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HAND OF HOPE: TAFE NSW Accidental Counselling course to aid community healing


HAND OF HOPE: TAFE NSW Accidental Counselling course to aid community healing

REACHING OUT: A unique TAFE NSW course aims to help all walks of life better deal with emotional trauma in others.

18 May 2021

A unique short course aimed at empowering ordinary citizens to reach out to those in distress is being offered at all TAFE NSW campuses in the Riverina and Illawarra regions.

The Statement of Attainment in Accidental Counselling, a one-day course delivered by virtual classroom, offers basic counselling skills to residents who are not trained mental health professionals but often find themselves thrust into a “de facto counselling” role by friends, family, colleagues or clients.

It comes amid a pandemic that has had profound impacts on the mental wellbeing of the community, with Lifeline, Kids Helpline and BeyondBlue all reporting spikes in people seeking help compared to pre-COVID levels.

TAFE NSW counselling teacher Rochelle Armstrong, who delivers the course, said “accidental counsellors” played an even more critical role in times of public uncertainty.

“In the current climate, with all the uncertainties and stresses, more and more people are being asked to have difficult conversations with others in distress or crisis,” Ms Armstrong said.

“This course gives you a framework on how to facilitate those difficult conversations in a supportive way.

“It arms students with the basic skills to tune in and listen to someone in distress in a really engaging way.”

Ms Armstrong said they were practical, hands-on skills that would stay with students for life and be adaptable to both personal and professional situations.

Other topics covered by the course include limit setting and boundaries, dealing with crisis, debriefing and self-care.

Charlene Vaughan enrolled in the course last year to help her in her workers compensation role at Rehabilitation Services by Altius Group.

“I was being exposed to a lot of trauma-related claims and finding it difficult to navigate the emotional terrain,” Ms Vaughan said.

“I was always interested in counselling and it was a great way to dip my toe in the water.”

Ms Vaughan got so much out of the course, she has now enrolled in a Diploma of Counselling through TAFE NSW.

The Accidental Counselling course will be held at TAFE NSW campuses in the Riverina and Illawarra on 26 May and 9 June. For more information call 131 601 or visit

Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, (02) 6938 1441, mobile 0477 722 428