Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Community Services)

Start a Fulfilling Career in Community Service

Are you passionate about helping disadvantaged groups of people? If you have firm thoughts about what could and should be done to help groups that need support, this is the program for you. By studying a Bachelor of Applied Science in Community Services, you’ll be able to enter a range of dynamic roles in the community and public sectors.

What are my career opportunities?
The need for skilled, empathic workers in the field of Community Services is growing. Here are just some of the avenues that you may find a long a fulfilling career in:

  • Child and family services
  • Homelessness
  • Alcohol and other drugs
  • Domestic violence
  • Migrants and refugees
  • Community counselling agencies
  • Disability services
  • Aged care
  • Local government councils
  • Indigenous groups

Torrens University is thrilled to build on the 40+ years of excellence of Jansen Newman Institute (JNI), the leading counselling institution in our network to now bring you a university qualification of Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Community Services).

Our passionate lecturers are proud to be sharing their knowledge and experience with you every step of the way on your journey towards your rewarding career. This course is designed in partnership with industry experts to meet real industry demands, with a hands-on approach, and delivered in purpose-built facilities. This will put you at the forefront of the current and future industry as the leader within your profession.

This course focuses on practical training while providing a solid grounding in the relevant theory. It includes fieldwork placements, ensuring that you graduate with valuable experience and industry contacts.

Early Exit Qualifications
If you leave this course after completing all Level 100 units, you may be eligible for the Diploma of Applied Social Science qualification.

 

QUALIFICATION CODE
CRICOS CODE
097401C

Key Study Outcomes:

About the School

This course is delivered by Torrens University Australia Ltd, ABN 99 154 937 005, RTO 41343, CRICOS 03389E.

Read more about Torrens University Australia

Torrens University Australia

Course Delivery

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Workload and Assessment

No. of timetabled hours per week:

It is expected that each subject, whether studied online or on-campus, will involve a combined total of 120 hours of structured and self-directed learning, which equates to approximately 10 hours a week for subjects over 12-week trimesters.

Typical assessment includes:

Assessments vary and include: critical analysis and essay writing, literature reviews, needs assessment, project development and evaluation, in-class debates, participation in online discussion forums, short questions, and research projects.

Subject Information

This subject examines human rights and governments’ responsibility to uphold them. Topics include: theories of power and oppression, the concept of empowerment, the human rights movement, the establishment and significance of institutions such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization, and their role in developing and implementing international agreements on the fundamental principles of human rights such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In addition, students examine the link between human rights and health and well-being, the protection of the rights of citizens, workers, and vulnerable groups, the concept of advocacy and its practice in promoting social change, and the role of human rights commissions, ombudsmen, and guardianship and other health tribunals.

This subject examines the practice and skills required for case management and program development in the community services sector, by drawing on examples from a range of client groups such as the elderly, people living with disabilities and chronic illness, homeless people, ex-offenders, refugees and migrants with settlement issues. The subject includes an overview of the theory and practice of program planning, development and evaluation using case studies that address the complex and varied needs of clients groups. In addition, attention is also given to the role of carers and the unpaid support given by relatives, friends and neighbours, which often constitute informal management and support to people in need.
Other topics include formative and summative methods of evaluation, insider/outsider debates about evaluation programs, and working with stakeholders to identify the needs and the programs required to address them, and how to evaluate the programs. Various methods of evaluation are examined, including interviews with key informants, client satisfaction surveys and focus groups, and students also learn how evaluation data are analyzed and presented.

This is a core unit for the Counselling and Community Services majors.
This subject introduces students to the theory, principles and skills of community development practice as a way of building capacity in community groups over the long term. The philosophical basis of community development as a method of social change and social action through building consensus, participation, advocacy and democracy are examined. Examples of innovative community development programs in public housing, Indigenous communities, disadvantaged areas and cultural communities are an important part of this subject, and guest lecturers from the field will provide practical examples of community development. In acknowledging the diversities and differences within communities, students consider the possibilities for collaboration, advocacy and strategic community planning in initiating action and change. Students develop community development skills in working with advisory groups and communities, community consultation, and running public forums in order to develop their skills as community development practitioners.

