Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


ALHT106 Psychology for Allied Health AND OTHY108 Evidence-Based Practice and Health Conditions

Unit rationale, description and aim

Occupational therapists enable health through optimising participation in meaningful occupations. When clients are facing barriers to their optimal occupational performance, occupational therapists utilise counselling and group work skills to enable clients to achieve their goals of participation in occupations of their choosing. Building on your knowledge of applying occupational therapy theory and models to working with clients students will learn counselling and group work theoretical frameworks. Using simulated environments, collaboration with peers and setting learning goals, students will develop foundational counselling skills as they apply to a diverse range of clients. In group work activities, students will develop competencies in the design, facilitation and evaluation of a range of therapeutic groups. Students will reflect on and critique their practice, demonstrating professional and ethical behaviours required in counselling and group work contexts. Students will develop knowledge and skills of culturally safe communication when interacting with First Peoples individuals and family members.

This unit contains a learning outcome from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Framework (HCF, 2014) specifically addressing the HCF cultural capability Communication.

The aim of this unit is to examine the theoretical frameworks of counselling and group work, to then apply and evaluate practices and ethical behaviours that students need to effectively enable clients from diverse backgrounds to achieve their goals.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Identify, analyse and apply selected theoretical frameworks for individual counselling and group work in a range of clinical and community settings (GA5)

LO2 - Analyse and apply individual counselling and group work practices with a diverse range of clients and contexts (GA1, GA7)

LO3 - Summarise individual counselling and group work outcomes with selected outcome measures (GA5)

LO4 - Critique ethical and professional behaviours in individual counselling and group work contexts, and work collaboratively with other group members (GA1, GA3, GA7)

LO5 - HCF 6.3 Incorporate knowledge and skills of culturally safe communication when interacting with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and family members (GA1)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

Australian occupational therapy competency standards (AOTCS) 2018

Australian occupational therapy competency standards (AOTCS) 2018 developed in this unit are: 

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

Standard 1 - Professionalism

An occupational therapist practises in an ethical, safe, lawful and accountable manner, supporting client health and wellbeing through occupation and consideration of the person and their environment.

An occupational therapist:

1.1. Complies with the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia’s standards, guidelines and Code of Conduct

1.2 Adheres to legislation relevant to practice

1.3 Maintains professional boundaries in all client and professional relationships

1.4 Recognises and manages conflicts of interest in all client and professional relationships

1.5 Practises in a culturally responsive and culturally safe manner, with particular respect to culturally diverse client groups

1.6 Incorporates and responds to historical, political, cultural, societal, environmental and economic factors influencing health, wellbeing and occupations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

1.7 Collaborates and consults ethically and responsibly for effective client-centred and interprofessional practice.

1.9 Identifies and manages the influence of her/his values and culture on practice

1.10 Practises within limits of her/his own level of competence and expertise

1.13 Manages resources, time and workload accountably and effectively

1.14 Recognises and manages her/his own physical and mental health for safe, professional practice

1.17 Recognises and manages any inherent power imbalance in relationships with clients

LO4, LO5

Standard 2 - Knowledge and learning

An occupational therapist’s knowledge, skills and behaviours in practice are informed by relevant and contemporary theory, practice knowledge and evidence, and are maintained and developed by ongoing professional development and learning.

An occupational therapist:

 2.1 Applies current and evidence-informed knowledge of occupational therapy and other appropriate and relevant theory in practice

2.2 Applies theory and frameworks of occupation to professional practice and decision-making.

2.3 Identifies and applies best available evidence in professional practice and decision-making

2.4 Understands and responds to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health philosophies, leadership, research and practices

2.5 Maintains current knowledge for cultural responsiveness to all groups in the practice setting

 2.8 Reflects on practice to inform current and future reasoning and decision- making and the integration of theory and evidence into practice

2.9 Maintains knowledge of relevant resources and technologies,

2.10 Maintains digital literacy for practice

LO1, LO2, LO5

Standard 3 - Occupational therapy process and practice

An occupational therapist’s practice acknowledges the relationship between health, wellbeing and human occupation, and their practice is client-centred for individuals, groups, communities and populations.

An occupational therapist:

3.1 Addresses occupational performance and participation of clients, identifying the enablers and barriers to engagement

3.2 Performs appropriate information gathering and assessment when identifying a client's status and functioning, strengths, occupational performance and goals

3.3 Collaborates with the client and relevant others to determine the priorities and occupational therapy goals

3.4 Develops a plan with the client and relevant others to meet identified occupational therapy goals

3.5 Selects and implements culturally responsive and safe practice strategies to suit the occupational therapy goals and environment of the client

3.7 Reflects on practice to inform and communicate professional reasoning and decision making

3.11 Evaluates client and service outcomes to inform future practice

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO5

Standard 4 – Communication

Occupational therapists practise with open, responsive and appropriate communication to maximise the occupational performance and engagement of clients and relevant others.

