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Counselling Skills for Youth Justice Workers

Course Code: YJWD 1220
Faculty: Child, Family & Community Studies
Department: Youth Justice
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks. Flexible delivery ranging over 2 to 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course is designed to introduce students to the basic theory and practice of counselling. The course will emphasize the development of a helping relationship, active listening skills and accurate empathy. From the perspective of the practice of Youth Justice Work students will learn ways of helping and supporting their clients to explore their issues and to cope with related feelings. Culture and worldview will be viewed as essential elements for understanding and responding to clients.

Course Content

The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

  1. Counsellors need to understand how cultural origin influences their clients’ behaviour and worldview.  Similarly, they need to be aware of how their own cultural past influences their assumptions and responses.
  2. The development of a working relationship is central to the effective counselling of children and youth.
  3. The elements of respect, genuineness and mutuality are core elements in the counselling process.
  4. Counselling children and youth is holistic and systemic; it takes into account all aspects of the individual and all of his or her important systems.
  5. Counselling children and youth is developmental.  Success, at any given stage, is dependent upon the degree to which the tasks of the previous stage have been dealt with effectively.
  6. Counselling children and youth may be characterized as thematic, both in terms of the themes central to the life of a specific client and as related to the themes that are central to the life and work of the practitioner.
  7. The process of counselling children and youth is aimed at the development of insight and understanding into self, others, and the relationship between self and others.
  8. The process of counselling children and youth includes helping the client move from discussion or insight and understanding to action which will enable the client to interact more effectively with his or her important systems.
  9. The process of child and youth care counselling is skill based.  The effective counsellor understands counselling skills and is able to use them intentionally while remaining genuine and personal in his or her interaction with the client. The process of counselling children and youth is an active one. In addition to discussion it may include other activities and methodologies.

Methods of Instruction


Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations.

Typical means of evaluation will include a combination of written research assignments, case evaluation testing and group presentations.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Professional behaviour
    • demonstrate knowledge of professional ethics and values
    • identify strategies for resolving ethical dilemmas
    • demonstrate knowledge of the difference between a personal and professional relationship
    • identify skill strengths and limitations including awareness of the limits of one’s expertise
    • describe the importance of self-awareness to the helping process
    • describe strategies for increasing self-awareness including establishing conditions for giving and receiving feedback
    • define the characteristics of a counselling relationship
    • list the essential relationship-building objectives of each of the four phases of counselling
    • explain the importance of the core conditions of warmth, empathy, and genuineness
    • demonstrate core conditions in a helping interview
    • describe the counselling contract
    • demonstrate the ability to negotiate a counselling contract
    • define and demonstrate immediacy skills
    • identify counselling and interviewing skills
    • demonstrate ability to classify skills based on purpose, client need and phase of helping
    • describe the circumstances where the use of a particular skill or strategy may be appropriate
    • identify non-helping behaviours
    • list the phases involved in the helping process - preliminary, beginning, action or work, ending
    • describe essential worker tasks and skills for each phase of helping
    • demonstrate ability to preplan an interview
    • demonstrate knowledge of non-verbal communication skills
    • demonstrate techniques for gathering information (e.g., open questions, closed questions, probing for specificity and definition)
    • demonstrate ability to maintain the focus of an interview
    • demonstrate ability to listen, summarize and paraphrase
    • demonstrate ability to respond with empathy
    • demonstrate ability to use self disclosure appropriately
    • demonstrate assertiveness
    • demonstrate ability to use confrontation skills appropriately
    • demonstrate knowledge of skills for working with hostile and potentially violent clients
    • demonstrate versatility with a range of skills and strategies
  2. Self-Awareness
  3. Relationship building skills
  4. Counselling/Interviewing Process
  5. Counselling/Interviewing Skills
  6. Empowerment Skills
    • describe the elements of empowering clients
    • demonstrate ability to identify and assess problems
    • demonstrate ability to assist clients to set long and short term goals
    • demonstrate ability to assist clients to identify and evaluate strategies for problem solving and goal attainment
    • demonstrate ability to assist clients to implement action plans
    • demonstrate ability to assist clients to evaluate and revise action plans
    • demonstrate the ability to assist clients by reframing
  7. Culture and Diversity
    • define worldview and its importance to counselling
    • explain why realities such as racism and oppression impact counselling
    • identify and explore how the values, beliefs, behaviours, and traditions of diverse populations impact the counselling process
    • adapt counselling strategies to fit the needs of diverse populations

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.