Unit of competency details

HLTCOM404C - Communicate effectively with clients (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by CHCCOM006 - Establish and manage client relationshipsThis version was released in CHC Community Services Training Package release 2.0 and meets the requirements of the 2012 Standards for Training Packages. Significant changes to performance criteria. New evidence requirements for assessment including volume and frequency requirements. Significant changes to knowledge evidence. 05/Aug/2015
Supersedes and is equivalent to HLTCOM404B - Communicate effectively with clients 19/Apr/2011
Supersedes and is equivalent to HLTCOM4A - Communicate effectively with clients/patientsUnit updated in V4 - equivalent competency outcome 24/Mar/2011

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

Qualifications that include this unit

CodeSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Code columnTitleSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Title columnUsage RecommendationRelease
HLT32407 - Certificate III in Allied Health AssistanceCertificate III in Allied Health AssistanceSuperseded
HLT40307 - Certificate IV in Massage Therapy PracticeCertificate IV in Massage Therapy PracticeSuperseded
HLT42807 - Certificate IV in KinesiologyCertificate IV in KinesiologySuperseded
HLT60112 - Advanced Diploma of Western Herbal MedicineAdvanced Diploma of Western Herbal MedicineDeleted
HLT43112 - Certificate IV in Defence Health CareCertificate IV in Defence Health CareDeleted
HLT42812 - Certificate IV in KinesiologyCertificate IV in KinesiologyDeleted
HLT60712 - Advanced Diploma of AyurvedaAdvanced Diploma of AyurvedaSuperseded
HLT41707 - Certificate IV in Neurophysiology TechnologyCertificate IV in Neurophysiology TechnologySuperseded
HLT60812 - Advanced Diploma of Neurophysiology TechnologyAdvanced Diploma of Neurophysiology TechnologyDeleted
HLT51307 - Diploma of Hearing Device Prescription and EvaluationDiploma of Hearing Device Prescription and EvaluationSuperseded1-2 
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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
10484NAT - Certificate III in Psychosomatic TherapyCertificate III in Psychosomatic Therapy Non-Current
52580WA - Diploma of Bowen TherapyDiploma of Bowen Therapy Non-Current
10533NAT - Certificate IV in Bowen TherapyCertificate IV in Bowen Therapy Non-Current
52577WA - Advanced Diploma of Holistic Classical Yoga PracticesAdvanced Diploma of Holistic Classical Yoga Practices Non-Current
22088VIC - Certificate IV in HypnotherapyCertificate IV in Hypnotherapy Non-Current
10519NAT - Certificate IV in Mind Body MedicineCertificate IV in Mind Body Medicine Cancelled
10521NAT - Diploma of Polestar Pilates Studio and Rehabilitation MethodDiploma of Polestar Pilates Studio and Rehabilitation Method Non-Current
22208VIC - Diploma of Clinical HypnotherapyDiploma of Clinical Hypnotherapy Non-Current
22177VIC - Certificate IV in Electro Magnetic Field (EMF) Balancing TechniqueCertificate IV in Electro Magnetic Field (EMF) Balancing Technique Non-Current
22004VIC - Certificate IV in Bowen TherapyCertificate IV in Bowen Therapy Non-Current
10376NAT - Certificate IV in PilatesCertificate IV in Pilates Non-Current
10403NAT - Advanced Diploma of Alexander Technique TeachingAdvanced Diploma of Alexander Technique Teaching Non-Current
10410NAT - Certificate IV in Energy Healing (Reiki Treatment) (Therapeutic Touch)Certificate IV in Energy Healing (Reiki Treatment) (Therapeutic Touch) Cancelled
10537NAT - Diploma of Professional Pilates InstructionDiploma of Professional Pilates Instruction Non-Current
10304NAT - Certificate IV in Rebirthing/Breathwork TherapyCertificate IV in Rebirthing/Breathwork Therapy Non-Current
10334NAT - Certificate IV in BodyTalkCertificate IV in BodyTalk Non-Current
10358NAT - Advanced Diploma of Integrative Complementary MedicineAdvanced Diploma of Integrative Complementary Medicine Non-Current
10339NAT - Certificate IV in Kahuna Bodywork (Relaxation)Certificate IV in Kahuna Bodywork (Relaxation) Non-Current
10346NAT - Certificate IV in Reiki Treatment PracticeCertificate IV in Reiki Treatment Practice Non-Current
10561NAT - Certificate IV in Holistic Counselling and Mind-Body MedicineCertificate IV in Holistic Counselling and Mind-Body Medicine Non-Current
10564NAT - Certificate IV in Doula Support ServicesCertificate IV in Doula Support Services Non-Current
10003NAT - Diploma of Mind Body MedicineDiploma of Mind Body Medicine Non-Current
10567NAT - Diploma of Pilates Movement TherapyDiploma of Pilates Movement Therapy Non-Current
10540NAT - Certificate IV in Yoga TeachingCertificate IV in Yoga Teaching Non-Current
10450NAT - Diploma of Clinical Hypnosis and Strategic PsychotherapyDiploma of Clinical Hypnosis and Strategic Psychotherapy Non-Current
10419NAT - Diploma of Modern PsychologyDiploma of Modern Psychology Non-Current
10372NAT - Diploma of Integrated Somatic PsychotherapyDiploma of Integrated Somatic Psychotherapy 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 04/Nov/2011 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

