Unit of competency details

HLTCOM404B - Communicate effectively with clients (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to HLTCOM404C - Communicate effectively with clients 19/Apr/2011

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 18/Apr/2011

Accredited courses that have this unit in the completion mapping

CodeSort Table listing Accredited courses that have this unit in the completion mapping by the Code columnTitleSort Table listing Accredited courses that have this unit in the completion mapping by the Title columnStatus
52394WA - Certificate IV in Mind Body MedicineCertificate IV in Mind Body Medicine Non-Current
21765VIC - Diploma of Sports KinesiologyDiploma of Sports Kinesiology Non-Current
22030VIC - Advanced Diploma of Sports TherapyAdvanced Diploma of Sports Therapy Non-Current
21898VIC - Advanced Diploma of Yoga TeachingAdvanced Diploma of Yoga Teaching Non-Current
30948QLD - Diploma of Rebirthing and Breathwork MasteryDiploma of Rebirthing and Breathwork Mastery Non-Current
69802 - Diploma of Pilates Movement TherapyDiploma of Pilates Movement Therapy Non-Current
30837QLD - Diploma of Musculoskeletal TherapyDiploma of Musculoskeletal Therapy Non-Current
30836QLD - Certificate IV in Musculoskeletal TherapyCertificate IV in Musculoskeletal Therapy Non-Current


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 120505 Work Practices Programmes 

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 120505 Work Practices Programmes 03/Sep/2009 
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Modification History

Unit Descriptor

This unit covers the skills required by practitioners to establish and maintain effective communication with the client throughout all interactions and provide basic counselling as required and as appropriate to facilitate the treatment or health service being provided

Application of the Unit

This unit applies to work in a range of health settings where health services are provided with direct client contact involved

Application of this unit should be contextualised to reflect any specific workplace requirements, issues and practices

Licensing/Regulatory Information


Employability Skills Information

The required outcomes described in this unit of competency contain applicable facets of Employability Skills

The Employability Skills Summary of the qualification in which this unit of competency is packaged will assist in identifying Employability Skill requirements

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

Elements and Performance Criteria 


Performance Criteria 


Establish professional relationship with the client


Evaluate practice to maintain a high standard of client service


Identify and respond to special needs  of clients


Use effective communication  with clients


Encourage clients to voice queries and/or fears and address these appropriately


Take into consideration cultural and personal factors  when consulting or interacting with clients


Exercise discretion and confidentiality appropriately, outlining and explaining to clients boundaries of confidentiality as required


Define and apply boundaries  of the practitioner/ client relationship


Provide effective response to client enquiries


Present relevant information  clearly and comprehensively and in sufficient detail to meet the needs of the enquirer


Select appropriate modes of communication  to suit the enquiry and the purpose and context of the enquiry


Identify and acknowledge enquirer's expectations  


Discuss any unresolved concerns or issues with enquirers


Make appointments for clients according to workplace guidelines


Respond effectively to difficult or challenging behaviour


Plan responses to difficult or challenging behaviour and manage appropriately 


Maintain professional integrity at all times


Use basic counselling skills as required to facilitate treatment


Determine need for basic counselling  


Provide basic counselling  to facilitate treatment/ services when necessary and in accordance with practice specific guidelines 


Record details of services provided according to workplace guidelines 

Required Skills and Knowledge

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

Essential knowledge :

Effective communication strategies

Principles and practices of services provided

Various modes of communication appropriate to therapeutic practice

Basic counselling techniques

Basic information on counselling styles and theories

Basic information on human psychological development and needs

Basic information on human psychopathologies including personality disorders

Local professional counselling resources

Organisation policies, procedures and guidelines

Legal and ethical issues relating to practitioner - client relations

Essential skills :

Ability to:

Respond appropriately to a range of clients in a range of situations

Respond appropriately to special needs

Appropriately prepare and present information for a range of enquiries

Make appointments to meet a range of client needs in accordance with established business practice

Handle difficult situations

Follow workplace guidelines

Assess the need for professional counselling

Use basic counselling skills to facilitate various goals and to recognise the limitations of own counselling skills

Communicate effectively including:

active listening

clear, concise and correct written and verbal communication

passing on verbal and written messages

documentation and record keeping

correct presentation of correspondence

clarify and ascertain correct meanings from communication

establish rapport

communicate on a one-to-one and group basis

use correct grammar, spelling and punctuation

Seek assistance if necessary

Elicit information

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 competency unit :

This unit is most appropriately assessed in the workplace or in a simulated workplace and under the normal range of work conditions

Assessment may be mostly practical and examples covering a range of situations relevant to health services provided in the workplace

Evidence of workplace performance over time must be obtained to inform a judgement of competence

Assessment of this unit should be conducted concurrently with assessment of units relating to client assessment and/or provision of health services/treatments

Assessment of sole practitioners must include a range of clinical situations and different client groups covering at minimum, age, culture and gender

Assessment of sole practitioners must consider their unique workplace context, including:

Interaction with others in the broader professional community as part of the sole practitioner's workplace

Scope of practice as detailed in the qualification and component competency units

Holistic/integrated assessment including:

working within the practice framework

performing a health assessment

assessing the client

planning treatment

providing treatment

Access and equity considerations :

All workers in the health industry should be aware of access and equity 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 health issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, workers should be aware of cultural, historical and current issues impacting on health of 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 health of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities

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.

Special needs may include :


Communication difficulties

Language difficulties

Presence of children/spouse

Need for uninterrupted privacy

Need for communication aids

Effective communication includes :

Active listening

Appropriate language

Appropriate communication aids

Appropriate modes of communication

Appropriate demeanour and body language

Appropriate tone and presentation


Questioning, clarifying, advising

Providing appropriate and accurate information

Honesty and integrity

Cultural and personal factors may include :

Religious background

Racial background




Family or social factors

Boundaries may refer to :




Acknowledgement of individual needs

Appropriate sexual boundaries

Appropriate physical boundaries

Use of enquiry only as appropriate and necessary

Practitioner awareness of possibilities of client transference

Practitioner staying within area of expertise

Relevant information may include :

Confirmation of appointment date and time

Number, length and costs of visits

Location directions

Costs and payment options


Medical reports

Medication information

Procedure and practices

Information about client condition or treatment

Information about general health and self care

Background information about the practice

Information about the expertise of the practitioner

Modes of communication may include :





Personal/using technology

Enquirer expectations may include :

Potential for improved health/wellbeing

Duration for treatment


Availability for health fund rebates

Workcover eligibility

Hours and locations of visits

Manage appropriately may include :

Managing emotions

Defusing anger

Clarifying the issues

Attending to client needs

Maintaining composure and professional attitude

Providing support

Seeking assistance

The need for basic counselling may include :

To support client

To facilitate case taking

To facilitate negotiation with client

To facilitate education of client

To facilitate information giving

To assess the need for professional counselling

Basic counselling skills may include :

Attending skills, use of body language


Reflecting feelings

Open and closed questioning or probing



Exploring options

Normalising statements

Practice specific guidelines refers to :

Basic counselling is used only in order to facilitate the treatment

Clients requiring professional counselling are referred

Counselling is used as a communication tool and for emotional support when necessary to treatment

Client boundaries are respected at all times

Counselling is provided in accordance with level of training

Workplace guidelines may include :

Guidelines and procedures

Mission statements

Codes of practice

Unit Sector(s)