This presentation aims to guide you through the requirements for Reflective Practice Criterion 8 of your accreditation application
This is the first in a series of PowerPoint slides is aimed at helping you through Criteria 8 of the reflective practice section of your accreditation application. We will explore each of the criteria in turn, looking at your rationale, your use of self-awareness and your accommodation of equality and diversity in your way of working.
We will take you through these criteria step by step, explaining what is needed so that the thought of describing how you work is no longer scary.
The assessors are looking at how you meet each criterion and will stick closely to the wording of that criterion, so please take your time to go through the details.
Our hope is by the end of these PowerPoints you will have a much better idea what we are looking for. Please remember that there are guidance notes on each criterion on the website to help you through your accreditation application. The different areas of guidance can be found by following the links on the accreditation hub.
Describe a rationale for all my client work, with reference to the theories which underpin my practice.
We begin with Criterion 8.1, describing your rationale. Describe a rationale for all my client work, with reference to the theories which underpin my practice. Remember that any theories or concepts referred to in your case material for criterion 9.1 must be included in your rationale at 8.1.
Rationale - some definitions
- Reasons or intentions that cause a particular set of beliefs or actions
- Fundamental basis for a course of action
- Justification - the set of reasons that are given to explain a particular decision or action.
- Explanation of course of action
- Statement of causes or motives
So, what do we mean by the word rationale? This word can often feel like jargon and create an immediate barrier to someone trying to describe how they work. Here are the main definitions of this word.
- What does this phrase conjure up in my mind?
- Where do I start?
- What do I need to include?
In the following slides we hope to give you some pointers in addressing this criterion.
My rationale. In other words – how do I work?
In terms of what we want to see when referring to your rationale - we’re asking you to describe the reason why you work the way you do. What are your reasons for using specific theories, interventions, explanations etc?
We want you to tell us in your own words how you work and why, with each client group in your practice.
How I work. What impacts on this?
- Initial training
- Additional CPD
- Integration of theories
- Client groups
- Your words
- Context of work
All of these elements impact how you are working in your current practice.
We will address each of them in turn, unpacking what is needed.
- This will be your first experience of theories, interventions, understanding human development, how things can ‘go wrong’ in this development and how therapy can help.
- Do you use one therapy or several?
- Do you still use any of this training in your work?
- Your training is only relevant if you still use one or more of these approaches
At the beginning of your counselling journey, you will have trained in one or more approaches – person-centred, psychodynamic, CBT to name a few.
It may be that you continue to use all of these approaches, or you may have decided in favour of one approach and dropped the rest.
Your training is only relevant if you still use one or more of those approaches.
- Additional training may include working with specific client groups, specific issues (eg trauma), developing current theories or learning different theories and modalities.
- Some training is linked to specific services e.g. NHS, IAPT, EAP, or types of work eg hospice.
- Additional CPD will add to your original training, becoming part of your rationale, and therefore needs to be included in your explanation.
Any additional training will have impacted how you work in one way or another and needs to be included in your rationale.
You might have trained in different approaches, or you might have had to take on board a certain modality for a specific job – CBT or solution focused approaches are often required in short-term work.
If you work in a specific location (eg a hospice) you may have undertaken additional training specifically located to that work.
Remember, any theory or intervention used in criterion 9.1, where you explain how you have worked with your case material client, must be explained in 8.1 – there must be consistency between your case material and your rationale.
- Adding different theories to your original training will naturally change how you work.
- We want to know how you work today and this will be an accumulation of the training you have received.
- How do you bring these approaches together? What framework do you use? Why and when do you use different approaches?
This needs to be about how You work and not how the textbooks describe the theories, because your way of working is unique to you, and that’s what we want you to tell us about.
Having sorted out which theories currently underpin your practice, even if it’s only a specific element or concept, you will need to explain your understanding of each theory. We’re really not looking for an academic essay here with quotes and bibliography. We want to get a sense of how you understand and use your approaches.
If you use different approaches, we’d like to know how you bring them all together to form a coherent way of working. You might use a framework such as Egan’s stages or Clarkson’s relational model, or you might have one core theory into which you bring the others. Again, we’re not looking for an academic essay, we just want you to tell us what you do and why, including the interventions you use and how you reconcile the differences between the approaches you use eg non-directive and directive approaches.
