For Criterion 1 we want you to tell us about your current way of working with clients presented in your diary of practice. 

You need to include details for each of the sub-criterion. You should describe in your own words what you do and why you do it, with all your different client groups.

The word limit for this criterion is 2,500 words. 

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General guidance

For this criterion you need to show a clear link between your way of working and the theory or theories that inform your approach. You should explain the theory to show your conceptual understanding butyou don't need to give a lengthy account. We understand the theories and concepts, so we want you to show your understanding and tell us about how and why you're using these approaches rather than the theory itself. 

If you use different approaches, explain how you bring these together to form a consistent way of working. Consider the different theories that underpin these concepts and how they sit together with your main theoretical base. Explain what prompts your use of interventions from these different approaches and how you bring them together into a coherent approach. 

For example, if you say ‘my core approach is person-centred but I also use CBT techniques when appropriate’, that doesn't tell us how you bring these two very different approaches together to make a coherent whole, or what when appropriate actually means. 

Or if you have a toolkit of different techniques and approaches, you need to tell us what these are, what theories underpin them and why you might use them. It's important to show how you reconcile any differences and your rationale for using a particular approach or intervention. 

It may help to list the different words connected to your way of working – such as core conditions, self-actualisation, non-directive, transference, scaling, parent, adult, child, negative automatic thoughts, maintenance cycle. 

Using theory words and jargon is only useful if their meaning is clear. You don’t need to include quotes from literature sources or provide a bibliography.  

Consider all the different client groups you work with 

If you work with individual adults and with children and young people, if you see couples, families and groups, or if you practise in both short and long-term settings, your way of working is likely to differ to fit the needs of these different groups. Tell us how you adapt your approach and any particular considerations that affect your way of working with them. 

For example, when working with children and young people, different developmental stages may inform your approach or use of interventions. 

Think about your additional ways of working 

If you've answered yes to working in a specific way, such as working online or by phone, or your practice includes work with clients who are outside the UK, explain what impact the context or setting may have on your way of working and how you’ve adapted your approach to work in this way. If any of your clients are overseas, you’ll also need to address any special considerations when working with clients across international borders. 

For example, have you undertaken any training or CPD to assist with this work. What additional factors, such as confidentiality and disinhibition, do you need to consider? Do you discuss these with your client? 

You may find it helpful to describe your client groups and explain your ways of working to a colleague. They can help you articulate your approach by prompting you and asking questions. Talking into a recording device may also help in the early stages of writing. 

Focus on how you work now 

When you've been qualified for some time, your approach is likely to have developed through your experience, CPD and additional training. So, while your past training is relevant and important, we're most interested in how you practise today. You may have trained and work within one theoretical orientation, or your practice may incorporate several different approaches. Your rationale, and your way of working, is unique to you. 

You don’t need to tell us about theories or ways of working that you no longer use. For example, if you worked with children 10 years ago but no longer work in this way, there’s no need to say you work with children and young people or to explain how you work with them. 

The word count given is for the whole criterion and your writing must include information to cover all the sub-criteria. You can approach this in the way you find easiest. For example, you may want to use headings to address each sub-criterion in turn or write one piece with each sub-criterion woven in and clearly referenced in the body of the text using parentheses e.g. (1.i, 1.ii, 1.iii) etc.   

There is additional guidance for each sub-criterion below – please read this carefully and ensure you understand what each one is asking for.

Describe and explain your current way of working and how it has evolved over time. You’ll need to address each of the following five points:  

i. The theory or theories and approaches that you draw on in your work, and how you bring them together. This should include references to your core training as well as any subsequent training and CPD you have undertaken that have influenced your way of working 

This part is about the knowledge used that informs your practice with clients. It incorporates your understanding and use of theory and on what basis you integrate different theories with clients in a meaningful way. 

