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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

EDUC 5501: Introduction to Counselling Skills

NOTE: To register for this course, please email or call 250-377-6067.

The purpose of this course is to provide an opportunity for the development of counselling skills and improved interpersonal relationships through the exchange of ideas, feelings and attitudes. Through interaction and experiential learning activities, students will develop a working knowledge of counseling and interviewing skills, and procedures.

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate understanding of the principles and elements of the counselling interview.
  • Demonstrate purposeful and effective counselling skills in a counselling interview.
  • Demonstrate the ability to establish an effective helping relationship, including attending to cognition, affect and meaning.
  • Outline the role of psychological theory in application to the helping process.
  • Describe ethical issues for helpers and ways of committing to ethical professional practice.

Course topics

  • Module 1: Introduction to the Counselling Profession
  • Module 2: Ethical Issues--Multicultural Competence and Diversity: The Role of Theoretical Orientation in Practice
  • Module 3: Ethical Issues and Professional Boundaries--Skills of Attending, Empathizing and Observing
  • Module 4: Developing Counselling Goals--Skills of Questioning, Paraphrasing and Summarizing
  • Module 5: Dealing with Emotional Intensity--Skills of Reflecting Feelings and Listening During a Five-stage Counselling Session
  • Module 6: The Art and Practice of Counselling--Skills of Focusing, Exploring and Challenging
  • Module 7: Influencing--Skills of Reflecting Meaning, Reframing and Transitions
  • Module 8: Strategies for Client Change--Skills of Self-disclosure, Feedback and Immediacy
  • Module 9: Theoretical Orientation in Practice--Skills of Integration and Closure
  • Module 10: Counsellor Burnout and Self-care--Skill of Integration
  • Module 11: Counselling Skills in Various Settings--Skill of Integration
  • Module 12: Reflecting on Learning, and Goal Setting for the Future

Required text and materials

Online MEd students are responsible for sourcing and/or ordering their own books. Please see the list of required textbooks here:

Students may be able to order the text through the TRU Bookstore at

If students have any questions about obtaining the correct textbook, please contact

Additional requirements

  • A computer with Internet access is required.

  • You will require a web cam along with a headset or computer microphone and speakers to participate in synchronous online meet-ups.

  • Someone in your group will need to have video equipment and editing software to record practice sessions and cut into shorter segment for submission for marking.


To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 70% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory project.

Assignment 1: Video Recording and Reflective Paper 1 10%
Assignment 2: Reflective Practice Journal 1 10%
Assignment 3: Transcript Analysis 15%
Assignment 4: Video Recording and Reflective Paper 2 10%
Assignment 5: Reflective Practice Journal 2 10%
Online Discussions 15%
Final Project: Final Video Recording Demonstration and Paper (mandatory) 30%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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