This is a core unit in all the Applied Social Science courses.
This subject builds on Introduction to SOC202A Social Research Methods and helps students further extend their skills in qualitative methods that are particularly relevant and useful to social science research in the sectors of health, community services, counselling and human resources. It assists students to understand the process of research, including developing proposals before undertaking research, specifying research questions, selection of the most appropriate research methods for the question, sampling, data collection, data analysis and reporting. Students learn through practice how to conduct semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and/or observation exercises, and reporting the results. The subject covers some techniques and methods for analyzing data, including discourse, thematic and narrative analysis.

This is a core unit for the Counselling and Community Services majors.
This subject provides an overview of the principles of substance‐related addictions and the processes and mechanisms that underlie addiction. Students are introduced to the developmental course of addiction, risk and protective influences, and the effects of addiction on health and well-being. The subject covers different forms of addictive behaviours that present in the community, including substance dependency (alcohol, tobacco, prescription and illicit drugs), problem gambling, and compulsive sexual and eating behaviour. A critical examination of the concept of addiction will consider why the use of some substances or behaviours is socially problematic and culturally contingent. The subject adopts a multi-disciplinary approach to examine the biological, psychological and social factors that are associated with addictive behaviours. Students learn to critically appraise and reflect on the shift from the disease model to approaches that draw on behavioural and social scientific theories.

This is a core unit for the Counselling and Community Services majors.
This subject introduces students to ethics from a variety of perspectives, including deontology and consequentialism, principlist and virtue ethics, narrative and communitarian ethics, and the ethics of self-care. Students learn how ethical and legal frameworks are applied to community services, and in the clinical, public health, and research contexts. They learn to reflect on what are legal or ethical dilemmas in health and community care provision and practice the use of the conceptual and legal tools available to health and community services workers, as well as to the public, for making decisions in relation to health, community care and counselling.
Topics include ethics theories, codes of ethics for professionalization, and ethics for research, public health, disability and vulnerable groups, internal reporting and whistleblowing, and the ethics of self-care. All practitioners must know how their work is regulated by legal frameworks; students thus learn about tort and negligence law, professional responsibility, duties, and misconduct, mandatory reporting, the protection of vulnerable groups, and privacy and confidentiality at work.

This is a core unit in all the Applied Social Science courses.
This subject gives students an overview of the methods used in social science research. It examines the models and techniques of social research across quantitative and qualitative methods, including surveys and sampling, questionnaires, focus groups, structured, semi-structured and unstructured interviews. It asks, what is the research basis of knowledge and how do we know what we know? It prepares students for understanding the nature of the research process, through direct application of basic interview technique, transcription and first level analysis. Students learn to reflect on their findings and the process involved for conducting social research through their experience of interviewing using techniques such as unstructured, semi-structured and structured interviews, and through a scholarly analysis of the literature on research methods.

This is a core unit for the Counselling and Community Services majors.
Students undertake placements in the community sector with the aim of building skills with a variety of client groups and presentations. The organizations can include community counselling agencies, government counselling or welfare centres, child/youth service or aged care facilities, neighbourhood centres, correctional facilities, or hospital pastoral care settings. They gain further practical experience in working with individuals and groups and are supported with supervision in a variety of formats such as weekly debriefing and case conferences.
This provides the opportunity for students to learn from contact with other community services workers, critical incidents, ethical dilemmas, tensions, questions and insights. This subject uses an experiential learning process that is based on theory, and group participation with peers and supervisors. Students are required to attend two 3-hour workshops in weeks 1 and 5 to prepare them for their fieldwork. Students also receive a total of 5 hours supervision by the placement supervisor.

