Course description



All contemporary human service providers and personnel managers encounter situations in which they are required to help people to change some aspect of their behaviour. In the workplace, such situations may include employees' need for improved role effectiveness, personnel conflicts, organizational changes that affect the individual, such as job loss, restructuring and reorganization. All people who counsel operate from theoretical frameworks about how people become the way they are, how they respond to situations, how problems evolve and are maintained, and how people can be helped to change. Counseling is also at the heart of coaching, which has become very popular as a tool in many contemporary leadership development programmes. This course will give students an up-to-date overview of major theoretical approaches in counselling and how they are used in counseling work problems.

Course content

  • Introduction to counselling and counselling theory
  • Humanistic approaches to counselling
  • Existential approaches to counselling
  • Behavioural approaches to counselling
  • Cognitive and cognitive-behavioural approaches to counselling
  • Integrative approaches to counselling
  • Differences between counselling and therapy
  • Ethics and professional limitations

Learning outcome knowledge

The objective of the course is to provide students with knowledge of different theoretical approaches to counselling as well as awareness of how and why these theories are used to counsel employees. The students will need to explore and discuss a range of psychological theories in depth to understand the rich diversity of possible theories that explain psychological adaptation, maladaptation and counseling processes. A particular emphasis is made on the students' learning of verbal exchanges as a tool for developmental activities.

At the end of the course, not only will students have an understanding of the major counseling theories and their academic roots, but will also have gained a better understanding of their own behaviour and some practical skills in counselling. They should have a realistic expectation about the possible contributions they can make by using conversations as tools for changing clients, with a particular emphasis on workplace problems and leadership development. Further, the course will train the students to see that ethical issues protecting client integrity is an integrated part of professional helping relationships. The students will be aware their limitations in that this is not a course enabling them to treat people, but instead an orientation to make them able to choose from the available counselling and coaching techniques to find practical courses later on that will further their professional skills.

Exam organisation

  • Presentation: 30%
  • Written assignment: 70%