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

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. Establish professional relationship with the client

1.1 Evaluate practice to maintain a high standard of client service

1.2 Identify and respond to special needs  of clients

1.3 Use effective communication  with clients

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

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

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

1.7 Define and apply boundaries  of the practitioner/ client relationship

2. Provide effective response to client enquiries

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

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

2.3 Identify and acknowledge enquirer's expectations 

2.4 Discuss any unresolved concerns or issues with enquirers

2.5 Make appointments for clients according to workplace guidelines

3. Respond effectively to difficult or challenging behaviour

3.1 Plan responses to difficult or challenging behaviour and manage appropriately 

3.2 Maintain professional integrity at all times

4. Use basic counselling skills as required to facilitate treatment

4.1 Determine need for basic counselling 

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

4.3 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 :

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

This includes knowledge of:

  • 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
  • Effective communication strategies
  • Legal and ethical issues relating to practitioner-client relations
  • Local professional counselling resources
  • Organisation policies, procedures and guidelines
  • Principles and practices of services provided
  • Various modes of communication appropriate to therapeutic practice

Essential skills :

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability 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

This includes the ability to:

  • Appropriately prepare and present information for a range of enquiries
  • Assess the need for professional counselling
  • Communicate effectively including:
  • active listening
  • clarify and ascertain correct meanings from communication
  • clear, concise and correct written and verbal communication
  • communicate on a one-to-one and group basis
  • correct presentation of correspondence
  • documentation and record keeping
  • establish rapport
  • passing on verbal and written messages
  • use correct grammar, spelling and punctuation
  • Elicit information
  • Follow workplace guidelines
  • Handle difficult situations
  • Make appointments to meet a range of client needs in accordance with established business practice
  • Respond appropriately to a range of clients in a range of situations
  • Respond appropriately to special needs
  • Use basic counselling skills to facilitate various goals and to recognise the limitations of own counselling skills
  • Seek assistance if necessary

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 :

  • The individual being assessed must provide evidence of specified essential knowledge as well as skills
  • 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 :

  • Disability
  • 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
  • Observation
  • Questioning, clarifying, advising
  • Providing appropriate and accurate information
  • Honesty and integrity

Cultural and personal factors may include :

  • Religious background
  • Racial background
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Dis/ability
  • Family or social factors

Boundaries may refer to :

  • Confidentiality
  • Privacy
  • Respect
  • 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
  • Referrals
  • 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 :

  • Verbal/non-verbal
  • Written
  • Formal/informal
  • Direct/indirect
  • Personal/using technology

Enquirer expectations may include :

  • Potential for improved health/wellbeing
  • Duration for treatment
  • Costs
  • 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
  • Paraphrasing
  • Reflecting feelings
  • Open and closed questioning or probing
  • Summarising
  • Reframing
  • 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)

Not Applicable