This is a core unit in all the Applied Social Science courses.
As our number of relationships expands, so too does the potential for conflict. This subject looks at the nature of interpersonal conflict, and explores strategies for resolution such as mediation, conferencing and restorative justice. It begins by considering the nature of conflict, theories about its causes, and how conflict manifests in relationships, groups, communities and internationally. It then introduces students to key conflict management strategies and gives steps as to how we might reduce unhealthy forms of conflict and arrive at positive, healthy relationships based on empathy and understanding. The subject also considers anger management strategies in addressing entrenched, high conflict situations.

This is a core unit for the Counselling and Community Services majors.
This subject builds on the knowledge and skills developed in Applied Counselling 1. It helps students develop a greater understanding of the various therapeutic approaches that draw on psychodynamic theories, person-centred therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy, feminist therapy, solution-focused therapy and narrative therapy. The subject also examines the influence of the counsellor on the counselling process, and counselling practice with children, adolescents and families, drawing on the developmental knowledge acquired in the subject Human Development Across the Lifespan. Students develop a greater understanding of the skills needed for various modalities and reflect on their own development as a therapist.

This is a core unit for the Counselling and Community Services majors.
This subject is designed for students to gain basic understanding of mental health. It includes definitions of mental health, mental health theories, risk factors and disorders. The impact of mental illness in the community, and particularly on individual people’s lives is explored along with approaches to health care, and the role of advocacy by community care workers and services.
Myths and stigma surrounding mental health are critically examined, with special focus on how social and cultural perceptions shape both the experience of mental illness and service provision. The subject includes definitions and classification systems in mental health.

This is a core unit for the Counselling and Community Services majors.
This subject provides the context for understanding health and well-being in Australia. It begins by exploring the critical perspectives associated with defining health and well-being, and what impacts these definitions have on various sections of the community, especially those considered most marginal. Health policies, perceptions and promotional activities are analysed as to their impact on health equity and access to services and resources for various sections of the population. The health of individuals, community and society is also discussed in terms of the workplace, the environment and the proximity to service centres such as cities and towns. Students learn about current debates and the impact of service-users, consumer advocates and worker responses. International policies and research will inform many of the discussions.

This is a core unit for the Counselling and Community Services majors.
This subject introduces students to the structure, purpose and nature of the Australian health care system and community services. It explores the many contexts, settings and roles within this area of work, including the policies, theories and practices applicable to this field. Students learn about the important role and function of occupations in community services, and the practices involved such as advocacy, lobbying, networking, and support and service coordination. Students develop an understanding of the variety of community sector organizations that operate in Australia, sources of funding provided by local, state and federal governments, and the challenges, barriers and opportunities for accessing and providing the relevant but scarce resources to those in need. Attention will also be given to community development and programs through examples such as public housing, Indigenous community development, community consultation and public fora.

This is a core unit in all the Applied Social Science courses.
In this subject students examine the nature and practice of social policy development through a study of key public policy areas such as education, health, welfare, the family, crime and law and order policy, drug and alcohol policy and employment policy. The focus of policy discussions is primarily within the context of Australian social, economic and political systems.
Students examine the theoretical underpinnings of policy development, the role of politics and lobby groups in influencing social policy, the policy process, and how policy decisions are monitored and evaluated. The role of associations, such as NCOSS and ACOSS, and churches in monitoring the impact of government policy and advocating for vulnerable groups within society are also examined, with a view to students considering ‘how else’ policies can be informed and used effectively to bring about change and improvement to social conditions.

This is a core unit in all the Applied Social Science courses.
In this subject, students are introduced to the interdisciplinary practice of social analysis and its role in understanding the various human elements and social institutions that constitute our communities and societies. It covers a variety of important social theories through which to understand human practices, identities and social structures. In particular, students learn how cultural, historical, economic and political factors shape the human experience.
Students develop social analysis skills to critically examine how human and social elements shape our views about equality, justice and fairness. The subject encourages students to assess the relevance of these elements to our social and professional relations.

This is a core unit in all the Applied Social Science courses.
In this subject, students are introduced to the core skills for counselling and change work, with specific reference to working with adults. The subject provides students with an opportunity to develop their counselling skills in an interactive and supportive learning environment with feedback from others, and to begin considering their preferred counselling style. The interrelationships between counselling theories and models and skills are explored. This subject also focuses on the research into counselling outcomes and effective change processes.

