in better to the purposes behind others’ communications. There is a note here on gender differences; men seem to communicate more for information and women more for relational purposes (Helgeson, 2012).
Communication means making choices
Every time you are about to open your mouth to speak, put your fingers to the keyboard, or take a pen in hand, you are poised to make a choice. Whether you are conscious of it or not, every communication involves choices such as whether or not – and how – you communicate with someone, what you say (or don’t!), how you say it, and the context in which you deliver your message. Not surprisingly, becoming a skilled communicator means having more choices available, and being more aware of what those choices are. It also means choosing more wisely (Glynlyon, 2011).
You can think of each potential interaction as a problem to be resolved. Thought of in that way, you would first work out what your communicational purpose or goal is (meaning: what do you want to accomplish with what you say?). You would then generate a few solutions. For example if the “problem” is that you need to ask the boss for extra leave, your probable purpose/goal is something around influencing: persuading the boss to let you have the time off. Some possible solutions would be to explain why you need the time (say, your partner is having a baby, or your sister is having surgery?) or perhaps you would just submit an application for leave still owed you. You would analyse the pros and cons of each way of approaching the boss, and finally you would communicate your best choice. Later you may reflect on how appropriately you chose, but the point is that always and forever, you as an effective communicator are aware that you are choosing.
What this means for skills development
As competent communicators, we don’t have to say the first thing that pops into our head; we can consciously direct our communications according to well-reasoned choices. The point for learning is to gain the consciousness.
Communication is ambiguous
When something can be interpreted in more than one way, we say that it is ambiguous (from the word root “ambi-“, meaning both). Language usually involves both content and relationship (more on that in a moment), so we can have both language ambiguity and relational ambiguity in our communications. The former occurs more when we use words that are especially imprecise, such as “soon”, “right away”, or even such words as “pretty” or “useful”. Members of different cultures are especially prone to interpreting general words differently from one another, even if they are both speaking the “same” language. A number of years ago, the Glimpses magazine published in then-Palau (now Republic of Belau, a Micronesian island in the Pacific Ocean) noted that Pacific Time was so slow that the word “tomorrow” lacked “the precision and promptness that ‘manana’ [“tomorrow”] has in Mexico” (Glimpses, ca 1981). Imagine that!
Relational ambiguity occurs when we contemplate what we may say – or not say – to someone with whom we are in relationship, when we note that we may describe the relationship differently to how our partner describes it, and how we may see the future of the relationship differently. For example, let’s say you work at a business that is downsizing; there will be numerous redundancies. You are told that you will “almost certainly” still have a job, but when an email goes out inviting people to re-apply for their jobs post-downsizing, you are not included on the list of those invited to apply. How do you interpret that? Even without communicating in language, the company is communicating through its silence or what it avoids.
Ultimately, all messages and all relationships have some ambiguity; good communication is about reducing this as much as possible (Glynlyon, 2011).
What this means for skills development
We can strive to use terms which are as clear and specific as possible. We can ask if we are being understood, and we can paraphrase complex ideas of others to check that we understand. When someone seems to be avoiding communication, we can explicitly ask about content that is missing.
Communication has both content and relationship dimensions
Communications exist on two levels: a content level, which refers to something external to the speaker and the listener, and a relational level, which is about the relationship between the two people. Most people who have gone to counselling are aware of this distinction. They may have had the experience, for example, of earnestly relating something from their lives to the counsellor (content) only to be asked what they believe that means for their therapeutic alliance (relationship) (Glynlyon, Inc., 2011).
What often happens is a disagreement about whether something is occurring on a content or a relational level, or perhaps a failure to distinguish between the two. When a friend of Mary and Bruce Anderson’s was sick in hospital, they agreed that they would go purchase flowers and then visit her. Bruce stopped off after work and purchased a beautiful bouquet, which – astonishingly to him – Mary was quite upset to see; she had wanted to be involved in selecting the flowers and had thought that that is what they agreed to. To Bruce, the informal agreement was a content transaction; it was agreed that flowers would be purchased and presented to the friend at the hospital. To Mary, on the other hand, it was now a relational issue: that Bruce had purchased the flowers (which they had said they would buy together) without consulting with her. Bruce, by buying the flowers by himself, was defining the action of flower-buying – and their relationship – differently.
What this means for skills development
The more we can distinguish between content and relationship messages – dealing with relationship issues as relationship issues – the more we are likely to succeed in our interactions.
Communication has a power dimension
How powerful are you? Your ability to influence or control the behaviours of another person is your power; it influences the way you communicate, and in return, the way you communicate influences the power you wield. You may have legitimate power, by virtue of your position (think: judge, police officer, manager). You may have referent power, when others want to be like you (not just celebrities here; even your younger sister may want to be like you). You have reward power when you control the material or social rewards that others want (i.e., money, promotion, love, or respect). Coercive power is when you have the ability to administer punishments or remove rewards from people who do not do what you want (for example: parents and teachers). Expert power comes from being seen as having specialised or special knowledge (e.g., doctors and judges). Finally, you have information power (a.k.a. “persuasion power”) when others see you as having the ability to communicate logically and persuasively. Researchers and scientists often have this (Glynlyon, Inc., 2011). Power is not static, as it can go up and down. Think about these. Which types of power do you have more of?
What this means for skills development
Because power levels can change, you can establish your power through effective, ethical verbal and non-verbal communication.
