Counselling Skills Fundamentals

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
PSYC 4370
Counselling Skills Fundamentals
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours

Lecture: 4 hours per week

Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

Lecture and skills demonstration/practice of specific counselling skills will be the primary methods of instruction. The course may also involve other methods of instructions such as small group activities, group discussion, computer simulations, video/DVDs, and guest lectures.

Course Description
This course provides an introduction to counselling interviewing skills. The topics covered include the helping relationship, the helping process and the communication skills required in the therapeutic dialogue. Students are expected to self-disclose and engage in self-exploration, as the bulk of the course will focus on using counseling skills with fellow classmates. This course is recommended for students who are interested in human service professions such as criminal justice, teaching, coaching, nursing, human resources, social work, and counselling/clinical psychology.
Course Content

1.The helping relationship

  • The components of an effective helping relationship
  • Values that drive the helping relationship
  • Professional ethics/code of ethics 
  • Diversity as part of client/counsellor interactions

2. The helping process

  • Clarifying the key issues
  • Engaging the other
  • Overcoming reluctance and resistance

3. Communication skills in the therapeutic dialogue

  • Non verbal behaviour 
  • Active listening
  • Empathic listening and responding
  • Basic and advanced empathic listening and responding
  • Probing and summarizing
  • Challenging client assumptions and moving to new perspectives
Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the successful student should be able to:

  1. Delineate the key elements of successful helping.
  2. Analyze personal values that could impact the helping relationship.
  3. Outline ethical principles that guide helping relationships.
  4. Explain how stereotyping and being judgmental hinders helping.
  5. Demonstrate how to clarify key issues.
  6. Explain how reluctance and resistance operate in helping relationships.
  7. Demonstrate attending skills.
  8. Demonstrate active listening skills.
  9. Demonstrate basic and advanced empathic listening and responding skills.
  10. Demonstrate the skill of probing.
  11. Demonstrate the skill of summarizing.
  12. Demonstrate the skill of challenging client assumptions.
Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy. Evaluation will be based on course objectives and include some of the following:

  1. Multiple choice, short answer or essay exams
  2. Term paper, research project or written assignments
  3. Taped demonstration of counselling skills

The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific evaluation at the beginning of the semester.

Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class.  Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving human subjects.

An example of a possible evaluation scheme is as follows:

Exams - 25%

Three video tapes of skill demonstrations and transcripts - 20%, 25%, 25%

Attendance - 5%

Total - 100%

Textbook Materials

Texts will be updated periodically. A typical example of a text is:

Egan, G. and Reese, R.J. (2019). The skilled helper: A problem-management and opportunity-development approach to helping. (11th ed.) Boston: Cengage.



PSYC 1100


PSYC 1200


One of PSYC 2150 or PSYC 2207 or PSYC 2300 or PSYC 2301 or PSYC 2315 or PSYC 2341 or PSYC 2360 or PSYC 2901 or permission of instructor