Course Outline

COU180 Therapeutic Communication Skills

Course Coordinator:Shannon Webb ( School:School of Law and Society

2024Semester 1

UniSC Sunshine Coast

UniSC Moreton Bay

UniSC Caboolture

UniSC Fraser Coast

UniSC Gympie

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.


Online You can do this course without coming onto campus.

Please go to for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


This course introduces you to the skills and process of communication skills within a therapeutic setting. It concentrates on the theory and practice of developing a therapeutic relationship from a humanistic perspective using micro-skills. It considers issues impacting on engagement, such as diversity, and online delivery. Framed in counselling, the skills taught relate to relationship building and communication in many interpersonal contexts within a therapeutic setting, specifically aimed at health care workers.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Learning materials – Online learning activities embedded in the student learning management system. 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – On campus, experiential tutorials aimed at practicing the knowledge and skills presented within the online learning materials. 2hrs Week 1 13 times
Learning materials – Online learning activities embedded in the student learning management system. 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Online, interactive zoom tutorials aimed at practicing the knowledge and skills presented within the online learning materials. 2hrs Week 1 13 times

Course Topics

All topics may contain mature content:

  • The Therapeutic Relationship
  • Joining & Listening
  • Reflection of Content & Feeling
  • Use of Questions
  • Summarising and Ending
  • Ethics and Diversity
  • Professional Considerations (including Self Care)
  • Online Therapeutic Communication Skills 
  • Promoting Change
  • Dadirri/Research for academic writing 

What level is this course?

100 Level (Introductory)

Engaging with discipline knowledge and skills at foundational level, broad application of knowledge and skills in familiar contexts and with support. Limited or no prerequisites. Normally, associated with the first full-time study year of an undergraduate program.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Demonstrate skill and growth in self-reflection and self-awareness. Creative and critical thinker
2 Identify and critically analyse therapeutic communication skills and ethical practice within a counselling context. Knowledgeable
3 Demonstrate developing academic writing skills, including the application of APA7 conventions. Knowledgeable
4 Identify ethical practices and standards within various therapeutic environments. Knowledgeable
5 Comprehend and apply academic scholarship. Knowledgeable

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the UniSC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


Not applicable


Not applicable



Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Not applicable

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

Formative (non-graded) online quiz on APA formatting and researching for academic writing will be made available to provide feedback on your understanding of these two important aspects of academic learning. Further resources and support will be accessible where desired/required. 

Timely and detailed feedback is provided for each assessment. Feedback is provided both within text and general comments to build scholarly skills. Students are able to seek feedback through face-to-face discussion with the course coordinator. Tutorials will include extended discussion and review of the assessment task requirements and scope and 'drop-in' zoom information sessions will be made available closer to the assessment due dates.

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Quiz/zes Individual 0%
60 questions in 3 hours
Week 3 Online Test (Quiz)
All 2 Essay Individual 30%
850 words
Week 7 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 3 Essay Individual 40%
2000 words
Week 12 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 4 Quiz/zes Individual 30%
60 questions
Exam Period Online Test (Quiz)
All - Assessment Task 1:Online Quiz
To test understanding of content in weeks 1 to 3 prior to census via quiz.
Product: Quiz/zes
Open Book / Online
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstrate understanding of core counselling values, empathy, unconditional positive regard, congruence, and deep listening.
All - Assessment Task 2:Brief Reflective essay
The goal of this assessment task is to critically reflect on the experiences of the in-tutorial skills practice triads from week 2 to week 6.
Product: Essay
850-word outline plus reference list (reference list not included in word count). The brief reflective essay will be written to essay structure, including introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. You will be given the topic on Canvas. The essay is written to APA 7th ed. conventions, including a reference list.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstration of knowledge: Addressing the nature and scope of the critique
3 5
Demonstration of academic research skills: Evidence of sound research and accurate and appropriate references of sources
3 5
Demonstration of academic writing skills: Clarity of expression and correct use of grammar, punctuation and spelling.
All - Assessment Task 3:Critical Analysis Essay
The purpose of this task is to analyse and critique a pre-recorded demonstration of micro-skills as shown within a therapeutic session. Ethical and diversity considerations also need to be examined, including evidence of reflection regarding the therapeutic relationship.
Product: Essay
2000 word written critique of the recorded micro-skills demonstration, linking observations of the skills, and their outcomes, to the principles of person centred counselling. Formal essay style required including a title page, introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion. Appropriate attribution to academic reference sources remains essential to avoid plagiarism. Accurate application of APA formatting to the submitted paper and the use of appropriate academic sources to support your arguments.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstration of skills and growth in self-reflection and self-awareness.
Knowledge and awareness of ethical practices and diversity considerations within the therapeutic relationship.
2 4
Accuracy of grammar, punctuation, spelling, referencing and word limit. Accuracy of application of APA7 formatting and appropriate academic reference sources.
3 5
All - Assessment Task 4:Online Test
You will demonstrate understanding of basic counselling theoretical frameworks and related skills, as presented during weeks 1 to 13
Product: Quiz/zes
Online test - 60 questions
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Accuracy and correctness of responses.
2 4 5
Assessment criteria are mapped to the course learning outcomes.
1 4

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

Please note that you need to have regular access to the resource(s) listed below. Resources may be required or recommended.

Required? Author Year Title Edition Publisher
Required David Geldard, Kathryn Geldard, Rebecca Yin Foo 2021 Basic Personal Counselling 9th Cengage Learning

Specific requirements


How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct.

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


UniSC is committed to a culture of respect and providing a safe and supportive environment for all members of our community. For immediate assistance on campus contact SafeUniSC by phone: 07 5430 1168 or using the SafeZone app. For general enquires contact the SafeUniSC team by phone 07 5456 3864 or email

The SafeUniSC Specialist Service is a Student Wellbeing service that provides free and confidential support to students who may have experienced or observed behaviour that could cause fear, offence or trauma. To contact the service call 07 5430 1226 or email

Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

Wellbeing Services

Student Wellbeing provide free and confidential counselling on a wide range of personal, academic, social and psychological matters, to foster positive mental health and wellbeing for your academic success.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 1226.

AccessAbility Services

Ability Advisers ensure equal access to all aspects of university life. If your studies are affected by a disability, learning disorder mental health issue, injury or illness, or you are a primary carer for someone with a disability or who is considered frail and aged, AccessAbility Services can provide access to appropriate reasonable adjustments and practical advice about the support and facilities available to you throughout the University.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Conduct
  • Students with a Disability

For more information, visit

Student Charter

UniSC is committed to excellence in teaching, research and engagement in an environment that is inclusive, inspiring, safe and respectful. The Student Charter sets out what students can expect from the University, and what in turn is expected of students, to achieve these outcomes.

General Enquiries

  • In person:
    • UniSC Sunshine Coast - Student Central, Ground Floor, Building C, 90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs
    • UniSC Moreton Bay - Service Centre, Ground Floor, Foundation Building, Gympie Road, Petrie
    • UniSC SouthBank - Student Central, Building A4 (SW1), 52 Merivale Street, South Brisbane
    • UniSC Gympie - Student Central, 71 Cartwright Road, Gympie
    • UniSC Fraser Coast - Student Central, Student Central, Building A, 161 Old Maryborough Rd, Hervey Bay
    • UniSC Caboolture - Student Central, Level 1 Building J, Cnr Manley and Tallon Street, Caboolture
  • Tel:+61 7 5430 2890