- Do you work with one type of client eg individual adults? Or do you work with other types too – children, families, groups etc?
- We work different with each type of client, making adjustments to best support each client group.
- We need you to explain to us what adjustments you make to accommodate the different types of clients you see. These may not be huge changes, but you need to explain how you consider these adjustments in the way you work.
Although the basis of your rationale may not change when working with different client groups, we do need to know how you adapt your approach to fit. For example, working with children and young people will require different skills from working with adults, and some special considerations too (see the BACP CYP Competences and Ethical Framework for guidance here). Similarly, working with couples, families or groups will require different interventions and ways of working from individual work.
So, tell us how you adapt your ways of working to accommodate the different types of clients in your current practice.
Context – mode of contact
- The majority of counselling is face-to-face.
- Do you use email, telephone, secure video-conferencing or other electronic means of contact for your counselling sessions? How do you arrange this, what specific adjustments are considered and how do you negotiate and manage these with your client?
- Do you use an interpreter for a different spoken language or sign language? How this is negotiated and contracted?
Context can be split into two sections. The first element of the counselling context is the mode of contact. If your work is entirely face-to-face, without anyone else in the room, then this element won’t apply to you. However, many counselling interactions are now conducted via secure video link, telephone, email and some people even work outdoors and if you engage in any of these you need to explain what considerations need attention and what adjustments you then make, and how you negotiate all this with your client, and how you are equipped to work this way. Of particular concern here are issues around confidentiality.
If you work with clients needing an interpreter, again we’re looking for your explanation about how you manage this, and how it might impact the way you work.
Context – setting
- Most counsellors work in an agency or their own home.
- However, some counsellors work in client’s own home or outdoors.
- If you work in location other than an agency or your home, how are you (and therefore the way you work) impacted by your place of work?
The second element of context is the setting in which we work. Where we work is bound to have some impact on how we work. If you work in a client’s home, how does this impact on how you work – what adaptations do you have to make?
Some counsellors are now engaging in working outdoors – and we need to know how this is negotiated with the client, what specific considerations are taken into account, how the way of working is adapted to accommodate this difference and how you are qualified and equipped to work in this way.
In your own words
- How you engage with your clients is unique to you, and we’d like you to include this in your rationale.
- This criterion is about your rationale, not anybody else’s – just you! Using many references to academic books often uses many words but fails to tell us anything about your knowledge and understanding of the approaches you use. Try to resist the temptation to use lots of quotes.
- We want you to tell us about how you work and why you do what you do in your words, so we can get a sense of what you’re like in the room with your clients.
As counsellors, we often tell our clients that they shouldn’t try to emulate someone else. We work with them to become accepting of who they are because they’re unique.
So are we! The way each counsellor works is unique – even if they’ve had exactly the same training – and that’s as it should be. We want you to tell us how you impact the way you work. What do you bring into the equation with the theory, mode of contact, client group, setting? We can’t come and watch you, in the way that tutors observed you when you were training, so tell us how it might be if we were a fly on the wall.
- No clear link shown between the theory and the way you work.
- Forgetting to tell us about the interventions you use, and why.
- Forgetting to explain how you bring several different theories together.
- Telling us you have a toolkit and then forgetting to tell us what’s in there.
- Forgetting to tell us how you adapt for different client groups – the most common being CYP, closely followed by couple work.
- Forgetting to explain how working online or by telephone is different.
Finally – a few pointers about the most common pitfalls that occur with 8.1. When you explain your understanding of your rationale, it must fit the way you work and the interventions which you use. If it doesn’t fit, something needs to change.
One of the easiest ways to tell us about how you work is to describe what sort of interventions you use with your clients and why – so don’t forget to include these!
Even if you’ve given us a wonderful explanation of your understanding of the different theories you use, if you forget to tell us how you bring them all together, you may be deferred on this criterion and will be asked to resubmit to complete this.
and you can do this...
What pieces belong in your rationale?
And how do they fit together?
We look forward to receiving your application