We don’t require you to explain main theories and concepts in detail as all assessors are trained and practicing therapists across a range of modalities. However, please explain any uncommon abbreviations or acronyms specific to your way of working or place of work.  

ii. The different types of interventions or responses you use and why 

This part is about how you work with your clients, what you do in response to different client presentations, and why you use these approaches, interventions or responses. 

iii. The role of your reflective self-awareness in your way of working 

This sub-criterion should describe how you understand the role of your reflective self-awareness in relation to the therapy process. How you address this is likely to depend on your modality, approach and the theory or theories that underpin your current practice.  

You should explain how you use yourself within the therapeutic relationship. Show your awareness of your own process and describe how you work safely without your own reactions and experiences getting in the way. 

You can use specific terms relating to self-awareness that are consistent with your theoretical approach, such as congruence, immediacy, reflexivity, projection, transference and countertransference. You might use these words to describe the nature and importance of your self-awareness and how you observe and understand your use of self during the therapeutic process. 

For example, you might use your reflective self-awareness when you work with enhanced empathy and out of awareness processes, or with the dynamic unconscious through transference and countertransference.  

When we use the words, out of awareness or unconscious we’re referring to something that is not at the forefront of the mind. For example, someone may be unaware of the cause of their issue when asked explicitly, but the cause may be found by exploration in therapy.  

The terms conscious and unconscious as well as the terms in awareness and out of awareness are offered to be as inclusive as possible. 

This list isn’t prescriptive and you don't have to use such terms. We're interested in how you see the role of your own self-awareness in your way of working in your own words. 

iv. The impact of issues of difference and equality on your therapeutic relationships and how you work with these 

This section requires a description of how you understand the impact of difference and equality on therapeutic work, and how you account for these in your practice. You might want to consider how this area was approached in your counsellor training and whether your understanding has developed or changed since qualification. You might also want to describe any understandings related to the modality you trained in, or how you understand your own positionality as a counsellor in relation to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).  

In this sub-criterion we’re asking you to show your general understanding of how issues of difference and equality can affect your relationship with all your clients. 

To meet this criterion, you need to show your awareness of these issues in relation to all your clients. We’re not looking for an example of work you did with a client who was different to you, a list of different issues, or statements like I have lots of experience of working with difference or I treat everyone the same. 

You need to explain how you address both explicit and implicit issues of difference and equality in your work, particularly those that are relevant to your area of practice. 

For example, some issues are visible such as age, gender, race and physical disability. Others may be audible, like language, or perhaps invisible in the case of social class or religion. You may also wish to consider issues such as white privilege or neurodiversity. 

You might consider the balance of power in the counselling relationship and how you seek to address this. This could include how clients see themselves in relation to the world and to you. You might also consider the similarities between yourself and your clients, for example your own belief systems, culture or social class, and how you guard against over identification. 

Consider all the different client groups you practise with and the different contexts or settings in which counselling takes place. For example, a middle-class female counsellor who works with predominately male children within a deprived area may pay particular attention to age, gender, language, class, socio-economic factors and culture, and to how these issues can potentially impact or influence the therapeutic relationship. 

Areas you choose to cover should demonstrate your ability to work with issues of power and authority, as experienced in unconscious or out of awareness elements in the therapeutic relationship. You may also want to demonstrate your ability to critically explore your own identity, cultural positioning, values and world view and how these could impact or influence your therapeutic practice. 

v. How you adapt your approach and why when considering the following: 

a. the setting or settings that you work in 

This section should include information relating to all settings you included in Part B, for example in private practice, the NHS, educational settings and GP surgery, as well as how you adapt your approach for each context. 

b. the modes of delivery for therapy (for example, face-to-face, online, phone)  

This section should include details of all the modes of delivery you use in your current practice included in Part B, and how you have prepared for and adapt your approach for each. 

c. the different client groups that you work with (for example, individuals, couples, CYP, families, groups and clients based outside of the UK) 

This section should include details of all the client groups you currently work with, included in Part B, and how you adapt your approach for each.  

Remember that you must show the assessors how you meet these sub-criteria in relation to all the areas and client groups with which you currently work.  

d. different client presentations, issues and concerns

This section should include details of how you adapt your approach to account for different client presentations, issues and concerns.