Vocational Graduate Diploma of Relationship Counselling

This qualification applies to workers who are employed in a family and/or couples relationship counselling role. This qualification has particular relevance to counsellors working in independently or in organisations, providing counselling interventions, (rather than counselling support), for families and/or couples experiencing relationship issues of a complex nature.

Counselling contexts may include pre- or post- separation and divorce or where the client has involvement with the Family Law system. Counsellors at this level are making high level, independent, complex judgements in highly specialised contexts.

Counselling occupations may also involve full responsibility and accountability for all aspects of work of self and others and functions including, program planning, budget, strategy, design and analysis.



11 units of competency are required for this qualification, including:

5 core units

6 elective units

A wide range of elective units is available, including:

Relevant electives listed below

Units of competency to address workplace requirements and packaged at the level of this qualification or higher in Community Services and/or Health Training Packages

Where appropriate, to address workplace requirements, up to 2 units of competency packaged at the level of this qualification or higher in other relevant Training Packages or accredited courses where the details of those courses are available on TGA or other public listing

Core units

add topic CHCDFV811C Respond to domestic and family violence in family work

add topic CHCFCS801B Apply theory and practice of counselling approaches

add topic CHCFCS802B Provide relationship counselling

add topic CHCFCS804B Provide counselling to children and young people

add topic CHCFCS806C Work within a clinical supervision framework

The importance of culturally aware and respectful practice

All workers undertaking work in the community sector need foundation knowledge to inform their work with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and co-workers and with clients and co-workers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. This foundation must be provided and assessed as part of a holistic approach to delivery and assessment of this qualification. Specific guidelines for assessment of this aspect of competency are provided in the Assessment Guidelines for the Community Services Training Package.

Relevant electives

Electives are to be selected in line with specified Packaging Rules. The following grouping of relevant electives is provided to facilitate selection and does not necessarily reflect workplace requirements. Electives may be selected from one or more groups. Employers may specify that certain electives are required to address specific workplace needs.

Family relationship electives

add topic CHCAOD510B Work effectively with clients with complex alcohol and/or other drugs issues

add topic CHCCHILD403B Promote the safety, well being and welfare of children, young people and their families

add topic CHCCS521B Assess and respond to individuals at risk of suicide

add topic CHCCS601C Work with clients with unique needs

add topic CHCFAM503B Work with a child focused approach

add topic CHCFAM505B Operate in a family law environment

add topic CHCFAM518B Work with involuntary and mandated clients

add topic CHCFAM801B Develop an understanding of child inclusive practice

add topic CHCFAM802B Work within a child inclusive framework (Note pre-requisite: add topic CHCFAM801B )

add topic CHCFAM806B Assist clients to develop parenting arrangements

add topic CHCFCS803B Provide grief and loss counselling

add topic CHCYTH506B Provide services for young people appropriate to their needs and circumstances

add topic CHCYTH511B Work effectively with young people and their families

Family and contact service practice management electives

add topic CHCCM605C Develop practice standards

add topic CHCCONS403C Support families to develop relationships

add topic CHCCONS504C Assist families to self manage contact

add topic CHCCS607E Coordinate in-service assessment and response to address client needs

add topic CHCINF604D Manage the organisation's information systems

add topic CHCORG428A Reflect on and improve own professional practice

add topic CHCORG529B Provide coaching and motivation

add topic CHCORG607D Manage workplace issues

add topic CHCORG619D Manage quality of organisation's service delivery outcomes

add topic CHCORG624E Provide leadership in community services delivery

add topic CHCPOL505B Manage research activities

add topic CHCPOL606B Coordinate policy development

add topic HLTWHS501A Manage workplace WHS processes

add topic HLTWHS601A Improve workplace WHS processes

Group work electives

add topic CHCFCS805B Provide group counselling

add topic CHCGROUP805B Support change in the social systems of group members

add topic CHCGROUP806B Plan group interventions

add topic CHCGROUP807B Implement group interventions

Domestic and family violence electives

add topic CHCDFV402C Manage own professional development in responding to domestic and family violence

NOTE: add topic CHCDFV402C Manage own professional development in responding to domestic and family violence, must be completed prior to or in conjunction with any of the following listed domestic and family violence units selected as electives.

add topic CHCDFV505C Counsel clients affected by domestic and family violence

add topic CHCDFV408C Provide support to children affected by domestic and family violence

add topic CHCDFV509D Work with users of violence to effect change

add topic CHCDFV510D Facilitate workplace debriefing and support processes

add topic CHCDFV812B Assist users of domestic and family violence to accept responsibility for their behaviour

add topic CHCDFV813B Promote accountability of users of domestic and family violence and abuse

add topic CHCDFV814B Establish change promoting relationship with users of domestic and family violence and abuse

add topic CHCDFV815B Establish and maintain the safety of people who have experienced domestic and family violence

add topic CHCDFV816B Undertake safety planning with people who have been subjected to domestic and family violence

add topic CHCDFV817B Manage domestic and family violence and abuse screening and risk assessment processes

add topic CHCDFV818C Provide programs for people who have been subject to domestic and family violence

Diversity and cultural context electives

add topic CHCCD413E Work within specific communities

add topic CHCDFV406C Provide domestic and family violence support in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

add topic CHCDFV407C Provide domestic and family violence support in non-English speaking background communities

add topic HLTHIR403C Work effectively with culturally diverse clients and co-workers

add topic HLTHIR404D Work effectively with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people

add topic AHCCCF411A Develop approaches to include cultural and human diversity

The following electives are intended for use by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander workers currently working in the area of social and emotional well being:

add topic HLTAHW507B Work effectively in social and emotional well being

add topic HLTAHW508B Develop a healing framework for social and emotional well being work

add topic HLTAHW509B Respond to loss, grief and trauma


    Not Applicable

Entry Requirements

To gain entry into CHC80208 Vocational Graduate Diploma of Relationship Counselling a candidate must have:

An undergraduate degree or higher qualification in Counselling, Psychotherapy, Psychology, Social Work, Social Science or equivalent


An accredited qualification in counselling at Diploma or Advanced Diploma level


Previous experience in a family counselling environment in a job role involving the self directed application of knowledge with substantial depth in some areas, the exercise of independent judgement and decision making, and a range of technical and other skills.

Work application requirements

For award of this qualification, candidates must complete workplace application under direct supervision. Based on this workplace application, evidence provided by the supervisor will contribute to assessment of the candidate's ability to apply skills and knowledge as specified in the core units of competency (CHCDFV811C , CHCFCS801B , CHCFCS802B , CHCFCS804B and CHCFCS806C ).

Occupational titles for these workers may include:

Child and family counsellor

Family counsellor

Contact service practice manager

Family relationship counsellor

Couples counsellor

Marriage counsellor

Divorce counsellor

Separations counsellor

Licensing Information

Not Applicable

Employability Skills

Refer to the Topic: Introduction to the Employability Skills Qualification Summaries