Counselling Examination Summary – June – August 2017


L4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling






June – August 2017

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


The organisation structure must explain the hierarchical arrangement within the placement to include roles and responsibilities. Diagrams are useful but explanation must accompany the diagram.

The ways of working must be associated with the placement generally with the emphasis on the counselling service within the placement.

The policy must be named and briefly explained and then the procedure for that policy must be explained.

More than one policy and its procedure must be explained.

It is not sufficient to simply list the policies and procedures.



The relevance of the legislation to the placement must be explained as well as how it is put into practice within the placement and, where appropriate, must include being put into practice with clients as well as placement staff and volunteers.

There must be some reference made to the contents and meaning of the piece of legislation chosen.



An evaluation of the placement experience and not just a description is required. The evaluation must cover different aspects of the placement and not just client work i.e. environment, support, administration, training etc.

2. Understand the importance of working agreements



All working agreements must contain sufficient content and must offer the names and signatures of both parties. The placement names and contact details must be included.

It is not good practice for the placement manager to also be the learner’s supervisor.

All working agreements from all placements and supervisors (to include all group supervisors) must be submitted.



This evidence must be an evaluation and must refer to the contents of the working agreements in terms of their importance. All working agreements from all placements and supervisors must be evaluated.

Counsellor-client working agreements do not form part of this evidence and should not be included in the evaluation.

3. Maintain records of placement practice


The logs must be in date order (full dates to be recorded) not client order and must use the same format throughout to include client ID, full dates, length of session, theme of session, running total and signature from placement/supervisor.

All young people client hours the log must have their age recorded on the client log.

Breaks in placement counselling hours must be explained.



Supervision dates must be in full and in date order. Supervision hours must be offered on the supervision log and not as part of the client log unless the combined client and supervision log is used.

For group supervision the length of time of the group and the number of supervisees in the group must be recorded.

Breaks in supervision must be explained and clients must not be seen when supervision sessions have not been recorded.

Clients seen after the final recorded supervision date will not be counted towards the overall 100 client hours required.

Client hours will not count towards the overall 100 client hours required if supervision has been inadequate.

Unsupervised client hours will have to be redone and resubmitted together with the adequate supervision hours in order for the overall 100 hours to be gained.

4. Relate theory to practice



The main key concepts from all the therapeutic approaches must be outlined to show sufficient knowledge of the therapeutic approaches used; it is not sufficient simply to outline those key concepts used with the chosen client in 4.2. The K.C’s must be outlined using own words and not simply named or quoted.

All the key concepts applied in 4.2 must be outlined in 4.1

The evidence must show sufficient knowledge of the therapeutic approaches.

Interventions are not key concepts.

Client details are not required in this AC.



Evidence must show comprehensive understanding of the key concepts in practice through a thorough and in depth analysis of their application using a chosen client over a minimum of 6 counselling sessions.

The analysis of the theoretical key concepts must be the main part of the evidence and not be overshadowed by the client content.

Strategies, techniques, interventions and integrated models are fine to be included but they are not theory to practice however if they are underpinned by the underlying theory (through the key concepts) then they may illustrate their application.

Chunks of verbatim transcript should not be offered as these do not constitute analysis of the key concepts being applied to the client and further suggest that the sessions have been recorded but this cannot be verified without the recording.

The use of the key concepts as headings does not show the flow of the counselling through the minimum of six sessions. They should not be separated out from the chosen client but introduced as part of the sessions as appropriate.



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 thorough and in depth showing sufficient detail and reasoning.

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

This is not an evaluation about own learning and self, skills and interventions or general client progress and counselling process

5. Relate supervision to practice



The main body of the evidence must be an analysis of the actual learning gained from chosen client related issues taken to supervision.

The chosen, client related, issues taken to a minimum of two supervision sessions must be clearly named and should be briefly discussed in terms of how they were worked with in supervision; then the emphasis must be an analysis of the learning gained which must form the main part of the evidence.

Learning gained is not what the supervisor suggests or advises but is a reflective process following the supervision session perhaps in part based upon the supervisor guidance.

There is often some confusion regarding the content for 5.1 which should only be based on above.

The learning being taken back to counselling sessions with the client is for 5.2 and should not be included in this evidence.

The client and the related issues must be carefully chosen so as to offer sufficient evidence for analysis of the resulting acquisition of knowledge from supervision.

The chosen client must be a different client than the one used for assessment criterion 4.



The main body of evidence must be the evaluation of the learning gained (from 5.1) being applied / put into practice with the chosen client over a minimum of two subsequent counselling sessions.

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

There is often some confusion regarding the content for 5.2 which must be the evaluation of the applied learning to the client. It is not a requirement to go over the learning gained or what happened in the supervision session.

6. Reflect on own professional practice



The evidence must show an evaluation of own practice (counselling practice) based directly upon the written feedback in the supervision report(s). The evidence must show how the written supervisor feedback has affected own practice showing depth and detail.

The evidence must not be an evaluation of the feedback alone or an evaluation of supervision generally.



The evaluation must be based on own practice (counselling practice) and must be directly related to the written feedback given in the placement report(s).

The evidence is not an evaluation of the feedback alone or an evaluation of placement generally.

All placement reports must be evaluated.



The evidence must be based on professional development in terms of recognising areas that would benefit from further professional improvement. State the areas for future professional development and how they will be achieved (professional learning plan).

The evidence is not about personal development or the counsellor training experience.


General comments

Portfolios must only contain the required evidence; no other paperwork should be submitted.


Presentation of portfolios – no appendices; all evidence must be headed with the assessment criterion number and the assessment criteria should be in numerical order.


e-portfolio – the evidence must be typed into the appropriate boxes and not uploaded as documents.


e-portfolio – files, for logs, should be uploaded rather than separating them into individual pages. The uploaded evidence should be the correct way around.