Graduate Diploma in Counselling

The faith-based Graduate Diploma in Counselling uniquely integrates theology, counselling, and psychology with an emphasis on practice. Students will benefit from a good understanding of how to integrate spirituality and faith into counselling in multi-cultural Asia. They will also acquire a deep knowledge of the psychological theories underpinning counselling. The interaction of spirituality and faith, and psychology will also be explored. Graduates from the programme will be competent to manage counselling cases involving individuals as well as families.

The core modules of the Graduate Diploma in Counselling meet the requirements of the Singapore Association for Counselling (SAC) and the International Registry of Counsellor Education Programmes (IRCEP).


In general, admission to the Asian Pastoral Institute is based upon Christian faith and experience, as well as academic record. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with Grade Point Average (GPA) of minimally 2.7 out of 4, or its equivalent. Applicants would arrange to have their references submit two Forms of Reference directly to the Registrar. The two references can come from a pastor/church elder, Christian leader, employer and/or academic lecturer who have known the applicants for at least one year. If an applicant does not meet the minimum academic requirements, the applicant may be considered for probationary or special admission on the merits of the case.


The Graduate Diploma in Counselling is a 48-credit programme taught over one year. Students will register for two taught modules per quarter. Students who complete eight taught modules and the counselling practicum fulfill the requirements of the Graduate Diploma in Counselling. These students are eligible to apply to read the Master of Arts in Counselling and Community Work.


This subject enhances the students’ understanding of human development in relation to the biopsychosocial and spiritual factors which influence growth and changes over the lifespan. Students will be introduced to developmental themes across different life stages and understand its relevance for counselling practice and faith-based perspectives. They will also gain skills in using questioning and interviewing techniques to assess the developmental background of a person during counselling sessions.


This subject aims to equip students with essential counselling skills and useful strategies, with the consideration of the Christian context. The developmental counselling approach which combines developmental and ecological approaches will be introduced. Students will learn to apply major developmental theories, such as Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory and Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Framework in their assessment and intervention in the counselling process. Through regular practice, students will be familiar with the essential counselling skills and apply them in the counselling and ministry contexts.


This subject aims to introduce students to a proper approach to writing academic research papers. Topics covered include the use of reference tools, identification of research issues and organisation of materials. Students will also learn to formulate thesis statements and develop relevant supporting arguments.


This subject covers principles and issues of professionalism and ethics in counselling to develop counsellors to become ethically responsible in professional practice. They will familiarise themselves with the Singapore Association for Counselling (SAC) Code of Ethics and expose to American Association of Christian Counsellors (AACC) Code of Ethics. They will also be given introductions or references to other professional ethical codes, such as those from the Singapore Psychological Society (SPS), Singapore Association of Social Workers (SASW), American Counseling Association (ACA), and the American Psychological Association (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Students will be introduced to ethical principles, professional guidelines, ethical decision-making models, and issues pertaining to specific client groups and context. They will also explore ethical issues specific to counselling in diverse spiritual and cultural contexts.


This subject introduces students to tools for assessments and advanced counselling skills. Students will get first-hand experiences of using a variety of assessment tools, such as Mental State Examination, Religious Status Interview, and suicide risk assessments to inform their assessment and formulation of cases. The module also covers several clinical interventions such as cognitive, behavioural, and emotion-focused approaches for treatment planning. Case studies, roleplays, and spiritual considerations for assessments and interventions are core features of this subject.


This subject helps students to understand the theoretical perspective of marriage and family and gives the theological perspectives on the various topics. It also provides concept of marriage and family life from the developmental perspective. Using Family Systems Theory and Family Life Cycle Theory, students will understand how family dynamics impact the growth and development of an individual. Topics studied include traits of a healthy marriage, communication, conflict resolution, gender roles within a marriage, phases and styles of parenting, roles and goals of parents and the importance of sex education for children and possible threats to the family. These topics will be underpinned by spiritual and theological understandings.


This subject introduces students to the central theories that have shaped contemporary counselling and therapeutic practice. The history and unique contributions from four theoretical branches are surveyed: Freudian and post-Freudian psychodynamic theories; Jungian analytical psychological approach; behavioural and cognitive-behavioural theories; and humanistic and existential theories. Christian theological perspectives will be used to critically evaluate such psychological ideas. Overall, the course has a strong applied focus where students will learn to formulate cases from various theoretical positions.


Students will be introduced to the theories and practices of group counselling. They will learn about group dynamics, group processes and the different types of group work in counselling. Students will learn skills to conduct group counselling and practice group facilitation skills. Theological discussions will be applied to question the process and practice of group counselling.


The programme offers an extensive 16 credits (160 hours) of counselling practicum to serve as platform for students to integrate and apply their knowledge and skills in clinical settings. Furthermore, the counselling practicum serves to increase students’ clinical competency and cultivate confidence in their clinical practice. The practicum aims to develop students’ professional capacity as a counsellor, guided by the theoretical knowledge and professional ethics gained in their classroom learning. Students have extensive opportunity to apply counselling theories and techniques in a one-to-one counselling context during their attachment with an approved social service agency.


Students are required to fulfil counselling practicum requirements of 160 hours in total, spread over the entire programme. The counselling practicum, including supervision, will be undertaken at either API Care and Counselling Centre or an approved social service agency.

The counselling practicum focuses on building students’ practical knowledge in performing intake interviews and conducting counselling sessions. Students would be able to apply and integrate counselling theories in assessment, case conceptualisation, and to formulate and implement appropriate interventions for the benefit of clients, with guidance from their clinical supervisors.

Personal Therapy

In addition, students are required to go through 4 sessions of personal therapy during the course. The purpose of the therapy is to help students identify and address issues that may affect their practice as a counsellor and prepare them towards becoming a more effective counsellor.

Graduation Requirements

The Graduate Diploma in Counselling is a 48-credit programme. Students would be awarded a Graduate Diploma in Counselling if they

  • successfully complete 8 taught modules with a GPA of minimally 2.7 out of 4
  • fulfill all requirements of 160 hours of counselling practicum
  • fulfill all requirements of clinical supervision and group supervision
  • fulfill all requirements of personal therapy
  • demonstrate a godly character, integrity, and discipline in guided supervision
  • fulfill all requirements within the maximum candidature of four years

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