Reflective practice criterion 8 - knowledge and understanding

8.1 Describe a rationale for all your client work with reference to the theory/theories that inform all your practice.

This criterion is asking you two things: How do you practice and why you practice as you do? The most common reasons for being deferred on 8.1 include:

1. Not mentioning additional considerations associated with new ways of working – such as working online or by phone.

Make sure you tell us about:

  • any training or CPD you’ve had for this new way of working
  • any associated issues you’ve had to consider or discuss with clients – such as confidentiality, disinhibition etc
  • how you’ve adapted your approach to work in this way

2. Not considering the differences between your client groups or settings that you work with

Make sure you tell us about:

  • how your way of working changes to meet the needs of these different groups
  • any particular considerations that affect your way of working with a specific group – e.g. developmental stages for children and young people

3. Not providing a clear link between your way of working and the theory that informs your approach

Don’t go into great detail explaining the theory itself - tell us what type of interventions you use with your clients and why

4. Not explaining how you bring different approaches together to form a consistent and coherent way of working

Don’t just tell us what approaches you use. Explain how they sit together and when or why you would use interventions from these different approaches.

5. Not focusing on how you practise now

You don’t need to tell us about theories or ways of working that you no longer use, or client groups that you no longer work with

If the assessor doesn’t feel that you’ve fully explained your ways of working completely in 8.1, they may need to defer you on 9.1 as well until they have the complete picture of how you work.

8.3 Describe how issues of difference and equality impact upon the therapeutic relationship

This criterion is asking you to consider generally issues of difference that may impact on your relationship with all your clients. The most common reasons for being deferred on 8.3 include:

1. Being too specific or too case specific

We want to see evidence of your awareness of these issues in relation to all your clients and relevant to your area of practice, not a specific example of work with one client or a list of issues you have worked with.

2. Not considering both explicit and implicit issues of difference and equality

While some issues are visible, such as age, gender, race and physical disability, others may be invisible such as social class or religion. You may also wish to consider issues such as white privilege or neurodiversity.

3. Not considering the impact of your similarities and differences with your clients

Consider how your own belief systems, culture or social class affect the balance of power in the relationship and how you guard against overidentification.

4. Not considering all areas of your practice

Make sure you consider the issues relating to all the different client groups you practise with and the different contexts or settings in which counselling takes place.

Reflective practice criterion 9 - practice and supervision

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

You will usually be deferred on 9.1 if you’ve been deferred on 8.1.

If the assessor feels that you’ve not explained your ways of working fully in 8.1, they may defer on 9.1 too until they have the complete picture.

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

This criterion is asking about your awareness of difference and equality in the relationship you have with your case study client. The most common reason for being deferred on 9.3 is giving general information rather than being case specific.

Tell us about:

  • how your awareness of difference and equality affected the way you worked with this particular client
  • how your client perceived themselves in relation to others
  • any similarities you perceived with your client and how you avoided overidentification

9.4 Use of the BACP Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions

This criterion is asking how you used the Ethical Framework in your work with this client. The most common reason for being deferred is not clearly demonstrating your ethical awareness and thinking.

Make sure you tell us:

  • what particular ethical considerations you encountered with this client
  • what specific elements you used from the Framework to guide you – don’t reference every section or principle