Communication is inevitable, irreversible, and unrepeatable
Anyone who has ever posted something on social media which they later regretted knows about this principle. Messages are continually being sent, they cannot be uncommunicated, and they are always one-off occurrences (because the second or subsequent times you may make an utterance, other things have changed). Inevitability arises from the fact that in interactional situations, communication is usually taking place even when someone does not want or intend to communicate (this in itself communicates something). Let’s take, for example, an attractive woman walking past a construction site. Some of the workers on the roof see her and make catcalls. How does she respond, or does she? She may smile and wave, tell them to stop it, or merely hurry on by, not overtly responding. But even this last behaviour is still, indirectly, communicating a response.
Irreversibility happens the minute you click “send” on the email, drop the letter into the mailbox, or utter the words. You can say, “I didn’t really mean what I said”. You can – as politicians often do – try to reduce or negate the effects of a message, but once it has been made, it cannot be taken back. Sometimes, efforts to “clarify” just cause us to dig ourselves in deeper! Note that, increasingly, material from emails, social media, and other places on our hard drives are being used in court proceedings. Managers and administrators have been able to retrieve messages the senders thought were private or had been erased and were not. Incredibly, only 55 percent of teenagers in a recent survey said that they do not post content which might reflect negatively on them in future; fully 45 percent were doing that (Lenhart et al, 2011, in Glynlyon Inc., 2011).
Unrepeatability arises from the fact that an act of communication can never be duplicated. Even if we intend to say the same thing again, the outer world has changed by the second utterance. The listeners may be different, our mood may be different, or our relationship might be in a different place. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
What this means for skills development
Be very aware of what you say; you can’t take it back! (Framework for principles adapted from Glynlyon Inc., 2011).
This article was adapted from Campus College’s Career Edge course. For more information, visit  
Glynlyon. (2011). Part One: Foundations of human communication. In The essentials of human communication. Glynlyon, Inc.
Helgeson, V.S. (2012). The psychology of gender, 4th Ed. United States of America: Pearson.
Course information:
Join our community:
Balance and Stress Management
The world’s religions, most scientific literature (Treadway, 1998), and most cultures’ traditions of common sense and wisdom agree: as human beings, we need balance. That is, we most capably give ourselves an antidote to the stresses of life if we have balanced, nurturing connections with ourselves, between ourselves and significant others, and between ourselves and a higher power (however we conceive it: “the universe,” “God,” “the transcendent,” or our “higher self”). Balance is essential for tending to our core needs and concerns, on all the levels of body, mind, and spirit. It is not a static thing.
Click here to continue reading this article.
The Neurobiology of Trauma
In recently published articles we defined and looked at the aetiology of trauma and discussed the prevalence, incidence, and risk factors for ASD and PTSD. In this article we shift our focus to the neurobiological side of things i.e. what happens to the brain during the course of trauma.
Click here to continue reading this article.
More articles:
Mental Health Academy – First to Knowledge in Mental Health
Get unrestricted access to over 300 hours of professional development education in mental health, including specialist courses and on-demand videos.
Mental Health Academy is Australia’s leading provider of professional development for mental health practitioners. MHA’s all-inclusive memberships give you instant access to over 300 hours of learning – including videos presented by internationally-renowned experts in counselling, psychology and mental health.
Topics explored include: Evidence-based therapies, mindfulness, CBT, focused psychological strategies, children & adolescents, relationship counselling, motivational interviewing, depression & anxiety, addictions, trauma, e-therapy, supervision, ethics, plus much more.
Benefits of becoming a premium member:
  • Over 110 specialist courses to choose from
  • Over 100 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
Learn more and join today:
Have you visited Counselling Connection yet? There are hundreds of 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).
Book Review: Masterminds and Wingmen
Masterminds and Wingmen is Rosalind Wiseman’s follow up ‘male’ version to her bestseller Queen Bees and Wannabes. In Queen Bees and Wannabes, Wiseman provided insight into the theories that surround teenage girls and how they relate to one another. In Masterminds and Wingmen, she attempts to provide the same awareness to the world of boys. In researching and writing this book, Wiseman enlisted the assistance of middle and high school aged boys to develop a guide based on the real-world experience of boys.
Click here to read the full post and leave a comment.
Get new posts delivered by email! Visit our FeedBurner subscription page and click the link on the subscription box.
Follow us on Twitter and get the latest and greatest in counselling news. To follow, visit and click "Follow".
Featured Tweets
Note that you need a Twitter profile to follow us. If you do not have one yet, visit to create a free profile today!
“We tend to overestimate what we can do in a short period, and underestimate what we can do over a long period, provided we work slowly and consistently. Anthony Trollope, the nineteenth-century writer who managed to be a prolific novelist while also revolutionizing the British postal system, observed, “A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.” Over the long run, the unglamorous habit of frequency fosters both productivity and creativity.”
~ Gretchen Rubin
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.
Seminar topics include:
  • The Counselling Process
  • Communication Skills I
  • Communication Skills II
  • Counselling Therapies I
  • Counselling Therapies II
  • Legal & Ethical Framework
  • Family Therapy
  • Case Management
Click here to access all seminar timetables online.
To register for a seminar, please contact your Student Support Centre.
Course information:
Join our community:

47 Baxter Street | Locked Bag 15
Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
(07) 3112 2000 (Australia)
1-800-657-667 (Toll Free)
+61-7-3112-2000 (International)