The conviction that people are best understood as "persons-in-relationship" has implications for the therapeutic approach adopted by the counsellor. This course is the first of six that form a core counselling practice development stream through the Bachelor of Counselling. The course combines theological and theoretical reflection with skill development and group-process workshops. It begins to develop a set of core person-centred practices aimed at I-Thou engagement that emphasise the restoration of self-awareness and the enriching of dialogical relationships.

Key to a relational approach to counselling is the therapeutic relationship, or encounter, during which counsellor and client create a relational canvas upon which the change and growth can be sketched and explored. This third course in the core counselling practice development stream expands the student’s understanding of this encounter, and introduces narrative therapy as a means of assisting people to engage the social dimension of their lives. It explores the place of "story" in personal meaning-making, and advances skill development in a classroom and the group process workshop.

Relational breakdown and dysfunction have psychological, social and theological foundations. The fifth course in the core counselling practice development stream develops the skills to identify where and how relationality has been damaged and where people have intentionally, or unintentionally, developed ways of relating that are damaging to themselves and others. It combines practice, theoretical, and theological reflection with group-based learning, and enriches the student’s ability to practice counselling in a personally and theoretically integrated way.

This foundational course introduces counselling as a therapeutic relational engagement that finds its context, and its goal, in knowledge of God and humanity drawn from the story of Christ. From this critical standpoint it engages with a broad range of counselling theories and models of practice.

Families/whanau, understood as unique and culturally-representative relational systems, provide a primary context for the formation of persons-in-relationship. This course combines theoretical and theological reflection in order to explore these family/whanau dynamics and develop strategies for therapeutically engaging with people within the context of their family/whanau relationships.

The aim of this course is to form professional counselling practices for working with children and young people in agency and school settings. The course is designed to complement Laidlaw’s broad counsellor education programme’s emphasis on relational personhood through providing a coherent understanding of child development, within family/whanau and wider social contexts. The course includes a strong practice development component in which different child counselling approaches such as skills in working with adolescents and families are taught and practiced. This course also gives an overview of ways of understanding and working with adolescents, and the professional and practice challenges and opportunities of school and agency settings.

This course explores questions about human suffering and the God who engages with humans at the level of their despair. It engages with how the scriptures acknowledge human suffering, and looks at hope from a biblical/ theological/ anthropological/ relational perspective.

A well-integrated understanding of ethical counselling practice and the ability to reflect robustly on this is fundamental to offering clients the safety to encounter self and others. This course introduces professional practice and requires students to reflect on 30 hours of counselling practice in a practicum placement.

Central to a relational approach to counselling is the therapeutic relationship. It is in the context of this relationship, and on the basis of the trust that has developed, that the counsellor is able to invite the client to an awareness of themselves and others as relationally-constituted and impacted persons. This course requires students to experience 60 hours of practicum placement (plus preparation, reading and reporting), in order to integrate theoretical, theological and personal reflections, as well as development of skills and process.