Counselling Examination Summary – February 2017


L4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling






December 2016 – February 2017

Series 021

The report below summarises the findings of the examiner team following the recent examination/assessment series.  Tutors are required to take note of the recommendations made by the Lead Examiner to ensure that candidates are supported in achieving the best possible outcome in future assessments.



1. Understand their placement environment

1.1. The purpose of the placement must be made clear.

The organisational structure must be explained even when a diagram is included.

Policies and procedures are related and not separate. Name and briefly explain the policy, its relevance to the placement and then explain the procedure, how that policy is applied. At least two policies and their procedures must be explained.

1.2 The relevance of the legislation to the placement must be explained as well as how it is put into practice within the placement.

1.3 An evaluation of the placement experience is required and not just a description. Assess the value and effectiveness of different areas and aspects of the placement and not just client work i.e. environment, support, administration etc.

2. Understand the importance of working agreements


2.1 Separate placement and supervision working agreements must be submitted or if they are integrated then sufficient information regarding what is on offer must be detailed for both.

Working agreements from ALL placements and ALL supervisors are required.

2.2 An evaluation is required and not just a description.

The evaluation must be on all the submitted working agreements from all placements and supervisors.  The evaluation must not be on working agreements in general.

The evidence does not require evaluation of client-counsellor working agreements or personal counselling working agreements.

3. Maintain records of placement practice

3.1 Client logs must show full dates and be in date order (not client order).

They must also show the length and theme of each session and running totals on each page.

For counselling young people the log must indicate the age of the young person as well as all the above.

3.2 Supervision dates must be in full and in date order. Supervision sessions must not be recorded on the client log.  Separate supervision and client logs or preferably the ABC combined client and supervision log must be used.

Supervision hours must be offered on the supervision log (a minimum of 1.5 supervision hours a month for up to 12 client hours and additional supervision for over 12 client hours a month is 1 hour to 8 client hours pro rata).

Inadequate supervision (i.e. 0 or less than 1.5 hours a month) will mean that client hours relating to the inadequate supervision session(s) will not be counted towards the overall minimum of 100 client hours.

These hours will have to be redone and resubmitted together with adequate supervision hours.

Centres must ensure that supervisors have a complete understanding of what is required on the course in terms of sufficient supervision.

4. Relate theory to practice with clients


4.1 The outline must describe the main principles and key concepts of ALL therapeutic approaches that learners have been trained in.

Client details are not required in this AC.

All the key concepts analysed in 4.2 and evaluated in 4.3 must be outlined in 4.1.

4.2 A minimum of 6 client sessions must be offered in order to provide sufficient opportunity for the application of approaches to be analysed.

Evidence must show some depth of knowledge and understanding within the analysis.

Evidence must show key concepts named and analysed as they are applied to the chosen client.

The focus must not be on techniques, skills and interventions. These may be included to illustrate some application of the key concepts but the underpinning theory must also be offered.

4.3 The evidence must be an evaluation of the key concepts analysed as they were applied to the client from 4.2.

The evaluation must be on all the key concepts from 4.2.

This is not an evaluation about own learning and self.

5. Relate supervision to practice with clients


5.1 The emphasis here is on the analysis of the learning gained from a minimum of two supervision sessions and not on client content.

The chosen, client related, issues taken to a minimum of two supervision sessions must be clear and should be briefly described in terms of how they were worked with in supervision; most of the evidence is then an analysis of the learning gained.

Learning gained is not what the supervisor suggests or advises but is a reflective process following the supervision session.

5.2 This AC follows on from 5.1.

The emphasis here is on the evaluation of the learning gained (from 5.1) being applied / put into practice with the chosen client over a minimum of two subsequent client counselling sessions.

The evaluation of the learning gained and applied to the client must include all the issues taken to supervision.

6. Reflect on own professional practice


6.1 The evidence must show an evaluation of own practice not just an evaluation of the feedback alone or an evaluation of supervision generally. It must be based directly upon the written feedback in the supervision reports.

Up to date reports to be used.

All supervision and placement reports must be signed.

6.2 The evaluation must be based on own practice not an evaluation of the feedback alone or an evaluation of placement generally.  It must be directly related to the written feedback given in the placement report(s).

Up to date reports must be used.

All placement reports must be evaluated.

6.3 The evidence must be based on professional development in terms of recognising areas that would benefit from further professional development.

The evidence is not about personal development.

General Comments

Additional paperwork is not required only the learner evidence for each assessment criteria (No action plans, reviews or personal counselling forms).

Appendices must not be used – all the evidence must be offered under each of the AC headings.

Bullet points should be used sparingly taking care that they do actually provide the required evidence.

Up to date forms must be included e.g. client/supervision log, supervision reports and placement reports.


Any photographs of placement forms uploaded must be clear and easy to read.

Evidence must not be uploaded in the wrong AC.

AC must not be combined.