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Unit of study_

SEXH5402: Counselling for Health Professionals

Semester 1, 2020 [Block mode] - Westmead, Sydney

This unit will introduce students to the microskills and theories of counselling in a health setting. This unit of study has two parts: an online component and a face-to-face intensive teaching block component. The intensive teaching block will include an extension of online content and provide skills development sessions. The intensive teaching block is compulsory. On completion of this unit, students will be able to: (i) Demonstrate the application of microskills to interpersonal communication, professional communication and in a counselling context; (ii) Apply basic counselling interventions in a health context; (iii) Critique the application of counselling and psychotherapy theories in health settings; (iv) Critique and discuss ethical issues in counselling; (v) Demonstrate the ability to develop a basic management plan for an individual based on best available research and clinical evidence; and (vi) Develop an understanding of the self in practise.

Unit details and rules

Unit code SEXH5402
Academic unit Sexual Health
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Christopher Fox,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Online task Assessment 1: discussion board participation
Online discussion
10% Ongoing Ongoing
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO6 LO4
Assignment Assessment 2: critical essay
20% Week 05
Due date: 23 Mar 2020 at 17:00
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO6
In-semester test Assessment 3: multiple choice quiz
20% Week 09
Due date: 28 Apr 2020 at 12:00
40 questions
Outcomes assessed: LO3
Assignment group assignment Assessment 4: group work video task
Video assessment
25% Week 10 10-15 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO5
Assignment Assessment 5: reflective essay
25% Week 12
Due date: 18 May 2020 at 17:00
2500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

  • Discussion board participation: As part of your learning activities in this unit of study you will be expected to regularly participate in the discussion boards. The discussions focus on key learning questions in each module.
  • Critical essay: In this assessment, you will critically analyse the differences and similarities between counselling and psychotherapy. You are expected to synthesise information and generate a definition of counselling and psychotherapy based on your investigations. You will need to evaluate the key arguments and use this information to support your conclusion.
  • Multiple choice question exam: This exam will contain 40 questions and is based on the Corey text readings for module 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
  • Group work video task: This assessment task requires you to video an introductory counselling session including a brief client history and a brief intervention. You will be paired with another student enrolled in this unit of study. Please note, this task must be completed using a student enrolled in this unit of study. You will complete this task during the intensive teaching block and hand to the Unit of Study Coordinator.
  • Reflective essay: The first part of the essay will provide a reflection on your emerging counselling/microskills. You need to provide a critique outlining the strengths and areas for improvement. You can also draw on readings from the microskills module. The second part of the essay is a reflection on your emerging theoretical framework. You need to discuss which theories you are drawn to and how you would apply these theories.
Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to the unit Online class (10 hr)  
Week 02 Introduction to counselling Online class (10 hr)  
Week 03 Microskills Online class (10 hr)  
Week 04 Ethical issues in practice Online class (10 hr)  
Week 05 Psychodynamic approaches to counselling Online class (10 hr)  
Week 06 Existential approaches to counselling Online class (10 hr)  
Week 07 Person-centered approaches to counselling Online class (10 hr)  
Week 08 Cognitive behavioural therapy Online class (10 hr)  
Week 09 Solution-focused brief therapy Online class (10 hr)  
Week 10 Intensive Workshop (4 days) Workshop (32 hr)  
Week 11 Assessment activities Online class (10 hr)  
Week 12 Assessment activities Online class (10 hr)  
Week 13 Assessment activities Online class (10 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance at the intensive is compulsory for all students. Failure to attend may result in an absent fail for the unit of study.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed on the Library eReserve link available on Canvas.

Prescribed textbooks:

Corey, G. (2016). Theory and practice of counselling and psychotherapy (10th Ed.). Cengage Learning, Boston, Massachusetts. ISBN: 9781305263727.

McLeod, J. (2013). An introduction to counselling (5th Ed.). McGraw-Hill Education, New York. ISBN: 9780335247226.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate the application of microskills to interpersonal communication, professional communication and in a counselling context
  • LO2. apply the basic counselling interventions in a health context
  • LO3. critique the application of counselling and psychotherapy theories in health settings
  • LO4. critique and discuss ethical issues in counselling
  • LO5. demonstrate the ability to develop a basic management plan for an individual or couple based on best available research and clinical evidence
  • LO6. develop an understanding of the self in practise.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

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No changes have been made since this unit was last offered


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