An occupational therapist:

4.1 Communicates openly, respectfully and effectively

4.2 Adapts written, verbal and non-verbal communication appropriate to the client and practice context

4.4 Uses culturally responsive, safe and relevant communication tools and strategies

4.5 Complies with legal and procedural requirements for the responsible and accurate documentation, sharing and storage of professional information and records of practice

4.10 Seeks and responds to feedback, modifying communication and/or practice accordingly

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5


Topics will include:

Individual counselling and group work practice in occupational therapy

  • Therapeutic use of self
  • Ethical issues and boundaries
  • Ethical and professional behaviours

 Theoretical frameworks of counselling and group work

  • Occupational Therapy conceptual models

 Culturally Safe communication

  • Strengths based communication approaches

 Interprofessional Practice

  • Partnerships and collaboration

Evaluation of counselling and group work effectiveness

  • Evidence-based practice
  • Suitable outcome measures

Group Work Practice in Occupational Therapy

  • Group theory
  • Group dynamics
  • Developmental stages of groups
  • Group process, practice and design

Group Work Skills

  • Leadership Styles
  • Group Facilitation skills
  • Managing participant behaviours - Strategies & techniques
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Effective Feedback
  • Evaluation & Reflection

Application of and group work practices with a diverse range of clients and contexts

  • Community based Groups
  • Mental Health Groups
  • Health Promotion & Wellness Groups
  • Support & Carer Groups
  • Activity Based & Rehabilitation Groups
  • School based Groups
  • Residential Care Groups
  • Virtual Groups

Individual counselling practice in occupational therapy

  • Introduction to counselling practice
  • The Skilled Helper Model

Specific theoretical frameworks for counselling

  • Person-centred
  • Behavioural
  • Cognitive-behavioural approaches
  • Psychodynamic theory of transference and countertransference

Counselling skills

  • Contracts, goals and practice issues
  • Active listening
  • Observation skills
  • Probing
  • Summarising
  • Communicating
  • Empathising
  • Helping clients help themselves
  • Helping stuck/difficult/reluctant clients
  • Helping clients tell their story
  • Formulating goals
  • Developing action strategies
  • Evaluating progress

Intervention Approaches

  • Principles and application of self-management
  • Facilitation of personal development
  • Change
  • Grief and loss

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Teaching and learning approaches for this unit will include lectures, practical sessions, tutorials, case studies and self-directed learning. This unit uses a flipped classroom learning strategy with online lectures and face to face tutorials and practicals. Students are required to watch the online lectures and complete preparatory tasks as preparation for their face to face tutorial and practical classes, to enable further understanding of these concepts in a more applied way within class time. Students are expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities, demonstrating respect for the individual as an independent learner. Learning and Teaching approaches included in this unit were developed in collaboration with First Peoples’ Cultural Advisors and include tutorial co-facilitation by cultural mentors.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements.

Assessment 1 involves students recording a counselling session on a pre-agreed occupational performance issue with a fellow student followed by a critique of their practices and behaviours using theoretical frameworks. This will provide an authentic learning experience in developing counselling skills.

Assessment 2 involves students preparing a group protocol utilising a theoretical framework and session plan, facilitating and evaluating this session and then critiquing their practices and behaviours. This will provide an authentic learning experience in developing group work skills and group outcome measurement.

Assessment 3 is an exam to assess applied knowledge of counselling and group work practices and behaviours, including culturally safe communication. This assessment task is designed to develop students’ skills to apply counselling and group work knowledge, practices and culturally safe communication to relevant occupational therapy case scenarios. Assessment approaches in this unit were developed in collaboration with First Peoples’ Cultural Advisors.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Counselling video and critique

Students record a counselling session on a pre-agreed occupational performance issue with a fellow student and critique their practices and behaviours using theoretical frameworks.


LO1, LO2, LO4

GA1, GA5

Group planning, facilitation and critique

Students prepare a group protocol utilising a theoretical framework and session plan, facilitate and evaluate this

session and then critique their practices and behaviours.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA3, GA5, GA7


Requires students to apply their knowledge of counselling and group work theoretical frameworks, practices and behaviours.



LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA3, GA5


1. Present group protocol in practical class for feedback

LO1, LO4

GA1, GA3, GA5


2. Compulsory attendance and participation in simulated group learning activities. This hurdle provides students with exposure to a wide variety of simulated occupational therapy client groups and contexts, including a range of community and clinical settings.

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA3, GA5, GA7

Representative texts and references

Cole, M. (2018). Group dynamics in occupational therapy: The theoretical basis and practice application of group intervention (5th ed.). Slack.

Corey, M. S., Corey, G., & Corey, C. (2018). Groups: Process and practice (10th ed.). Cengage Learning. 

Egan, G. (2010). Exercises in helping skills (9th ed.). Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.

Egan, G., & Reese, R. J. (2019). The skilled helper: A problem-management and opportunity-development approach to helping. (11th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Ivey, A., Ivey, M., & Zalaquett, C. (2018). Intentional interviewing and counselling: Facilitating client development in a multicultural society. (9th ed.). Cengage Learning.

O'Brien, J. C., & Solomon, J. W. (2012). Occupational analysis and group process. Elsevier Mosby.

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