Unit of competency details

CHCCSL505A - Apply learning theories in counselling (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by CHCCSL005 - Apply learning theories in counsellingThis version was released in CHC Community Services Training Package release 3.0 and meets the requirements of the 2012 Standards for Training Packages. Significant changes to the elements and performance criteria. New evidence requirements for assessment including volume and frequency requirements. Significant changes to knowledge evidence. Additional assessor requirements. 07/Dec/2015

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 25/Mar/2011


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 090513 Counselling  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 090513 Counselling  02/Feb/2009 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor


This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to apply theory underpinning behaviourism and social learning (modelling) in counselling practice

Application of the Unit


The skills and knowledge in this unit are intended to provide a foundation for applying stimulus-response and social learning theory to formulate and monitor a program for behaviour change in a counselling context

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not Applicable


Not Applicable

Employability Skills Information

Employability Skills 

This unit contains Employability Skills

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements define the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

The Performance Criteria specify the level of performance required to demonstrate achievement of the Element. Terms in italics are elaborated in the Range Statement.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Apply behaviourism in counselling practice

1.1 Identify the contributions of stimulus and response theory to counselling practice

1.2 Analyse and apply stimulus and response techniques in counselling practice

1.3 Analyse and demonstrate application of principles of negative and positive reinforcement 

1.4 Explain the relationship between punishment and negative reinforcement

1.5 Apply positive and negative reinforcement in counselling practice

2. Analyse environmental modelling influences  in counselling practice

2.1 Explain the impact of environmental modelling influences

2.2 Identify and analyse the impact of modelling influences within a client's environment  to facilitate client change

3. Analyse possible behavioural outcomes of different modelling and reinforcement influences

3.1 Analyse different reinforcement influences of siblings in relation to sequence of birth

3.2 Analyse individual responses to similar modelling/ reinforcement

3.3 Analyse the effects of environmental differences  and dysfunctional environments 

4. Formulate a program for change  in a counselling context

4.1 Identify change required to achieve identified outcomes and formulate and record a program for change

4.2 Apply and record the method of reinforcements to ensure behaviour change

4.3 Formulate a process for program monitoring, recording and intervention where appropriate

Required Skills and Knowledge


This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.

Essential knowledge :

The candidate must be able to demonstrate underpinning knowledge required to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

These include knowledge of:

  • Operant conditioning
  • Classical conditioning
  • Learning theory supporting conditioning models
  • Principles and procedures of reinforcement
  • Thorndike's law of effect
  • Concept of schedule reinforcement
  • fixed ratio schedule
  • variable ratio
  • fixed interval schedule
  • variable interval schedule
  • Extinction of behaviours
  • Applications of stimulus and response theory
  • Bandura's social learning theory
  • Modelling
  • Reinforcement, positive and negative
  • Punishment
  • Functional and dysfunctional environments
  • Earliest learning environment - family
  • Childhood learning environment - school
  • Pre and adolescent peer group pressures/influences

Essential skills :

Ability to:

It is essential that competence be demonstrated in the analysis of behaviourism and the application of social learning (modelling) in counselling practice.

The candidate must be able to:

  • Apply negative and positive reinforcement
  • Apply the theory of stimulus and response in counselling practice.
  • Analyse environmental modelling influences;
  • Analyse behavioural outcomes of different modelling and reinforcement influences;
  • Apply reinforcements to ensure behaviour change;
  • Formulate and record a program for change.

In addition, the candidate must be able to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

These include the ability to:

  • Analyse, evaluate and record data
  • Apply theoretical concepts to case study
  • Determine cause and effect
  • Select mediating responses
  • Formulate strategies into a program
  • Devise strategies for change

Evidence Guide


The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate this unit of competency :

  • The individual being assessed must provide evidence of specified essential knowledge as well as skills
  • This unit will be most appropriately assessed in the workplace or in a simulated work context and under the normal range of workplace conditions
  • It is recommended that assessment or information for assessment will be conducted or gathered over a period of time and cover the normal range of workplace situations and settings

Access and equity considerations :

  • All workers in community services should be aware of access, equity and human rights issues in relation to their own area of work
  • All workers should develop their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment
  • In recognition of particular issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, workers should be aware of cultural, historical and current issues impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Assessors and trainers must take into account relevant access and equity issues, in particular relating to factors impacting on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities

Context of and specific resources for assessment :

  • This unit can be assessed independently, however holistic assessment practice is encouraged with other units of competency relating to counselling practice
  • Resources required for assessment include access to:
  • An appropriate workplace and/or simulation of realistic work environment where assessment can take place

Method of assessment :

  • For valid and reliable assessment of this unit, competency should be demonstrated in a range of situations which may  include:
  • observation of performance in an actual workplace or in a setting that realistically simulates work conditions:
  • observation should include key aspects described in elements, performance criteria and relevant aspects of the Range Statement of the unit
  • where face-to-face observation is not possible, video recordings may be provided
  • candidate's critique of their 'performance' to demonstrate cognitive understanding of theory
  • written questioning
  • relevant case studies and/or scenarios
  • role play
  • focused discussion

Related units :

Assessment of this unit is recommended (but not required) after or in conjunction with assessment of:

  • CHCCSL504A Apply personality and development theories

Range Statement


The Range Statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Reinforcement may include :

  • Isolating stimulus-response
  • Application of selective reinforcement - positive and/or negative
  • Primary reinforcement
  • Secondary reinforcement
  • Reinforcement schedules

Environmental modelling influences may include :

  • Strength of the influence
  • Duration of the influence
  • Major environmental influences from childhood
  • The importance of childhood environmental influences in terms of strength
  • The influence of school environment in terms of duration

Client's environment may include :

  • Family
  • School
  • Peer group
  • Workplace group

Environmental differences may include :

  • Family environment
  • Learning environment

Dysfunctional environments may :

  • Be inadequately resourced to effectively support human growth and development
  • Not be conducive to learning and/or development
  • Be inadequate in providing appropriate nurturance and care for typical development

Program for change may include :

  • Differential effects of modelling
  • Dysfunctional environmental outcomes
  • Functional environmental outcomes
  • Reinforcement techniques
  • Reinforcement of specific behaviours
  • Mediating responses

Unit Sector(s)

Not Applicable