POPLPRAC 707 : Theory and Skills in Counselling Practice

Medical and Health Sciences

2024 Semester Two (1245) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The theory, research and practice regarding counselling and psycho-therapeutic approaches used in mental health and addiction service contexts. Approaches will be critically examined in terms of history, theory, social context and trends in research. Particular attention will focus on counselling methods currently in use within services.

Course Overview

This is a core course for the Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma in Health Sciences and Master of Health Practice specialising in Alcohol and other Drug studies. This course is suitable for any health professional who has an interest in working with clients with alcohol and drug issues. Places are limited for this course and preference is given to those who are taking the course towards the PG Certificate in Health Sciences in specialisation Alcohol and Drug Studies.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Course Contacts

Course Director
Dr Rodrigo Ramalho
Email: r.ramalho@auckland.ac.nz

Course Coordinator
Carina Walters
Email: cj.walters@auckland.ac.nz 

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism
Graduate Profile: Master of Health Sciences

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Appreciate and apply theory, research and practice regarding counselling and approaches used in mental health and addiction service contexts (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 5.1, 6.1 and 8.1)
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of their own strengths as a counsellor and the ability to self-reflect on their counselling style. (Capability 1.1, 3.1, 3.3, 4.1 and 8.1)
  3. Describe and critically evaluate approaches applied in counselling practice and interactions with clients. (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 and 8.1)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Reflective Practice modules 50% Individual Coursework
Student presentation and group feedback on an alternative therapeutic approach 25% Group & Individual Coursework
Motivational Interviewing 25% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3
Reflective Practice modules
Student presentation and group feedback on an alternative therapeutic approach
Motivational Interviewing

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week over the 12 week semester. This means  attending scheduled workshops, undertaking weekly assignments, reading and self-reflection on own practice.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including seminars to complete components of the course.
Some core seminar content will be available as recordings. Most content is learning activities including seminars, small group work and work with actors and will not be available as recordings.
The course will include live online events including group discussions.
Attendance on campus is required for the third assessment.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a block delivery.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

The paper is delivered across four days and there is an expectation that you make yourself available. The content presented, discussed and explored across each of these days is directly relevant to the assessment and learning objectives of the course. 

There are no prescribed texts for this course and readings will be assigned and provided via Canvas.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

The assignment "student presentation and group feedback" will be modified, following students' feedback

Other Information

SkillMatter provides funding for a limited number of students doing the courses towards Assessment and management of co-existing substance use and mental health. This is one of the courses included in that. The students do have to meet certain eligibility criteria. for more information you can check this link-

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.