This is a core unit in all the Applied Social Science courses.
This subject introduces students to the field of developmental psychology and explores what drives or motivates human behaviour. It examines the key life stages of birth, early and later childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, mid-life, ageing and death, taking into account their social and cultural contexts. Students are introduced to the work of scholarly work on the subject of human development.
Drawing on a diversity of disciplines, topics include theories of attachment, cognitive and social development and the role of families and communities in supporting healthy development.

This is a core unit in all the Applied Social Science courses.
In this subject, students are introduced to influential counselling theories, including Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic theories, Person-centred Therapy, Existential Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Family Therapy, Feminist Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy and Narrative Therapy.
The subject utilises a range of experiential learning strategies including skills modelling and case studies and introduces students to the counselling interventions used for each of these models. Such understanding is further developed in COU104 Applied Counselling 1, where students have the opportunity to observe and practise some of the therapeutic interventions used within these modalities.

This is a core unit in all the Applied Social Science courses.
This subject explores aspects of counselling as a form of interpersonal communication and considers the role of self and culture, as well as important relational skills such as perception, listening and reflection. Students learn about different modes of interpersonal communication including verbal, nonverbal, written and oral, as well as the barriers to effective communication and approaches for overcoming them.
The subject also examines how different types of relationships (family, work, personal, and social groups) can be enhanced through effective communication. An informed awareness of power and rank is discussed.

This is a core unit for the Community Services major.
This placement is of 200 hours duration. Placements are in the community sector or in an organization where students will gain further practical experience in working with individuals and groups.
The practical placement experiences will be supported with supervision in a variety of formats; this provides students with the opportunity to practice a range of activities such as case management, client services, program planning and development, individual and group assessment, advocacy and support work. Students are required to engage in community service work in these placements working alongside other professionals. Students are also required to attend two 3-hour workshops in weeks 1 and 5 to prepare them for the fieldwork.
Formal supervision will occur at a rate of 1 hour per 40 hours of placement work.

This is a core unit for the Community Services major.
This subject helps students develop an understanding of diversity in Australia and examines the evolution of multiculturalism since colonization. Students develop the skills for working effectively with diverse client groups such as Indigenous Australians, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds including migrants and refugees, and a variety of other minority groups. Drawing on case studies and experienced guest lecturers from the field, the subject examines community welfare in practice, including how various government and non-government agencies respond to issues of difference and social disadvantage through community development interventions. The various concepts of citizen, consumer, service user, client and consultant are examined to understand how different agencies define the rights and responsibilities of people accessing services.

While child welfare is about the care of children’s health and wellbeing, the term is now closely associated with child protection and statutory child protection agencies. The subject examines this concept and broadens the debate to include the mitigation of societal factors such as poverty, unemployment, family violence, culture and ethnicity, class and gender as part of the broader picture. The origins of the professional regulation of child welfare are examined, as well as the moral panic around child protection issues. Challenges and major issues for the care and protection of children are addressed, as well as the professional challenges in developing a ‘best practice’ approach. Other topics include the principle of child protection services, education and research into child protection, policy and the continued development of specific children and family services.

In this subject, students learn about end of life matters including where death and dying take place. Central to this is understanding what is palliative care and what it involves, and the professional roles that operate in the field. Students learn about the practices of symptom control, pain assessment and management, as well as therapeutic communication skills for the end of life. The subject explores cultural differences and diversity in attitudes toward death and dying, and culturally sensitive communication with patients and their significant others. Students also critically examine the availability of palliative care services in Australia as well as the medicalization of death, dying and bereavement. Theories of grief and bereavement are examined, as well as the goals and principles underpinning palliative care philosophy and evidence-based practices in the field. Finally, an important aspect of this topic is the emotional impact of working in this area, the importance of practising self-care and boundary management, teamwork participation and support.

