1. Handbook
  2. Subjects
  3. Health Communication Skills 1
  4. Print

Health Communication Skills 1 (GENE90004)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5Not available in 2019

You’re viewing the 2019 Handbook:
Or view archived Handbooks


Year of offerNot available in 2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeGENE90004
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject will not be offered until 2018.

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.

Intended 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.

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.

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



End of semester:

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

Dates & times

Not available in 2019

Time commitment details

170 hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

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

    Recommended texts and other resources

    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.
  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 3 April 2019