How to develop counselling skills?

The Australian Government’s Job Outlook initiative defines counsellors as: “Counsellors provide information on vocational, relationship, social and educational difficulties and issues, and work with people to help them to identify and define their emotional issues through therapies such as cognitive behaviour therapy, interpersonal therapy and other talking therapies.”

Some of the tasks a counsellor may perform include:

  • Providing clients with career guidance and the information and resources they need to help them find a job
  • Assessing clients’ needs regarding treatment for drug and alcohol abuse
  • Conducting counselling interviews with individuals, couples and family groups from diverse backgrounds
  • Helping clients to identify and rectify their dysfunctional behaviours so they can develop more successful relationships and effective behaviours
  • Presenting clients with alternative perspectives and approaches to their presenting concerns
  • Consulting with clients to create personal development plans to help them realise their goals


To be a successful counsellor that’s able to effectively perform these tasks, you’ll first need to acquire a firm grasp of a range of essential counselling skills.


Counselling skills

While there are a diverse range of skills that will help you to become an effective counsellor, the skills that counselling workers rate as the most important counselling skills (according to Job Outlook) are:

  • Social perceptiveness – Understanding why people react the way they do
  • Active listening – Listening to others without interrupting, and asking open questions
  • Critical thinking – Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
  • Service orientation – Looking for ways to help people
  • Active learning – Being able to use what you’ve learnt to solve both current and future problems
  • Speaking – Talking to others in an empathetic, fully-engaged manner


The Western Australian Government’s Department of Training and Workforce Development also defines these as essential counselling skills:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • The ability to be broad-minded and non-judgemental
  • Patience and tolerance
  • The ability to be mature and supportive
  • The ability to relate to people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures
  • The ability to keep information confidential


Counselling courses in Australia

There are several counselling courses in Australia that will equip you with these critical skills that you need to become a professional and successful counsellor.

But not all these courses offer you the flexibility of being able to study while maintaining an income and carrying on with your work and other commitments.

TrainSmart Australia offers a VET Student Loan (VSL)-approved Diploma of Counselling course that can be studied online – whenever and wherever it suits you. This means you don’t have to put your work and other commitments or your income on-hold while you study to become a counsellor.

This nationally-recognised training covers a range of study units, including:

  • Responding to crisis situations
  • Developing and facilitating counselling relationships
  • Working with diverse people
  • Helping those suffering from grief or trauma

Developing the counselling skills that will see you become a confident, supportive and socially-aware counsellor starts with studying the right course.

With TrainSmart Australia’s  CHC51015 Diploma of Counselling, you’ll:

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Learning is a life-long process and to that end we will support you in your current training and aim to make your time with us enjoyable and rewarding. Whether you are looking for a TAFE course or an online diploma, our team of educators and blog writers look forward to providing any necessary advice on training choices and support throughout your course.

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