This subject examines understandings of spirituality in the context of counselling/ psychotherapy. Special attention will be given to notions of romance, sexuality and intimacy, and how these relate to spirituality. The subject also seeks to highlight parallel dimensions and contrasts between personal and therapeutic relationships. The discussion is aimed at fostering an integrated path for understanding psychotherapeutic intimacy beyond the limitations of diagnosis, symptomology and pathology.

This subject provides an introduction to the foundation principles and core concepts of Gestalt Therapy theory, methodology and contemporary practice. An introduction to a creative approach to working sensitively and systematically within the professional relationship is offered.
The focus in this subject is on assisting students to understand and apply the Gestalt Therapy Approach to their personal and professional experience and the group process. Particular attention is given to the core concepts of (1) awareness; (2) the personal narrative; (3) the cycle of experience; (4) organismic self-regulation; (5) contact, contact styles and boundary functions; (6) dialogues and the personal conversation; (7) the paradoxical theory of change; and (8) experimentation and a unit of work.

The importance of body-sensing in healing was discovered by Dr Eugene Gendlin in collaboration with Carl Rogers at the University of Chicago in the 1960’s. This subject examines how our thoughts and feelings guide us in life. Yet there is a more profound knowing: our “felt-sense”, the body’s own wisdom. Focusing is a process that enables us to access this inner knowing. In this experiential workshop, students learn how to consistently tap into and trust their inner knowing.
The skill of Focusing can be used to enhance one’s life and to enhance the work that counsellors do with clients. It is a method that can be integrated with and support any modality of counselling/psychotherapy.

The practice of existential counselling and psychotherapy is grounded in three thousand years of Western philosophy, involving itself with the everyday concerns of human existence and attempting to seek answers to what it means to be human. This subject examines how existential philosophy is practised both as a specific psychotherapy modality as well as how the existential themes and questions can be integrated into any practice.

In this elective, students will become familiar with key narrative concepts and there will be some comparison with ideas found in other modalities. The central practices and skills associated with narrative therapy will be illustrated and, by drawing on students’ own stories, they will have vivid, first-hand experiences of narrative from both a practitioner’s and client’s point of view.

The effects of trauma are seen across the spectrums of psychological disorders and in particular in the signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. The ‘Trauma model’ of mental health offers an alternative perspective to the current ‘Medical/biological model’ of mental health disorders. This elective broadens the scope of students’ current knowledge and skills mainly relating to developmental trauma and attachment issues by providing up-to-date developments in both crisis intervention and trauma counselling assessment, attitudes, skills and methods. The balance between empathy and boundary setting and boundary maintenance, require that counsellors manage opposing but required elements of successful trauma counselling. A thorough knowledge of how to recognize, assess and work with critical incidents and trauma dynamics are essential skills for any professional working within a clinical context.

This subject introduces students to theories and research in the area of substance abuse. It examines the continuum between drug use, abuse, dependence and addiction, and the physical dependence created by the use of prescription and recreational drugs. It also examines the role of family, community, residential and detox services. Students investigate and apply analytical skills for discussing the controversies and social stigma surrounding drug and alcohol use, and the contrasting ideologies underpinning harm minimization, risk and abstinence. Attention is given to programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, AI-Anon and Narcotics Anonymous that use the 12-step program, step reduction programs available on the web such as Smart Recovery, assessment methods such as the CAGE questionnaire. The subject also covers policy informing programs, and the dominant models for drug and alcohol counselling, including motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

This is a core unit for the Counselling major.
The effects of grief in terms of human suffering and the associated costs for providing support are critical issues that need to be addressed in community care and counsellor training. This subject teaches students the required skills for dealing with grief and loss associated with the experiences of ageing, trauma, bereavement and relationship breakdown.
Many of these topics are relevant for a broad spectrum of the population but a substantial focus is on cumulative losses as people age. Students learn to work compassionately with people who suffer the psychological fall-outs and face existential questions following multiple losses such as declining physical and mental health, role function and social connectedness. Students learn to develop a holistic approach to grief counselling practice, whilst recognizing and respecting the uniqueness of each client’s experience.

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