For Criterion 9 we want you to provide case material to demonstrate your way of working in practice. You can either write about one client or up to two separate clients. The client's story is not significant - the purpose is for you to illustrate your work as a practitioner.

Criterion 9 has six sub-criteria, with a total word limit of 3,000.

For previous criteria, you may have written a paragraph for each of the individual sub-criterion but case study material may not fit so neatly. A single sentence or paragraph may provide evidence for more than one of the sub-criterion (but it's unlikely to meet all six). This is quite acceptable but make sure you indicate where you believe you're meeting the individual criteria.

Don't provide transcripts of client sessions or present your case material as an academic essay. For example, you don't need to fully reference published works, authors or theories unless you are directly quoting someone else - but it's your own words we really want to read.

Choose case material that is typical of your current work. You should have worked with the client in the last six months and the work does not have to be finished.  You don't need your client's permission to use the case material but, to comply with the Ethical Framework, you must ensure they can't be identified from what you write. 

You may want to use case studies you've written for other purposes in the past, such as a diploma assignment. We're interested in your current practice so it's unlikely you'll meet all the criteria with an old case study, especially one written while you were a student.

All your case material must be verified and commented on in your Supervisor’s report.

9.1 How your practice is consistent with your described way of working (as described in 8.1)

All the interventions and approaches you describe in your case material must be included in and consistent with your rationale for your way of working described in criterion 8.1.

Don't reference criterion 8 in your case material, but whenever you feel you're demonstrating how you use your rationale and the theories which underpin your practice, reference this to 9.1. Tell us how you worked, what you did and why you made the interventions described.

9.2 How you use your self-awareness in the therapeutic relationship

Show how you used your own reflective awareness of yourself - your own thoughts, feelings and responses to the case material - in the work undertaken. Remember we're assessing your self-awareness, not your awareness of the counselling process or whether your client gained self-awareness.  

9.3 How your practice demonstrates your awareness of issues of difference and equality and the impact they have upon your counselling or psychotherapy relationships

Explain how your awareness of these issues impacted on your work with the client or clients you're writing about.

How did your awareness of issues of difference and equality between you and your client affect the way you worked? How did your client perceive themselves in relation to others? What about similarities? How did you guard against being seduced into over identification by similarities between yourself and other client groups, and so on?

9.4 Use of the BACP Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions

Show how you made use of elements of the Ethical Framework within your work. For example you may have had an ethical dilemma or found maintaining boundaries challenging. Don't reference every section or guiding principle but select specific examples which you feel demonstrate your ethical awareness and thinking.

9.5 Describing the awareness you have gained through reflection in and on supervision


9.6 Showing how you apply that awareness in your practice

Preferably using the same case study, show how reflecting upon the work with your supervisor facilitated enhanced awareness about the work as it unfolded.

Don't just write about your supervision in general terms, or say you took a case to supervision, but demonstrate your use of supervision in practice.

For 9.5 tell us what awareness you gained through reflection on the case material in supervision.

For 9.6 explain how that awareness was applied in practice in subsequent sessions with the same client.


Should I get client consent?

It’s up to you if you apply for consent from a client you're going to write about, but obviously you must if you’re asked to do so by the agency or organisation you're working for. It's not a BACP requirement because we ask that you completely anonymise any case material you send us, but the onus is on you to protect the confidentiality of the client. We shred everything once you've been awarded your accreditation.

What common mistakes do candidates make?

Don't go into too much detail about the client’s situation. We're interested in the interventions you made as a therapist rather than the client's story so just give us enough context.

A client I worked with some time ago sometimes comes back for shorter periods of counselling. Is it ok to use this client for criterion 9?

Yes. You just need to choose a client that is fairly typical of the type of client you see on a weekly basis. Provided you can write evidence which meets all of the sub criterion we don't make any judgement about which client you use. Problems can arise when people submit case material from a client that they have seen a long time ago, usually because they're trying to re-engineer something they've written before, perhaps for a college assignment.

What's the best way to reference the case material in criterion 9?

In the first part of the application form, it's fairly easy to write a paragraph under each of the separate criterion headings. When you write in your case material, it's a little more difficult. Case material doesn't really lend itself to neat paragraphs under each of the sub criterion headings, so you're more likely to be writing a sentence or paragraph and referencing several of the sub criterion.

So when you're presenting your case material, you may describe your way of working and tell us about an intervention that you've made. Put 9.1 at the end of the sentence to tell us that it links with your way of working.

Or you may write a couple of sentences and feel that tells us how you're working, but it also demonstrates that you had an awareness of your own thoughts and feelings, so you might reference it 9.1 and 9.2. Or you may have some self-awareness around an issue that also demonstrates your awareness of some issue of difference, in which case you would reference it as 9.2 and 9.3.

However, we would ask you to guard against 'prolific referencing', as you're unlikely to write one sentence or paragraph that meets all six sub criterion. When people do this it raises an alarm for the assessor as we wonder whether they actually know which of the sub criterion they're evidencing or if they're putting everything in hoping that it will meet one or two of them. It's up to you to signpost us to where you believe you are meeting the individual sub criterion.

This may get picked up in the office and they may ask you to signpost us to the individual criterion but it may come to the assessor. If this is repeated throughout your application you're very likely to be deferred. Showing us where you believe you are meeting the criterion helps us to pass your application.

How much detail and context around the client story is required?

Just enough to contextualise it. So you might say 'I worked with this client between January and March. I saw them for twelve sessions. The client was a female, aged forty five. She presented with these issues... '.

What is the best way to present the case material?

People often mix up their referencing between the individual sections. So when you're writing your case material under criterion 9, we only want you to reference the sub criterion 9.1 to 9.6. Don’t start cross referencing it back to criterion 8 for example because that's confusing.

When you write your individual sections for the application, just reference the 6s when you're writing about criterion 6 and CPD, the 7s when you're writing about your self-awareness, the 8s when you're demonstrating and explaining your way of working, and 9s when you come to the case study.

What is the difference between a case study and case material?

A case study implies a completed piece of work where you present a beginning, a middle and an end. But here it doesn't have to be a complete piece of work or the work doesn't have to be finished - it could be just be a few sessions that you've done with a client and the work could still be ongoing. Just choose a typical client case that you've either worked on recently or are currently working on.

Can you use case material for criterion 8 and criterion 9?

We prefer you not to use case material in criterion 8 because this is asking you about your way of working and your understanding of issues of difference and equality in general. We only want an actual example of case material in criterion 9.