We’ve published a competence framework for people using counselling skills within their professional roles, such as those working within the health and social care sector.

The framework focuses on how using counselling skills effectively enables professionals to:

  • recognise when someone needs to talk
  • respond using appropriate skills to facilitate a safe listening space
  • refer by sensitively signposting or referring when someone needs further help or assistance, such as from a counsellor or psychotherapist

The framework will help people using counselling skills to recognise the needs of the person they are supporting in relation to their own role and ability

We believe it will help to improve how people are listened to and supported in a range of settings and will be beneficial to the wider populations’ mental health and wellbeing.

Referral and signposting

Its focus on referral and signposting means it promotes our professions and can help drive demand to counsellors’ and psychotherapists’ services.

Project Lead Traci Postings said: "I’m really excited to share this framework. I’ve seen first-hand how important the effective use of counselling skills can be in a range of roles and how it can make a difference to people’s lives.

"Having a framework and consistent standards and training in counselling skills will improve the safety and wellbeing of people being cared for and their carers.

"The clear message of ‘recognise, respond and refer’ will help professionals stay within their limits of ability and remit – and emphasise to them when they need to signpost to a counsellor, psychotherapist or other professional."

We’re currently speaking to training providers about how the framework can be incorporated into counselling skills qualifications and to a range of organisations and national agencies, including those within the health and social care sector, to see how they could use this framework within their work.