Unit of competency details

CHCFCS805B - Provide group counselling (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Supersedes and is equivalent to CHCFCS805A - Provide group counsellingEquivalent outcome 24/Mar/2011
Is superseded by CHCGRP005 - Plan and provide group counsellingThis version was released in CHC Community Services Training Package release 3.0 and meets the requirements of the 2012 Standards for Training Packages. Merged CHCFCS805B/CHCGROUP805B/CHCGROUP806B/CHCGROUP807B. Significant changes to the elements and performance criteria. New evidence requirements for assessment including volume and frequency requirements. Significant change to knowledge evidence. 07/Dec/2015

Release Status:
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

Unit Descriptor 

This unit of competency describes the skills and knowledge required to facilitate a group counselling session

Application of the Unit


This unit of competency applies to relationship counsellors providing counselling for couples, families and groups of individuals as voluntary or involuntary clients

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. Identify appropriate group participants

1.1 Develop criteria for appropriate participant selection

1.2 Implement ethical processes for participant selection 

1.3 Document and record member selection process in line with accepted practice

1.4 Maintain confidentiality of group participant personal information

2. Facilitate group counselling

2.1 Develop goals for the counselling group

2.2 Apply a variety of strategies  and interventions in the process of group development

2.3 Maintain effective facilitation of participant self awareness and individual change through the phases of the group

2.4 Professionally facilitate and reflect on influence of own values on group participants

2.5 Apply skills and techniques reflecting respect and understanding for diversity of group participants and group dynamics 

2.6 Manage conflict issues  appropriately as they present in the group counselling process

3. Apply ethical standards  in group counselling

3.1 Adhere to recognised standards for group counselling practice

3.2 Maintain respect and confidentiality of individual participants and group content and process and negotiate group agreement re confidentiality

3.3 Maintain appropriate boundaries  as group counsellor

3.4 Respond constructively and immediately to group behaviours that are disruptive, manipulative or sabotage the process

3.5 Facilitate group member debriefing  as appropriate

4. Undertake supervision and professional development  to ensure a high standard of facilitation skills

4.1 Identify a suitable supervisor for group counselling and negotiate a supervision plan

4.2 Participate in regular supervision sessions

4.3 Apply learning from supervision and professional development

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 essential 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:

  • Variety of systemic therapeutic group work interventions and their application, including evidence-based and culturally sensitive approaches
  • Recognise strengths, limitations, and contraindications of specific group counselling models, including risks of harm associated with models that incorporate assumptions of family dysfunction, pathogenesis, or cultural deficit
  • Understanding and apply theories of stages of group development
  • Distinguish between content and process issues and respond appropriately
  • Knowledge and application of ethical behaviour and legal frameworks for the therapeutic relationship in groups
  • Knowledge of support groups available to families with relationship difficulties
  • Development of self awareness to facilitate the group counselling process
  • Boundaries and limitations to group counselling interventions
  • Organisation policy and procedures
  • Knowledge of legal parameters for working with clients experiencing sexual, physical and emotional abuse, mental health issues
  • Complex interpersonal interactions, power in relationships, groups, abuse and conflict
  • The development of group counselling theories
  • Recognition of the influence of own beliefs and attitudes on group facilitation
  • Understanding of issues of discrimination affect group members from diverse cultures
  • Reflection on practice and the influence of the group leaders attitudes and values
  • Recognising and avoiding the uses and abuse of group techniques

Essential skills :

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to:

  • Use effective interpersonal and communication skills when working in group setting with diverse range of participants
  • Manage conflict positively and constructively within the group counselling setting
  • Monitor and respond appropriately to group dynamics and associated behaviours
  • Monitor and respond professionally to safety concerns for self and group members
  • Demonstrate appropriate and effective use of recognised and contemporary approaches in group learning/process
  • Respond appropriately to a range of demonstrated and expressed emotions within groups
  • Clarify boundaries and group purpose with group participants
  • Apply adult learning principles
  • Select and apply a range of group counselling strategies and interventions
  • Deliver interventions in a way that is sensitive to special needs of clients (gender, age, socioeconomic status, culture/race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, family of origin, larger systems issues of the client) and presenting issue
  • Work effectively with voluntary and involuntary clients
  • Modify or adapt group interventions to meet the expressed needs of the group participants
  • Identify and professionally manage issues of an ethical nature in group work
  • Evaluate techniques and effectiveness of group counselling facilitation

