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The counsellor education programmes at the University of Waikato are known nationally and internationally for their distinctive orientation, in teaching narrative approaches to counselling and therapy. Graduates of the programmes have taken up leadership positions as practitioners, practice leaders, researchers and counsellor educators.

Practising from a narrative orientation, a counsellor is interested in the stories that shape people’s lives. The stories that produce people’s lives are those available in the varied cultural worlds that people inhabit. Thus, a counsellor is interested in the ideas, beliefs, social structures, and norms that people live by.

Counsellors pay particular attention to the language by which stories, and lives, are produced. Therapy, then, is a particular conversation, one that invites and enables people to take up various positions in relation with themselves, others, ideas and the world around them!

Narrative therapy is a collaborative therapy. Counsellors bring a genuine curiosity to counselling conversations that explore difficulties in the light of the hopes and purposes, understandings and preferences clients hold for their lives.

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Key information

Area of Study:

500 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
COUNS540Working with Groups30.024B (Block)
This paper explores dialogic group processes with selected kinds of groups. Students will be given the opportunity to develop group membership and leadership roles through observation, participation and evaluation during an experiential workshop format and through on-line discussion and assignments. The paper includes a particular...
COUNS541Counselling Skills30.024X (Block)
This paper provides the opportunity for students to develop competence in basic relational and conversational skills of counselling within a narrative perspective. Students will develop a repertoire of counselling skills which are relevant in a variety of contexts. Video feedback and peer supervision will be used.
COUNS542Counselling Practicum30.024X (Hamilton)
This paper requires 450 counselling hours in an agency, organisation or school. This paper is taught partially online. It is a compulsory paper for the MCouns and is available only to students enrolled in this programme. Students must arrange their own practicum placement in order to meet course requirements. The arrangements must ...
COUNS543Counselling Young People and Families30.024B (Block)
This paper extends the narrative counselling skills taught in COUNS541. Its particular focus is counselling children, young people, families and couples.
COUNS544Discourse and Counselling Psychologies30.024B (Block) & 24X (Block)
This paper offers a social constructionist and poststructuralist perspective on counselling and includes consideration of cultural approaches and psychological theories which have influenced counselling practice. Students will be introduced to concepts which enable analysis of therapeutic conversations.
COUNS545Professional Practice of Counselling30.024X (Block)
This paper is designed to bring together the narrative theory and practice issues arising in COUNS542. Students will meet on campus at regular intervals throughout the year to present examples of their work with clients, to participate in peer consultation and to address common problems related concerns that are present in their co...
COUNS546Conflict Resolution: Restorative Approaches30.024B (Block)
This paper develops the skills of facilitating conflict resolution using mediation, conferencing and other types of restorative and generative conversations in families, schools and other contexts. A narrative perspective on conflict resolution features strongly in the paper.
COUNS549Counselling and Contexts30.024A (Block) & 24H (Block)
This paper provides an overview of counselling practice and its contexts, including optional modules on school counselling, or addictions. It teaches the skills and ethical perspectives of collaborative approaches to counselling, offering a particular introduction to narrative therapy.

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Graduate study options


Counsellor Education Programme Guide 2024


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