Health Communication Skills 1

Subject GENE90004 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 35
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Objectives, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.
It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Ms Margaret Sahhar

Phone: 03 8341 6256

Administrative Contact:

Vicki Hirt
Phone: 03 8341 6336

Subject Overview:

Issues of grief, breaking bad news and principles of interviewing with reference to families and couples will be studied. The means of study will be lectures, small group discussions and role plays. Students will attend and observe genetic counselling in a team, at Genetics Clinics within clinical genetics services, at various sites. Professional practitioners with experience in grief counselling family therapy and couple therapy will participate as tutors.

Learning Outcomes:

This subject is designed to enable students to:

  • Articulate and critically examine the various processes that impact on individuals, couples and families who receive a genetic diagnosis;
  • Critically reflect on the factors present in interviewing families, couples and individuals, and articulate the similarities and differences in couselling strategies;
  • Through observation and reflective examination of the theory, develop self awareness;
  • Understand the role of a genetic counsellor in a clinic including coordination skills; and
  • Understand and critically reflect on the role of a genetic counsellor in a multi-disciplinary team.

End of semester:

  • Written exam - 50%
  • Process record - minimum 3000 words - 40%
  • Log book - 400 words - 10%
Prescribed Texts:

A reading pack of selected reading will be available. Library available with selected texts with GHSV.

Recommended Texts:

Grief issues – Recommended Texts (plus handouts in tutorials and directed reading)

  • Bowlby, J. (1973) Attachment and Loss, Vol 2 Separation, Anxiety and Anger. NY Basic Books
  • Cook & Oltjenbruns (1989) Dying and Grieving: Lifespan and Family Perspectives. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, California U.S.A.
  • Davies, Betty (1999). Shadows in the Sun – The Experiences of Sibling Bereavement in Childhood. Taylor & Francis U.S.A.
  • Doka, K.J. (1989). Disenfranchised Grief: Recognizing Hidden Sorrow, New York: Lexington Books.
  • Herbert, M. (1996). Supporting Bereaved and Dying Children and their Parents, Melbourne: Australian Council for Educational Research Ltd.
  • Kubler-Ross Elizabeth (1969). On Death and Dying. Chelsea House Publishers U.S.A.
  • Kubler-Ross, E. (1983). On Children and Death: How Children and Their Parents Can and Do Cope With Death, New York: Touchstone.
  • Murray-Parkes Colin (1987). Bereavement: Studies of Grief in Adult Life, International University Press Inc: New York
  • Silverman, Nickman & Klass (eds) (1996). Continuing Bonds: New Understandings of Grief Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 1996
  • Stroebe & Schut (eds) (2001). Handbook of Bereavement Research: Consequences, Coping and Care, Stroebe, Hansson
  • Worden J William (2002). Grief Counselling and Grief Therapy, a Handbook for the Mental Health Professional
  • Wright, B. (1992). Skills for Caring: Loss and Grief, Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

Family Systems – Recommended Texts

  • Byng-Hall, J.(1995). Creating a family science base: some implications of attachment theory for family therapy. Family Process, 34(1), 45-48
  • Eunpu, D. (2010). Genetic Counseling strategies for working with families. In B le Roy, P McCarthy Veach, D Bartels (Ed.) Genetic Counseling Practice: advanced concepts and skills (pp235-251) New Jersey USA: Wiley-Blackwell
  • Evans, C. (2006). The gene and the family system Genetic Counselling: A Psychological Approach (p 95-114). Cambridge University Press
  • Gaff Clara I, Bylund Carma L. (eds) 2010. Family Communication About Genetics. Oxford OUP
  • Galvin Kathleen, Bylund Carma L, Brommel Bernard J. (2008) Family Communication: Cohesion and Change 7thed, Boston. Allyn and Bacon
  • Galvin, K.M, Young, M-A (2010). Family Systems Theory. In C Gaff, C Bylund (Ed.) Family Communication About Genetics, Theory and Practice (pp102-119). New York, USA: Oxford University Press
  • Galvin, K.M., F.C. Dickson, and S.R. Marrow, Systems theory: Patterns and (w)holes in family communication, in Engaging Theories in Family Communication: Multiple Perspectives, D.O. Braithwaite and L.A. Baxter, Editors. 2006, Sage: Thousand Oakes, CA.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completing the subject students should be able to:

  • Identify and understand the issues of grief, reactions to bad news and decision making in a genetic counselling interview;
  • Identify and understand the principles of working effectively in a multi-disciplinary team;
  • Critically evaluate the different and particular responses of people who come for genetic counselling and the impact of their past experience;
  • Analyse the process of a genetic counselling interview through observation;
  • Critically evaluate, comprehend and acknowledge the normality of various emotional reactions at the time of diagnosis of a genetic condition, and develop strategies within the interview for acknowledging these reactions; and
  • Present information in plain English in an accurate, non judgemental and non directive manner.
Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Genetic Counselling
Master of Genetic Counselling

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