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
  • Observation of workplace performance is essential for assessment of this unit
  • Consistency of performance should be demonstrated over the required range of situations relevant to the workplace

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 :

  • In cases where the learner does not have the opportunity to cover all relevant aspects in the work environment, the remainder should be assessed through realistic simulations, projects, previous relevant experience or oral questioning on 'What if?' scenarios
  • Assessment of this unit of competence will usually include observation of processes and procedures, oral and/or written questioning on essential knowledge and skills and consideration of required attitudes
  • Where performance is not directly observed and/or is required to be demonstrated over a period of time and/or in a number of workplace settings, any evidence should be authenticated by colleagues, supervisors, clients or other appropriate persons

Method of assessment 

  • Observation in the workplace is essential
  • Written assignments/projects or questioning should be used to assess knowledge
  • Case study and scenario as a basis for discussion of issues and strategies to contribute to best practice
  • Counselling skills involving direct client contact are to be assessed initially  on two occasions in a simulated counselling setting. If successful, further assessment is required during 10 hours actual counselling practice under direct supervision
  • The assessment environment should not disadvantage the candidate
  • Assessment practices should take into account any relevant language or cultural issues related to Aboriginality, gender or language barriers other than English
  • Where the candidate has a disability, reasonable adjustment may be applied during assessment
  • Language and literacy demands of the assessment task should not be higher than those of the work role

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.

Participant selection may include :

  • Participants are selected according to purpose of group
  • Opportunity for participants to fulfil identified goals in the intended process
  • Specific regard for issues of mental health, substance use, behavioural issues, cultural needs, personal characteristics for example, age, gender, issues experienced
  • Referral to external resources for individuals unable to be catered fro in the group counselling setting
  • Facilitators acceptance and positive regard for participants

Strategies may include :

  • Immediacy in discussion
  • Spontaneous group discussions
  • Structured exercises
  • Simulated role plays
  • Supporting change in participants lives through the use of group interventions

Supervision and professional development may include but is not limited to :

  • Senior counsellor/therapist qualified to perform supervision
  • Group supervision e.g. with co facilitator
  • Regular contact and structured reflection process with qualified supervisor in person or via other medium
  • Training,workshops, conferences and associated learning programs attended on a regular basis as part of an overall professional and career development plan

Group dynamics may include :

  • Conflict between participants
  • Attempted sabotage of process
  • Manipulation of other participants
  • Participants inappropriate use of behaviour or relationships
  • Conflict between the facilitator and participants
  • Group splitting
  • Avoidance of discussion of conflict
  • Conflict between co-facilitators
  • Support
  • Challenging feedback

Manage conflict issues may include :

  • Terminating attempts to scapegoat and personal attacks on others
  • Clarifying and normalising emotions
  • Encourage participant ownership of issues and promote appropriate expression of needs and negotiated options for resolution

Group member debriefing may include 

  • Recognise new emotion and learnings
  • Recognise challenges in group participation
  • Identify further needs for debriefing

Maintain appropriate boundaries may include :

  • Apply confidentiality and mandatory reporting requirements
  • Engage in appropriate supervision
  • Use of appropriate group counselling interventions when needed
  • Sensitive to individual readiness
  • Appropriate personal disclosure

Group needs may include :

  • Physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual needs shared by the group

Ethical standards may include :

  • Informed consent
  • Involuntary participation
  • Right to withdraw from group counselling
  • Psychological risks associated with group involvement
  • Referral for individual counselling support

Unit Sector(s)

Not Applicable